USAID works with West African partners to increase the utilization of quality health services. It accomplishes this through donor coordination; assisting host governments and local organizations to expand quality health services; advancing evidence- and rights-based policies.
USAID has taken a leadership role in advancing donor coordination in West Africa through the Ouagadougou Partnership. The Partnership includes the governments of nine francophone West African countries supported by USAID, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Agence Française de Développement, the Gates and Hewlett Foundations, the United Nations Fund for Population Assistance (UNFPA), and the West African Health Organization (WAHO). Its aim is to ensure the mobilization of additional funding both from donors and domestically, and the prioritization of national plans for family planning (FP) to reach additional users in line with ambitious FP2020 goals.
Family Planning and Maternal and Child Health
USAID promotes an integrated package of family planning, maternal health, HIV prevention and childhood illnesses services. The regional family planning program demonstrated that minimally educated health workers can deliver injectable contraceptives, expand treatment for childhood illnesses and reach ten times as many beneficiaries as standalone health facilities. The program is raising awareness of the benefits of family planning at all levels and aims to demonstrate that lower-level health professionals can provide family planning counseling and a full range of contraceptives, including long-acting contraceptive methods. The program has also established a regional Contraceptive Early Warning System for 13 countries to coordinate stock data and address stock imbalances.
To address policy barriers and support advocacy efforts at regional, national and sub-national levels, the program focuses on developing the capacity of government, civil society, and other partners around policy issues related to family planning/reproductive health, HIV, maternal and child health, and infectious diseases.
USAID supports Fistula Care activities in Niger to provide fistula prevention, treatment and care to women in need, and to create a regional hub for learning and leveraging, research, advocacy, and dissemination of best practices, including a model for FP/Fistula integration activities in collaboration with the project Agir pour la Planification Familiale.
HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Support
The goal of the Regional HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project (PACTE-VIH) is to prevent new HIV/AIDS infections in key populations and in bridge groups to general populations. The program increases region-wide knowledge and baseline data for key populations by mapping services, estimating population sizes, and determining risk behaviors and HIV prevalence among key populations. The program also addresses critical gaps in HIV programming in the region by strategically targeting interventions that build government political will and resources to engage key stakeholders, including donors and civil society organizations, and support programs that are evidence-based, adaptable, replicable and transferrable throughout the region. Activities include delivering comprehensive prevention, care and support services, establishing referral networks for treatment, and strengthening human and institutional capacity of regional, national and community-based organizations. In addition, USAID provides significant technical support to recipients of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to improve their financial management, monitoring and evaluation, governance and service quality.
Local Capacity Strengthening
USAID is partnering to strengthen the capacity of the West Africa Health Organization, the specialized health agency of ECOWAS, to execute fully its mandate of harmonizing health policies, pooling resources, and fostering collaboration and integration to address regional health priorities. This includes supporting the development of WAHO’s strategic 2016-2020 plan to ensure that it aligns with the broader ECOWAS goals; strengthening organizational structures to ensure that leadership, management and governance principles are incorporated in the organization’s culture; developing regional strategies in health; and engaging with the private sector to mobilize resources. USAID assisted WAHO’s Health Information Systems Steering Committee and Health Information Systems Technical Committee to develop their policy document that was adopted by ECOWAS in April 2012. In addition, USAID supported the establishment of a dissemination platform of best practices in health. This platform provides an opportunity for south-to-south exchange, and brings together key stakeholders in the region to review best practices and share lessons learned. The first “Best Practices Forum” was held in July 2015.
Research and Evaluation
USAID/WA advocates for robust evaluation and research to generate evidence that can be used by stakeholders in policy formulation and health care practices. In line with this, the mission awarded a five-year contract to IBTCI to design and implement strategic health research and evaluation activities, and to build the research and evaluation capacity of regional institutions. This project will also provide support to bilateral missions to conduct evaluations and implementation research of ongoing activities.
Private Sector Engagement
USAID supports exploration of innovative partnerships with the private sector. This includes: working with the mobile network operator industry to design and deploy mHealth technologies; harnessing private-sector capital through a Development Credit Authority for small and medium health enterprises; supporting private sector alliances of health care providers and institutions at the country and regional level to create public-private partnership platforms for strategic dialogue.
Ebola Response and Preparedness
USAID coordinated with regional organizations and bilateral missions to implement three regional Ebola Preparedness Workshops for non-affected countries. USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats program supports governments in the region to achieve Global Health Security Agenda targets to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to infectious disease threats.
Last updated: December 16, 2015