A Stronger Health System for Haiti: the LMG Project’s Lasting Legacy
An event celebrating the successful conclusion of the MSH-led, USAID-funded Leadership, Management and Governance Project in Haiti (LMG/Haiti) provided an opportunity to look back at the project's five years of effective work to strengthen the Haitian health system.
On September 13, 2017, approximately 80 guests—representing a full range of stakeholders, including USAID; several NGOs; and the project's three key partners, the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP); the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM-Haiti) that coordinates national funding for HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria programs; and the Haitian Network of Journalists in Health (RHJS)—gathered in a Port-au-Prince suburb for LMG/Haiti's closing ceremony.
The event was marked by demonstrations of LMG/Haiti's strong and successful partnerships and positive results. Speakers gratefully acknowledged USAID's financial and technical support for a stronger Haitian health system, through LMG/Haiti, and a cheering audience expressed the high level of satisfaction prevalent among project stakeholders. Among the most memorable moments came when Alyssa Leggoe, Health Office Director of USAID in Haiti, abandoned her speaking notes to warmly and spontaneously express her deep gratification to the many speakers and attendees who were there to testify to LMG/Haiti's impact. She praised the project's strong spirit of collaboration and the lasting partnerships it created to build a stronger health system in Haiti.
Edner Boucicaut, president of CCM-Haiti, spoke of the profound and lasting impact that the project had on Haiti's ability to apply for and implement grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. "LMG's support," he said, "was more than a crutch to help the CCM move forward. LMG was our right arm, always by our side to aid us in successfully implementing our activities in the field. The outcomes speak for themselves."
LMG/Haiti also worked to train Haitian journalists to better understand the health issues facing the country, and to write and broadcast accurate, evidence-based stories that raise awareness about Haiti's health challenges, the importance of healthy behaviors, and successes in strengthening health service delivery and improving health outcomes. "Working with the LMG team over the past three years has been a real blessing for Haitian journalists with an interest in the neglected but essential field of public health," said RHJS Secretary-General Dr. Odilet Lespérance. "The RHJS now has our own website, exclusively dedicated to disseminating accurate health information. We have a strategic plan and an action plan, and are able to effectively implement long-term activities. Most important of all, we now have about 50 member journalists who are well-trained and knowledgeable about health."
In closing remarks on behalf of the Haitian Government, Dr. Adrien Lauré, Director-General of the MSPP, highlighted the important benefits that the ministry's partnership with LMG/Haiti has brought for the health system. The Package of Essential Services (PES), he noted, represents an in-depth restructuring of healthcare in Haiti—including human resources, equipment, and essential drugs needed for timely health service delivery—and for the first time effectively sets out both standards of care and infrastructure models to ensure a seamless continuum of care from the community level through to primary and secondary health facilities. This important advance, Dr. Lauré said, was complemented by a number of other crucial documents and processes for which LMG/Haiti provided critical support to the MSPP, including strategies, implementation plans and training materials on Results-Based Financing (RBF); the ministry's Strategic Communications Plan; and an Emergency Communications Plan that was instrumental in Haiti's ability to rapidly begin efforts to rebuild the health system in the wake of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. "Through these contributions to a stronger health system," he concluded, "LMG/Haiti helped to better equip the MSPP to face Haiti's present and future health challenges."
Although LMG/Haiti has reached its end, these five years of successful partnership on innovative activities have been an important milestone in the history of health and development in Haiti. The LMG interventions and their successful outcomes have shown how critically important inspired leadership, sound management, and transparent governance are for sustainable progress in strengthening health service delivery and bringing about lasting improvements in the health and wellbeing of the Haitian people. This lasting legacy— a stronger, more effective, and more resilient health system—will continue well beyond the end of the LMG Project.