The Government of Eritrea’s commitment to the attainment of the SDGs and UHC is demonstrated by the alignment of the Health Sector Strategic Plan II (2017 – 2021) and the recent development of National Health Policy 2020. The broad focus of the SDGs offers an opportunity to reset and refocus health strategies and programming to strengthen health systems.
Eritrea has initiated the development of the Third Health Sector Strategic Development Plan 2022-2026 (HSSDP III) as a succeed to HSSDP II, which is coming to an end in December 2021. The HSSDP III will continue and consolidate the achievements of the HSSDP II which focused on the achievement of the SDG 3 targets through Universal Health Coverage Implementation.
On 16 June 2021, the high level WHO technical multisector team of experts led by Dr Prosper Tumusiime, a health systems, technical expert and Dr Humphrey Karamagi from the WHO Regional Office paid a courtesy visit to the office of Honorable Minister of Health. The WHO mission delegation was introduced by the WHO Representative for Eritrea, Dr Martins Ovberedjo to the Honorable Minister of Health, Mrs. Amina Nurhussein.
The Honorable Minister warmly welcomed the WHO team to the country; and expressed delight at the prompt response by WHO to provide dedicated technical support on this important health development initiative. The Honorable Minister echoed the strong support and commitment of the MOH to achieve the health SDGs and UHC targets. She reaffirmed the MOH determination to complete the next edition of the HSSDP III; and assured the WHO team of full support and active engagement by relevant authorities to ensure the success of the mission.
The WHO team is expected to engage with key health stakeholder groups in the country, including line ministries (MOH, MOA, MOLW&E, MOLHW), Hospital Directors, Zonal Medical Teams, Civil Societies, community members, UN Agencies and development partners in the country. The combined MOH/WHO technical team is also expected to undertake structured field visits to engage relevant authorities, zoba health teams and community members.
It will be recalled that in a related mission assignment WHO in 2019, provided technical support to MOH to undertake Mid Term Review of the HSSDP II. The Mid Term Review mission had noted excellent progress in some thematic areas including HIV, TB, Malaria; and observed areas for improvement, including quality of neonatal and maternal health services and data quality improvements. This HSSDP III mission is expected to explore opportunities to further consolidate the unfinished business of the HSSDP II, also provide recommendations and outline investment opportunities to accelerate progress towards achievement of UHC milestones.
The team will visit selected sub zobas collecting information and observation of service delivery and to interact with leaders, health providers and community representatives.