29 April 2022 Eritrea in a high-profile event celebrated the launch of four strategic documents: The National Health Sector Strategic Development Plan 2022-26 (HSSDP III) and its Monitoring and Evaluation Plan, the Essential Health Care Package (2021), and the National Action Plan for Health Security 2022-26 (NAPHS) on 28 April 2022. The launch event was attended by the senior officials from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Land Water and Environment, Ministry of Finance and National Development, and the Ministry of Local Government among others. In addition, there was a high-level representation from the United Nations family including the UN Resident Coordinator, the WHO Representative, the UNICEF Representative and the UNFPA Representative.
In her key note address the Minister of Health, Honorable Amina Nurhussien described that the documents launched are important costed tools that will guide the country to achieve the aspirations of the Eritrean people to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). She noted that through the strong Primary Health Care (PHC) base Eritrea has made remarkable progress in the health sector since 1991 and achieved the health MDGs. She indicated that this is a strong foundation to achieve SDG 3. The Honorable Minister informed the participants that the HSSDP III was designed to provide all strategic guidance for 5 years and contributes to the socio-economic growth of the country while the Essential Health Coverage (EHCP) will guide the provision of health services at all levels of the health facilities and the NAPHS will be the guiding document for health emergencies. She thanked all the MOH personnel and the partners including WHO for their commitment and contribution to the formulation of these documents. Finally, she asked all Government officials and partners to be committed to the implementation of these strategic documents to make a difference.
The HSSDP III was developed with technical support from the WHO/AFRO and WHO Country office. The plan is based on the primary health care principles and the strategic objectives specified are also in line with the National Health Policy priorities and are aimed at achieving SDG 3 targets and Universal Health Package. The Essential Health Care Package (EHCP) is key for the HSSDP III implementation because it clearly outlines the services that are expected to be delivered at each level of the health system to ensure UHC and SDG 3 achievement. It comprehensively defines the interventions that people of each age cohort need for their health and wellbeing. The National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) is an important document for contributing to the resilience of the health system. Some of the key points to note are that it is critical to strengthen the implementation of Internal Health Regulations and Health Security.
During the launching ceremony, the Heads of Agency for the UN partners working in the health sector congratulated the Minister of Health for the development of these documents and pledged their support for the implementation of these documents because they are important for the development of the country and the achievement of SDG 3 and Universal Health Coverage. They emphasized that it will be important to ensure that there is an effective monitoring for the implementation of the documents and SDGs at all levels. The WHO Representative supported by the UN Resident Coordinator called for more Government flexibility for the implementation of the launched plans.