Makerere University School of Public Health is organising a symposium on managing the transition from humanitarian to development aid in line with health systems development.
The symposium is slated for Wednesday and Thursday at Serena Hotel in Kampala under the theme: Aid and Aid Effectiveness in Post Conflict Settings: Transitioning from Humanitarian Assistance to Developing Capacity for Health System. It focus on the key areas of concern, including, general financing for health, human resources for health, community livelihoods and how to manage the transition.
The issues to be discussed will include transitioning from expert-hires to a stable and local workforce; from non-state provisions to government-led provisions; and from targeted and well financed essential benefits to fairly diffuse entitlements.
Prof. Freddie Ssengooba, one of the conveners of the symposium, says it is aimed at creating awareness about the need for repositioning the health sector. “We want the Government to start paying attention to long-term health needs of post-conflict communities.”
Ssengooba notes that the issues to be discussed and addressed at the symposium will include how communities survive during conflict and immediate post conflict and how to manage the transition from humanitarian support to post-conflict reality.
In addition, discussions will relate the transition to the burgeoning private sector by analysing mechanisms to harmonise services provided across and the integration of the new growth of private providers into the national service delivery system.
The symposium will also include a skills building session focusing on how to use aid management tools to track aid.
Jennie Barugh, from the DFID Uganda head of office, says the aid effectiveness discourse advances the importance of more effective partnerships between donors, recipient governments and implementing partners.
“Through this symposium, DFID aims to advance its dialogue with governments and partners, on transitioning from relief to development approaches in crises,” Barugh says.
She further says that DFID will continue to work with partner governments to detect health threats, mount integrated responses to health crises, and support health systems to adapt and rebound from the shocks.
In post-conflict settings, aid effectiveness aims to align the development assistance to country’s priorities, building state capacity and systems beyond the relief phase.
Post-conflict settings present unique opportunities to build health systems despite complex transitions from short-term humanitarian assistance programming to longer-term “development assistance”.
Although the coordination of the various actors during the transition may pose challenges and missed opportunities to health systems development, Ssengooba maintains that it is possible. “All it needs is proper leadership and guidance,” he says, adding that for the transition to be successful there should be common interest from all the stakeholders.
According to the symposium organisers, the discussions are tailored to benefit health system researchers, humanitarian agencies, agencies funding post-conflict reconstruction interventions in addition to civil society organisations engaged in conflict and post conflict work in the areas of health, gender and livelihood development.