The first IHP+ Country Health Teams Meeting was held in Lusaka, Zambia during 28 February to 1 March 2008. Participants included country teams from thirteen developing countries, representatives from multilateral and bilateral donors, and global and national civil society. The objectives of the meeting were to take stock of efforts under way at country, regional, and global levels and to consider how improvements can be made in the future.

The first set of sessions provided an opportunity for countries to share their experience in preparing costed national health plans and strategies, and the instruments associated with them. Panel and plenary discussions covered what might be the value added of a national Compact, the progress and bottlenecks in developing a Compact and roadmaps, and countries’ future plans on Compacts. 

A second group of sessions focused on the different components of a Compact. This covered the development and review of national health plans and strategies from the perspective of international donors, government and civil society. A later session focused on the national systems for monitoring and evaluation and the need for a common approach agreed with international stakeholders and initiatives. 

International donors were asked to provide their perspective on how they plan to change the way they work in line with the Paris Declaration; open discussion focused on constraints they face, and opportunities to change. Working groups, arranged by country, discussed all these matters in more detail and provided an opportunity for country specific discussion on ways forward. The results of these discussions in the working groups were later reported back to the plenary. 

The final session was used to map out the way forward which, in brief, covered:

Current understanding on what is a Compact: The meeting brought more clarity about the components of a country Compact and elements were proposed for a checklist for the completion of a country Compact. 

The common M&E framework: Participants agreed a plan for applying the global M&E framework across agencies (covering inputs, processes, outputs, outcomes and impact) at the country level. 

Changing the way development partners do business: Countries suggested changes in the way business is carried out by development partners. Additional changes and developments for specific development partners were also proposed. 

Engagement with civil society: It was agreed that civil society should be included in the bi-monthly dialogue with countries and development partners. At country level, country teams should strengthen the engagement of key stakeholders of civil society in the full IHP+ process (design, implementation and review of compact). 

Harmonized technical assistance: The Harmonization for Health in Africa initiative is central to efforts for developing country driven approaches for technical support that responds to country needs, and ensures quality and feedback mechanisms. The HHA will continue to provide support in the areas identified in the meeting. 

Inter-agency working groups: These groups will continue to work in areas requiring cross-agency sharing of knowledge and the development of common approaches. 

Monitoring the way forward: A matrix will be developed to help monitor and assess progress and impact of IHP+ and an independent review of progress by civil society will be commissioned. 

High-level political advocacy: High-level events will be used to get endorsement of the process suggested in IHP+ countries, to clarify what commitments have been made by national and international stakeholders, to inform wider stakeholders of progress and to mobilize additional resources. 

Final report from the First IHP+ Country Health Teams Meeting 2008