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Technical support enables Gabon health plan

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The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Gabon has officially launched its Technical Support Programme for the National Health Development Plan – NHDP – in Gabon, for which the American non-profit organisation, Management Science for Health (MSH) will provide technical support.
Held in the presence of the first deputy prime minister Paul Biyoghe Mba, in charge of health, social security and national solidarity, the launch saw a gathering of the different project development partners, including the WHO, the World Bank, the UNFPA, the AFD and UNICEF.
The programme aims to implement the objectives enshrined in the National Health Development Programme, which, as envisaged by the President of the Republic, Ali Bongo Ondimba, consists in developing a modern and more accessible health system, particularly for vulnerable peoples.
“Gabon must ensure equal access to healthcare services for all. This is why the ministry is launching this plan, which aims to bring about an improvement in the range of healthcare services in Gabon, and to roll out state-of-the-art equipment throughout the country. This is in accordance with the equal opportunity programme launched by the Head of State,” the deputy prime minister stated.
For the first year, MSH will assist government action in four priority areas: improvements to the range of healthcare services, to health management, to results-based financing systems and to the availability of essential medical products.
Working in some 40 countries for over 40 years, MSH is committed to efforts to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Gabon by 65% over the next five years. The public-private partnership between the Health Ministry and MSH will also enable the provision of full vaccine cover for the country against polio, meningitis, tuberculosis, pneumococcal diseases, hepatitis B, measles and yellow fever, as well as guaranteeing the procurement of medicines for healthcare structures.
“Each year, the development status of numerous countries is affected or delayed, millions of lives are wiped out and too many deaths are caused by pathologies and diseases that are avoidable or treatable through proven and affordable approaches and solutions,” declared Paul Auxila, executive vice-president and head of operations at MSH.
As part of its missions, MSH contributes to filling the gap that very often exists between knowledge, solutions and action in the field of public health, as in the Democratic Republic of Congo where its technical support has enabled some 150 000 children to be saved in less than four years.
Various development partners have been assisting the Health Ministry in its work for several years, including the French Development Agency (AFD). “For our part, we shall continue, as we have been doing since 2007, to press for implementation of the National Health Development Plan and for skills enhancement of Gabon’s public healthcare staff,” affirmed Yves Picard, the AFD representative in Gabon.
The AFD and the Gabon government signed a financing agreement last month in respect of 50-million euros (33 billion CFA francs) to finance phase two of the Support Project for the National Health Development Plan with the objective of renovating and equipping 27 health centres in four provinces of Gabon’s interior with a target population of 551 000 people. Attention will also be given to reinforcing the skills and training of medical staff.