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Improving the Quality of Health Services for the Haitian People

Haiti PEPFARLast week, I was proud to take part in a joint mission to Haiti with leaders from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), including Mark Edington, its Head of Country Programs. We signed a Partnership Framework to support Haiti’s Health Strategy, which you can read about in this post. We met with government leadership and reviewed the remarkable progress made over the last two years towards the reconstruction and improvement of the Haitian health system through PEPFAR- and Global Fund-supported activities.

We met with Haiti’s First Lady, Sophia Martelly, who provides critical leadership to the Government of Haiti’s health response through Haiti’s Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) for engagement with the Global Fund. The CCM model draws on the active participation of Haiti’s civil society as well as government, the private sector, faith-based organizations and NGOs; external partners also participate. It provides an opportunity for collaboration among all sectors involved in the fight against the three diseases in order to achieve an effective and sustainable health response. We also had dialogue with Dr. Florence Guillaume, Minister of Public Health and Population, to discuss the Government’s strategy to combat infectious diseases by building a stronger health system.

This is a historic moment for the Global Fund. There have been dramatic changes in a remarkably short period of time under the leadership of General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo and his team, intended to transform the way the Fund provides and manages resources to fight the three diseases.

Haiti offers an excellent snapshot of the reforms on the ground. In the wake of the 2010 earthquake, the CCM members and the Fund deployed significant efforts to continue grant activities and strengthen the CCM. Despite the complexity of the context, the CCM has demonstrated a commitment to restructuring and capacity-building. We look forward to the First Lady and CCM’s continued reform and engagement to oversee and implement Haiti’s Fund grants effectively and efficiently. Everyone wins when we build Haiti’s capacity for a sustainable approach to grant management.

Our work in Haiti is an excellent example of the U.S. strategy to strengthen and leverage key multilateral organizations and global health partnerships. The U.S. has invested significant time and resources in strengthening the CCM and in jointly planning with our Global Fund partners. Through the interagency U.S. Government health team and technical partners, we provide critical on-the-ground programmatic support to Fund implementing partners. Our presence gives us a unique ability to ensure that Fund grants are performing effectively and that grantees have the information they need to target resources to high-impact, evidence-based activities. As I saw first-hand in Port-au-Prince, when PEPFAR and the Fund coordinate, the impact of our investments is amplified.

Both the U.S. and the Global Fund recognize that our role is to support country ownership, so we are encouraged by the growing political leadership from the Haitian government and its inclusion of the CCM’s nongovernmental members, with us, the Global Fund and the United Nations family playing key supportive roles. As I recently noted while previewing the AIDS 2012 conference, the global community needs to join together to meet our shared responsibility to focus precious resources in order to save more lives. In Haiti, I believe this is happening. Together, we will continue to “build back better” and improve the quality of health services for the Haitian people.