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Health strategy to meet the SDGs

The Ministry of Health (MoH) held a conference regarding the official introduction of its 2017-2021 Health Second Sector Strategic and Development Plan (HSSDP II) at Orotta National Referral Hospital Conference Hall on June 2, 2017. The ultimate plan of the conference was to ensure the endeavors of health related sustainable development. Higher government officials, and representatives of international organizations in the country attended the conference.

Temporary appointed Director of the Police Division at the MoH and the Department of Human Resource Development Plan, Dr. Brhane Debru, stated that the recent and first HSSDP, which was implemented between 2012 and 2016, allowed Eritrea to gain substantial health accomplishments across the country. Eritrea was able to achieve successes of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in most health targets. Dr. Brhane Debru said that the purpose of the meeting was to launch the second HSSDP development document for implementation. He further mentioned that the second HSSDP had gone through a long process with full and incredible participation of representatives from UN partners mainly from UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNAIDS, the EU, Director Generals, Division Directors, Program managers, Zoba representatives and representatives from CSOs, academics and other Eritrean partners and stakeholders. The development and finalization of the second HSSDP has taken almost a year.

The second HSSDP has five objectives. The first objective provides the medium term strategic directions that facilitate the attainment of the Eritrean health aspirations to appropriately contribute to the national development and global health agendas. The second objective relates to the drafting of the five year strategic plan focusing on two areas- improving health security and achieving universal health coverage. The third, since Eritrea has formally asserted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aims to guide the development agenda throughout the period of this HSSDP2 and beyond along with the attainment of good health in the SDGs with required health actions reflected across all the other SDGs.

The fourth objective aims to bring together and ensure all stake holders remain committed and ready for the implementation of the second HSSDP, just as they were involved in its development process that promoted the concept of one health policy. The fifth and final objective is to have an overview of the finalized contents of the document, which is ready for implementation, to maintain momentum of accountability and responsibility of roles and to use this forum as a reminding initiative for resource mobilization and pledging.
The expected outcomes are a general consensus and a common understanding on implementation modalities and roles and that all stakeholders are oriented on key targets planned to be achieved in the next five years of the implementation period.

In conclusion, Dr. Brhane stated that the meeting wasn’t intended only for planning but basically and mostly to renew Eritrea’s commitment to the implementation of this guiding document and work together to achieve the targets set out national development. The minister further in her speech, explained that similar to the first HSSDP, the second HSSDP provides guidance and priorities to move from policy to action and sets the overall objectives, strategies, outputs and targets that are to be attained in the coming five years.

According to Minister Amna plans became effective only through their implementation. Hence, ensuring the implementation of the second HSSDP will be most crucial. That is why the HSSDP will be implemented through annual operational plans, specific for each level and most brands of services.

Minister Amna finally recommended that since the plan has passed major works and invaluable inputs of different internal and external partners and the government, all concerned bodies need to work together to make the endeavor a success.

Providing health care is central to the sustainable growth of a community and its national development. That is why the Eritrean government aim is engaged in providing social service in general and health care in particular to its people.

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