I am just coming from a meeting with the Permanent Secretary, and Directors in the Ministry of Health. They kindly let me take a picture at the start of the meeting, which was on the 7th floor of the Ministry of Health, right next to the Permanent Secretary's office. You can see the PS, Dr. Tomo next to me at the far end of the table, with the various directors on one side of the table and representatives of the development partners on the other. Dr. Mussa and Dr. Gertrudes to the left of Dr. Tomo are the directors of human resources and of planning and are the two directors who I meet with most frequently. Dr. Tomo, who did his post graduate studies at Leeds University in the UK, has an impressive overview of the health sector and both Dr. Mussa and Dr. Gertrudes are very efficient and effective people who work extremely hard to help deliver better health for the population of Mozambique.
The meeting was the first meeting of the year of the joint coordination committee for the Ministry of Health. In order to work effectively with its development partners, a number of forums for dialogue between the Ministry and its partners have been created. The intention of these structures is to formalise the meetings in which strategic discussions take place, but also to minimise the need for all development partners to be constantly calling on the Ministry with their own issues. (I have attached a document written by Javier Martinez which gives a good summary of some of the features of the way of working in Mozambique - which although written a couple of years ago, is still pretty accurate).
DFID is currently the donor that has been elected as the focal point for development partners, and donors meet on a monthly basis to agree issues that should be raised at this coordination meeting. This arrangement reduces the number of separate visits by donors to the Ministry, which would distract government officials from their very busy schedules. In addition, twice a year there are meetings between the Ministry and the partners which are chaired by the Minister of Health. These larger, public meetings which invite civil society and the media are an opportunity for the Ministry to review its performance in the preceding year, and to set out its strategy for the forthcoming year, which helps increase the level of accountability of the Ministry for demonstrating how it is improving the nation's health.
The monthly coordination meeting is an opportunity to follow the annual work plan of the Ministry and for government and partners to discuss any key issues or concerns. It was a fairly packed agenda today, but a highlight was a discussion on forthcoming meeting in Geneva about the International Health Partnership, which will be held on the 4th and 5th of February. This could be an important meeting for Mozambique - and I hope to participate, so will be coming back to this in a future blog.