Sep 6, 2010, 3:00 PM
The vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, Isatou Njie-Saidy, yesterday launched The Gambia’s membership of the International Health Partnership (IHP +) at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
IHP+ is a group of partners committed to improving the health of citizens in developing countries, and the partners work together to put international principles for effective aid and development cooperation into practice in the sector.
IHP+ mobilizes national governments, development agencies, civil society and others to support a single country-led national health strategy in a well-coordinated way.
In her launching statement on behalf of President Yahya Jammeh, the vice president said the IHP+ aims to re-popularise the horizontal health systems strengthening approach, which focuses on building the capacity of aid recipient country health systems and services.
According to her, the IHP+ also aims to better coordinate global health actors at different levels, whether international or local.
“In this respect, the IHP+ is a response not only to calls to scale up donor attention to the health Millennium Development Goals, but also the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the G8 summit commitments on social protection,” she stated.
VP Njie-Saidy noted that the Gambia government regards access to basic health services as a fundamental human right for all Gambians, and that this is underpinned by the relentless efforts in the provision of health services in all nooks and crannies of the country.
“Against the background of the recognition that a healthy population is an important pre-requisite for productivity and by extension sustainable development, my Government will continue to accord high priority to health,” she said, adding that the initiative cannot, therefore, come at a better time for the ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
The vice president further stated that The Gambia is now a full fledged member of the IHP+ initiative, and the country through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare will now begin to work in earnest with the country’s IHP+ partner institutions to draft a country compact.
Other speakers at the launching included Fatim Badjie, minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Thomas Sukwa, WHO country representative to The Gambia, and Mr Dawda Ceesay, director of planning and information at the health ministry, among others.
The ceremony was chaired by Dr. Makie Taal, permanent secretary at the Health ministry.