April 2021 Message

‘See it big. Keep it simple’ -Wilferd Arlan Peterson

And another month comes to an end! We’ve been busy. How have you been?

The quote above typifies our approach to strategic health purchasing(SHP). Our theory of change asserts a line of sight from strengthenedSHP functions to health system outcomes and health service delivery.That’s big! But in our work, we keep it really simple, taking afunctional approach to SHP – those decisions that a purchaser has tomake about what to buy, who to buy from and how to pay. Thisphilosophy is behind our approach to country engagement,discussions of SHP with policymakers and the work we have donewith our technical partners since our launch.

Over the past couple of months, there has been fever-pitch excitement at SPARC as weworked towards finalizing the outputs from work carried out by our technical partners. I amvery excited to announce that we have four great dissemination events planned toshowcase these. These events with the unique tag, #ChangingtheConversation will featurepolicymakers from nine countries and take us on a journey from the status of purchasing inthese African countries to ‘what next? given what we have learnt.

The first event scheduled for 19th May (Save the date!) will showcase the results of themapping of SHP functions in nine African countries. Narrative reports and briefs offindings, drivers of and obstacles to progress, including recommendations, have beendeveloped from this work and will be disseminated during the event.
The second event will focus on the long-awaited performance-based financing (PBF)discussion. The evidence synthesis carried out by our technical partner, Kemri WellcomeTrust, refocuses our attention from whether PBF is effective to a deeper conversation onwhether PBF can support a broader movement toward institutionalized strategicpurchasing. We will unpack how PBF can be incorporated into wider SHP reforms tosupport change from a system level. A policy brief on PBF will be disseminated at this event.

The third event will showcase the results of the evidence synthesized by the technicalpartners showing the link between strengthened SHP functions and health systemoutcomes and service delivery. The narrative reports/briefs from nine countries will bedisseminated on the same day.

The fourth event is the ‘so what?!’ session, providing an opportunity for providers oftechnical assistance and other forms of support to countries to reflect on the discussionsfrom the series and spark a dialogue on how countries can be better supported, given theirfeedback during the first three sessions . So, keep a date with us! For more information on these events, dates and how you canregister, please visit our website.

As I wrap up for this month, I circle back to our Twitter chat earlier this month. It unpacked some of the key messages from our virtual AHAIC 2021 side session. Our panelist, EdwineBarasa, said something that resonated very deeply with ‘keeping it simple’. He said, ‘Don’tjargonize. SHP. If you bumped into someone in MOH corridors and asked them, “what strategic purchasing reforms are needed to enhance equity in your country?” they might draw a blank. But if you asked them instead, “how can the selection of health facilities that provide health services for citizens in your country be done to improve equity, efficiency and quality?” they will give you many ideas!’ Our policy dialogue series follow this great advice!

And that’s where I rest it for this month. Let’s keep it simple.

With that said, I sign off till next month.

Continue to stay safe and healthy.

April 2021 Message

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