On February 9, 2010, close to 40 participants gathered to discuss the proposed new joint funding and programming platform for heath system strengthening (HSS) to be coordinated by the Global Fund, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the World Bank. The joint platform has been under consideration since May 2009 in response to the final report of the High Level Taskforce on Innovative International Financing for Health Systems (launched in September 2008), which called for more funding and international coordination for HSS efforts.
The meeting was co-organized by the three organizations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and the Japan Center for International Exchange/Friends of the Global Fund, as part of a series of consultations held with various country partners and key stakeholders to gain their input on coordinating the joint platform. The meeting was attended by representatives from each of the three organizations as well as participants from Japanese government ministries, public health NGOs, and academia. Rifat Atun, director of the Strategy, Performance and Evaluation Cluster of the Global Fund, and Carole Presern, managing director of special projects of GAVI, gave an overview of the proposal for the joint platform and the progress made to date. Japan’s experiences in supporting HSS efforts were also presented to serve as a lesson for the joint platform.
The lively discussion that followed brought forth a frank exchange of opinions on what would be of best interest to struggling nations with weak health infrastructure and what mechanisms could in fact help them in their efforts, with due consideration to the varying mandates and frameworks of the three main organizations involved.