Collage of photos from USAID-funded Pause & Reflect NTD Sustainability meeting.

Collage showing meeting participants in Dakar, Senegal. Credit: Act | West / Zubin Hill & USAID / Liz Eddy

Guiding Principles to Support Government Sustainability Planning

In November, representatives from ministries of health across 11 countries in West Africa joined together in Dakar, Senegal, to reflect on the extensive efforts and strategic opportunities to secure sustainable health services for persons at-risk of or living with neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

To help governments achieve sustainability, USAID has proposed five principles for donors and partners to consider while engaging with governments. These principles were shared at the workshop:

The Five Principles for Supporting Government Sustainability Planning:

  1. Uphold a “one-government” led effort to develop the national sustainability plan and establish national priorities and accountability structures
  2. Utilize and strengthen national systems to deliver robust nationally planned, managed, and monitored NTD services
  3. Coordinate areas of technical assistance to avoid undermining government leadership, functions, objectives, and opportunity to leverage national resources
  4. Ensure progress is monitored against government sustainability plan benchmarks
  5. Allow sufficient time to support sustainable systems change

As endemic countries step up efforts to foster resilient services for NTDs, USAID has ramped up its support to better enable governments to build on those efforts. To date, 9 USAID-supported countries in West Africa have worked towards sustainability plans, defining how NTD programs will look in the future. Of those, 4 countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Togo, Ghana) have validated those plans across multiple sectors of government and at the highest levels of national leadership. Notably, despite the demands of the pandemic, these countries went through a systematic process (ranging 8-15 months), convening various ministries to review how and where services are provided. They also determined how services can be better incorporated across the government for greater sustainability while establishing multi-year plans towards those objectives. To build on plans and foster an enabling environment for success of their plans, countries are working on long-term policy and financing needs as well as program and service delivery issues.

The Pause and Reflect Workshop was convened by USAID’s Act to End NTDs | West program, which has worked extensively with national governments in West and Central Africa towards sustainability since 2018. Several officials from ministries of education and finance across the region also attended.

USAID also supports sustainability strengthening under its Act to End NTDs | East program. To date, 3 additional countries (Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia) have politically-validated sustainability plans.

Learn more about USAID’s support to governments leading NTD sustainability initiatives.