What is IHP+?

IHP+ is a group of partners committed to improving the health of citizens in developing countries. Partners work together to put international principles for effective aid and development co-operation into practice in the health sector.

IHP+ is open to all governments, development agencies and civil society organizations involved in improving health who are willing to adhere to the commitments in the IHP+ Global Compact for achieving the health Millennium Development Goals. IHP+ currently has 59 signatories to the Global Compact (May 2012).

What does IHP+ do?

IHP+ works to:

> Put principles into practice
IHP+ translates the concepts of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness into something very tangible at the country level. It encourages increased support for one national health strategy or plan, through a work plan that ties together five technical areas, all of which are needed to harness the potential of the global aid system and improve country level health systems.

The technical areas are to: 

  1. Support inclusive national planning processes
  2. Jointly assess national health strategies and plans (JANS)
  3. Negotiate and agree country compacts or their equivalent
  4. Report on progress in a more unified way, based on one common results monitoring framework
  5. Ensure mutual accountability between all stakeholders.

In all activities, IHP+ stresses the importance of building on existing national policies, systems and coordination mechanisms, and keeping a focus on results.

> Catalyse change
IHP+ is not a new funding organization or a special project. It is an initiative trying to ensure that different stakeholders in national and global health are able to work together more effectively to make better use of resources, and by doing so help to accelerate improvements in health services and health outcomes.

It catalyses change by:

•  keeping the global spotlight on progress with health aid coordination and results at country level
•  emphasizing country leadership in planning processes, and 
•  developing tools to build confidence and commitment to support national health strategies and  plans. 
•  countries decide on their priorities and can draw from the menu of activities supported through IHP+. There is no one blueprint for what countries do because they have joined IHP+. 

> Build relationships and confidence
Effective delivery of aid and a solid, functional health system cannot exist without changing the ways governments, development agencies, civil society organisations and others work together. In order to work most effectively, relationships between these stakeholders need to grow and strengthen so they can have confidence in supporting a single health strategy.

At global level, governments and development agencies sign a Global Compact to show their commitment to implementing the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in the health sector, through stronger country partnerships.
At country level, a wider range of stakeholders is involved including national civil society organizations. How partners work together in country and the relationships they choose to form in order to make progress, are decided locally. 

> Support civil society
The role of civil society in IHP+ is critical. IHP+ is about encouraging relevant stakeholders to unite and participate in the planning and implementation of a national health strategy or plan. Often, civil society organizations are unable to find a way to voice their opinions and influence health policy. Through IHP+ civil society organisations are encouraged to participate in planning the national health strategy or plan and influence the health policy agenda. Civil society organisations receive support from IHP+ in a variety of ways.

> Create links between the country and the global level
Through IHP+ developing country governments, development agencies and civil society organizations are finding new opportunities to engage with each other and link national concerns to the global level.

What is the IHP+ Global Compact?

International development agencies, bilateral agencies, and developing country governments sign the Global Compact when they join IHP+ as a commitment to improving aid effectiveness in health. Periodically, all partners meet to review progress against the commitments they made here.

The Global Compact defines commitments following the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.

What is a country compact?

Many IHP+ country signatories have some form of national partnership agreement, or ‘compact’, designed to increase alignment with the national health strategy or plan. Compacts can contribute to improving the alignment of partner funding with national priorities, and can provide a basis for mutual accountability.

Read more about lessons learnt from the country compacts here.

How is IHP+ governed?

All signatories to the IHP+ Global Compact are part of the IHP+ management structure. At country level, IHP+ works through existing partnership coordination mechanisms, facilitated by WHO, World Bank and other partners’ country staff where needed. 

The IHP+ Steering Committee is responsible for setting overall strategic directions and oversight of IHP+. It approves the IHP+ work plan and budget. It approves IHP+ Working Groups, reviews their recommendations and agrees on actions to be taken. It meets twice a year and has 16 members including six countries, four multi-laterals, four bi-laterals and two CSOs.

The IHP+ Reference Group supports the IHP+ Core Team in implementing the IHP+ work-plan. It serves as a forum for information exchange and collaboration. Members include senior technical staff from the institutions on the Steering Committee and others. Teleconferences are held alternate months.

IHP+ Working Groups are time-limited groups of technical experts, drawn from countries, agencies and CSOs. The group develops collective guidance and/or recommendations on specific topics related to development effectiveness in health. Working Groups report to the Steering Committee. Currently active groups are the Working Group is on Mutual Accountability, chaired by Tim Martineau, UNAIDS and the Monitoring and Evaluation Working Group chaired by Ties Boerma, WHO. A new Working Group on Financial Management is chaired by Renaud Seligmann of the World Bank.

The IHP+ Core Team is co-hosted by WHO and the World Bank. It manages the IHP+ work plan, budget and communications, under the oversight of the Steering Committee. It takes forward Steering Committee decisions, organizes Steering Committee, Reference Group and Country Health Teams Meetings, and facilitates Working Group meetings. The team is led by Veronica Walford (WHO). IHP+ mainly works through staff of partner organizations to implement the agreed plan of work

Who funds IHP+?

A mix of bilateral and multilateral donors.

What has IHP+ achieved?

Recent independent reviews of IHP+ report that IHP+ has created an independent space for multi-stakeholder discussion about the coordination of health aid, and that countries value this.

IHP+ tools and processes are helping to develop better quality health plans, better aligned support and stronger country ownership. IHP+ has also helped bring civil society into health policy discussions at country level, though more still needs to be done.

The reviews note that IHP+ has not yet delivered substantial donor behaviour change and so far has had limited impact on strengthening country health delivery systems. The reviews emphasize that IHP+ performance is only as good as the performance of its partners.

More information on achievements can be found in the reports of the IHP+ Results consortium  and the 2011 stock take of IHP+. A summary of country level examples is also available. 

What is the lifespan of IHP+?

IHP+ was launched in September 2007 with a time-limited work plan. Under the current arrangement and work plan, IHP+ will continue until 2015. The future directions of IHP+ are currently under reviewed.