The Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recently launched “Health for Life,” an $18 million, five-year health systems and maternal, newborn, child health and family planning program. Health for Life builds on accomplishments gained from the MOHP Nepal Health Sector Programme II and USAID/Nepal’s health sector investments to date. The program aims to strengthen the Government of Nepal’s capacity to plan, manage and deliver high quality and equitable family planning, maternal, newborn and child health services.
The USAID Deputy Mission Director, Sheila Lutjens, affirmed USAID’s shifting focus, across all of its sector programs, to building capacity and effective systems for local governance, particularly at the district level. Ms. Lutjens highlighted Health for Life as a central contributor to this effort. She indicated that over the next five years, “USAID will partner with the Government of Nepal to support effective planning, budgeting and execution of coordinated social sector development programs so that the greatest benefit goes to those with the greatest need.”
The program will work in close coordination with the Government of Nepal, the MOHP and other health sector external development partners at the central, district and community levels. Health for Life interventions directly address key health system constraints in the following areas: local health systems governance; data for decision-making and evidence-based policy development; human resources; quality improvement systems; logistics systems; and knowledge and behavior change. In addition to national-level inputs, Health for Life will have a presence in 14 districts within the mid-west and western regions, with a mandate to ensure adequate and effective transfer of lessons learned and best practices to policy-makers for countrywide scale-up.
At the launch organized at the Nepal Health Training Center, USAID and the MOHP signed a partnership agreement for implementation of Health for Life. The program will be implemented by RTI International, working together with Jhpiego, an international organization, and multiple Nepali non-governmental organizations.