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A range of country and international stakeholders have all contributed to strengthening Sudan’s health policy, planning and delivery though the country’s first ever Joint Annual Review (JAR) of the health sector.
On 6 and 7 November, around 300 partners from all parts of Sudan’s health sector gathered in Khartoum to launch the JAR in the presence of high level dignitaries, including Sudan’s Undersecretary of Health, Dr Issam Mohamed Abdallah. Participants included representatives from Sudan’s Ministry of Health and other Ministries at federal and state levels, health practitioners, staff from WHO and other United Nations agencies, development partners, civil society, academia, and private sector entities.
One key message is that this collaborative and bottom-up approach puts all health partners in a better position to join hands and contribute to achieve universal health coverage and meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
Other main conclusions from the JAR are as follows:
The Federal Ministry of Health’s leadership and WHO’s substantial support to institutionalize the Joint review provides an important platform for accountability in the health sector.
Gaps and barriers for implementation have been identified and discussed with recommendations for 2018 agreed upon by different stakeholders;
The theme for the next JAR is “improving the integrated health information system”.
Dr Issam Mohamed Abdallah, Sudan’s Undersecretary of Health, thanked the JAR team for their efforts and commented: “This joint annual review is the first for Sudan, and it was a very successful exercise. The team truly took a bottom-up approach to show what is happening in all of the States and include all parts of the country. With the recommendations from the JAR, our health policy, planning and delivery will be much stronger.”
Dr Naeema Al Gasseer, WHO Representative for Sudan, said: “Using this JAR to improve health policy and strategy will put all health partners in a better position going forward to achieve universal health coverage and healthy livings.”
Dr Imadeldin Ismail, WHO Sudan’s Health System Officer, added: “This first JAR process also sets a precedent to enhance accountability and improve collective outcomes of health system. Recommendations of JAR have been already addressed in 2018 health sector “One plan”, and next year we hope to execute another one, learning from this year, which will produce an even more thorough report.”
Institutionalising the review on a yearly basis is an important tool for accountability and will play an important role in the process of Sudan getting ready to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals ensuring equity at all levels and for the most vulnerable.
The Sudan JAR process was led by the Sudan’s Federal Government and received additional funding from WHO, the Global Fund and GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance
About Joint Annual Reviews
Joint Annual Reviews (JARs) are a tool developed by the International Health Partnership and are a useful mechanism to review progress in the health sector and identify issues that need to be addressed to improve performance. JARs provide a common basis for understanding sector issues and priorities. UHC2030 will continue to promote this tool as a means to coordinate the strengthening of health systems.
In Sudan, the JAR functions as a report card for the health sector. It identifies where health systems, policies and facilities are strong, but also signals areas where improvement is necessary. It provides specific recommendations on how to achieve these improvements. The recommendations cover all health sector building blocks including: health governance, health service delivery, health information systems, human resources for health, medicine and medical technologies, and health financing.