5 March 2014

A joint session together with IHP+ and Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health (CoIA) during the recent Accountability stakeholders meeting focused on efficiencies to be gained by streamlining global reporting requirements, as well as by joint rather than separate investments in country information systems.

Streamlining global reporting requirements: discussions provide ‘a useful reality check’

Improving accountability for results is a central concern of IHP+ and of the stakeholders involved in Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health (CoIA). A joint session together with IHP+ during the recent Accountability stakeholders meeting focused on efficiencies to be gained by streamlining global reporting requirements, as well as by joint rather than separate investments in country information systems. Dr Chan had earlier set the scene, stressing that accountability can expedite results but also telling development partners frankly ‘Many countries are unhappy. They welcome your initiatives but not all the parallel reporting systems that come with them’.

Reducing the burden of global reporting

The World Bank President Jim Kim and Dr Chan are leading a global effort to rationalise reporting demands across agencies. Dr Ties Boerma, Director of Health Statistics & Information Systems at WHO, gave a sneak preview of the efficiencies to be gained by streamlining reporting requirements, based on a review in eight countries. Country partners strongly supported this approach, with Dr Praveen Mishra, Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Population, Nepal, noting ‘Composite, holistic indicators which allow for good monitoring and review are crucial, but we need to ensure they do not put unrealistic demands on those at the grassroots’. An overarching message was that, while some efforts exist to streamline reporting requirements, more needs to be done.

Reality check

Partners welcomed this session as a useful ‘reality check’. It allowed people to share examples of challenges; where progress is being made and where it could be accelerated. The session outlined the IHP+ approach to one platform for information and accountability, a key plank in the seven behaviours. Agencies including the World Bank, GAVI, the EC, the Global Fund, DFID, and USAID spoke of their commitment to take action to move towards more effective joint monitoring of sector performance; harmonized and aligned reporting, and joint investment in countries’ information systems.

Accountability for results

Moderator Anders Nordstrom noted action by agencies and stressed that they should themselves be held to account for progress. Panellist Louise Holly, from Save the Children UK and a member of the IHP+ Steering Committee, highlighted the important role civil society has to play in strengthening country systems, calling on all partners to engage civil society in meaningful and timely ways at country and global level to address these shared challenges. IHP+ and the Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health stakeholders need to lead the charge.


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