John Donnelly interviews Dr. Francis Omaswa about the changing global health agenda and country ownership.
Q: Next week, MLI will be releasing its Call to Action on country ownership. What have been some of the important lessons from MLI’s work in five countries over the last three or four years?
A: The most important thing I would think is we have five countries who have been getting together to share experiences and support each other. They now feel the experience they have gained over the years as something they own, and something they are ready to share with other countries. MLI has helped these countries work together, and I’ve been very pleased with the result of their cooperation.
Q: What are your hopes regarding the Call for Action and for MLI’s work in the future?
A: On the Call to Action, it’s really up to the countries. In the worst case scenario, and MLI begins to wind down, I hope that these countries on their own will continue to help each other. Second, I’m hoping MLI should be supported by another partner to continue with these countries and helping them work together and improve their projects. Third, there needs to be more dissemination of the lessons learned by these countries. We have a lot of good experiences and it needs to be documented, publicized, and shared.
Q: You are one of the co-chairs for the upcoming Global Health Council meeting. What are your hopes for it?
A: It looks like a very, very busy meeting with many divergent topics. I have only been to one of these meetings before, and it was a long time ago. For this type of meeting, the most powerful thing about them is getting to meet and hear other colleagues, often outside the formal meeting venues. So I am looking forward to it very much indeed. Also, the global health agenda, which is now mostly South-North, is getting more and more integrated. The South is getting stronger. There are quite many presenters from the South. As Lord Nigel Crisp stated in his book, Turning the World Upside Down, you are seeing more of these South-North exchanges from which we are learning from each other, rather than in the past when it appeared that the North had information for the South.
Read the full blog on the Ministerial Leadership Initiative’s website
Dr. Francis Omaswa is a statesman in global health. Omaswa, the form.er director general of health services for Uganda’s Ministry of Health and the founder and executive director of ACHEST (African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation), is a MLI Senior Advisor. He also is one of the co-chairs for the Global Health Council’s annual conference next week in Washington, D.C.
Photo Credit: Didier Casagrande