Global launch of WCO/Zimbabwe CCS

Harare, 21 March 2017 - WHO/Zimbabwe  3rd generation Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS 2016-2020)  was relaunched via video feed across the 3 levels of the Organization. In Zimbabwe the team was led by WR Zimbabwe, Dr David Okello, and included the Permanent Secretary for Health and Child Care, Brigadier General Dr Gerald Gwinji; UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Bishow Parajuli; Ms Angelica Broman from SIDA, representing the partners; and the WCO Technical team. The Country Support Unit (CSU) AFRO team was led by the Regional Director, while Dr A. Shambhu led the Geneva CSU team. This was the second global launch in a series of HQ planned launches to share experiences and foster an understanding of how WHO works with countries.

In her remarks, the Regional Director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti commended the CSU team in Geneva for the initiative, which she said was very significant as it will foster an organization wide understanding of how we work with countries. She also acknowledged the leadership role of the Ministry of Health and Child Care, ad the UN Resident Coordinator in the process of developing the CCS, which she said is “WHO’s response to country needs.”

The Permanent Secretary for Health and Child Care, Brigadier General, Dr Gerald Gwinji said the WHO CCS fully corresponds with the national health priorities as outlined in the 2016-2020 National Health Strategy, and provides the framework for strengthening partnership and multi-sectoral approaches to health in Zimbabwe. He said that the Ministry of Health and Child Care hopes that  WHO will use its influence in the Health Development Partners Group to convince partners to sustain their support to the Health sector; and to also support the Ministry to make a case for increased Government budget allocation to health.“The Ministry of Health appreciates the efforts put by WHO to rally the UN systems and all relevant stakeholders to support implementation of the National Health Strategy ” said Dr Gwinji. 

In his statement, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Bishow Parajuli said the UN family together with the Government turned the corner from transition towards medium-to-long term health programmes by launching the Health Development Fund in 2016. The Fund targets to mobilise $680 million with some resources already committed from partners such as the Governments of UK, EU, and Sweden, and the launch of the WHO CCS is timely to steer the on-going health programmes, building on the gains achieved over the last five years. He  said that the health sector remains one of the best coordinated sectors in support of Zimbabwe with WHO in the lead. Mr Parajuli reiterated the commitment of the office of the UN Resident Coordinator in coordinating and harmonizing UN support to the Government in line with the commitments to Delivering-as-One. “Mobilising resources as one UN is better than going it alone,” he said.

Dr David Okello made a presentation on the processes in the development of the CCS, the joint national launch of the CCS and National Health Strategy (NHS), the implementation of the CCS, and raised some issues for discussion.  Dr Okello said that based on the various consultations undertaken, WHO will concentrate  its broad strategic cooperation agenda over the next five years in five priority areas: (i) achieving and sustaining universal health coverage (UHC) through strengthening of health systems; (ii) accelerating achievement of the unfinished  MDGs relating to reduction of maternal, new-born, child and adolescent mortality; and strengthening sexual and reproductive health; (iii) further reducing  the burden of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, hepatitis, and other communicable diseases; (iv) strengthening and re-orienting  health  and health-related systems to address  the prevention and control of NCDs, including disabilities, injuries and mental health disorders; and (v) strengthening preparedness, surveillance and effective response to disease outbreaks, acute public health emergencies and the effective management of health-related aspects of humanitarian disasters in order to improve  health security.

Dr Okello raised several issues for discussion including (i) the need to cost the CCS; (ii) the need to strengthen the capacity of the WCO  to implement the CCS, (iii) meeting the expectations of the Ministry of Health (e.g. helping to improve the quality of data for decision making, better use of disaggregated data to identify inequalities); (iv) Tracking progress of implementation of the CCS and NHS.

Other participants raised queries on (i) health sector innovations in Zimbabwe; (ii) NCD priorities (e.g. tobacco use , cervical cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, injuries and mental health; (iii) water and sanitation challenges; (iv) how to deal with the brain drain problem and; (v) ways of dealing with insufficient funding for WHO (e.g. strengthening partnership and taking advantage of the one UN approach).

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