Eritrea: Internal Appraisal On Essential Health Care Package, Mereb Hotel, Mendefera, December 12 - 14, 2019

Based on the realization of the importance shifting from Basic Health Care Package (BHCP) to Essential Health Care Package (EHCP), the Ministry of Health in collaboration with WHO has been working in developing the Essential Health Care Package. As part of the efforts on to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage. The draft Essential Health Care Package for Eritrea for all age cohorts is being developed, to ensure that future investments are made in accordance to the package and such that the work is aligned to the attainment of UHC. This Internal Appraisal on Essential Health Care Package has taken place from 12 - 14 December 2019 in Mendefera, Eritrea.

Hon. Ms. Amina Nurhussien, Minister of Health officially opened the workshop and emphasized that Eritrea's successes of MDG shall be repeated with the SDGs era, and expressed political commitment to accelerate the implementation of SDGs and aspires the provision of the essential services at all levels. She believes through the inputs of the participants on the EHCP will enrich the document for it wide implementation in all health facilities.

Dr. Martins Ovberedjo, WHO Representative to Eritrea made his appreciation to the presence of Hon. Minister, Governor of Zoba Debub and thanked their commitment in this activity. In his remark, he stated the MTR assessment indicated that results are on track to achieving SDGs; with government led resources. He thanked the Ministry of Health for their commitment and efforts made to move from Basic Health Care Package (BHCP) to Essential Health Care Package (EHCP).

Dr. Martins highlighted that to operationalize this package, adequate supply of essential equipment; scale up of pharmaceutical products, and work with line ministries at all level need to be strengthened. Dr Martins concluded by reiterating WHO's commitment and to supporting MOH all the way.

Hon. Engineer Habteab Tesfatsion, Zonal Debub Governor, has welcomed all participants and thanked MOH for their dedication to strengthen the Health Care Services in the country. He also stressed his commitments towards the implementation of EHCP holistically.

Mr. Berhane Gebretinsaie, DG of Medical Services presented extensively the concept of EHCP and Ministry's shift from basic to essential health care. He stated that these will entail strategic shifts from focusing on rural to different population (urban, poor, agrarian etc); from mother and child focus to all age cohorts to leave no one behind, from MOH to all line ministries affecting health, from disease centered to people centered approach.

The main objective of the workshop were outlined by Dr. Goitom Mebrhatu, Director of Health Services Division, which is to bring all the relevant programs and departments for review of the drafted Essential health care package, to have a common understanding of EHCP (by age cohort, by public functions and level of cares), understand stepwise process to mapping condition, review list of conditions and interventions proposed for all age cohorts and reach consensus on way forward.

A total of 65 higher official from different divisions and sectors of the Ministry of Health participated, which included the Minister of Health, Director Generals, Directors of divisions, Unit Heads and the Medical Directors from all Referral Hospitals.

Following the presentation, the participants were splitted into 5 groups focusing per age cohort (0-4 years, 5-14 years, 15-49 years, 50 - 70 years, and 70 +years) under the holistic understanding of SDGs, leaving no one behind. These groups were fully engaged in the process of mapping conditions/diseases, and interventions proposed per age cohorts and facility level.

Each group presented their inputs during the plenary session and this session have brought all participants to reflect their opinions, and reach consensus to enrich and finalize the Essential Health Care Package.

During this 3 days intensive technical working groups input, the Ministry of Health was able to finalize the draft Essential Health Care Package in line to the WHO toolkit. The Internal Appraisal of the Essential Health Care Package was conducted and the time frame to take the needful way forward actions as follows:

Formation of extended core team for refining and cleaning of document

Harmonization of the document by the core team (including formatting with all the outline of the draft document - background, rationale etc) (Jan 2020)

Sharing the draft for external inputs from WHO AFRO/IST (Feb 2020)

Community consultation (exact method to be determined) (Feb 2020)

External validation / consensus building for all stakeholders (March 2020)

The Honorable Minister, Zoba Debub Governor and WR Representative attended and fully endorsed the comments from the experts.

Honorable Minister of Health - Mrs Amina Nurhussien making a speech

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