Hello. My name is Karel Gyselinck. As public health advisor at the Belgian development agency BTC I am involved in Health System strengthening.
In 2013, the Community of Practice Health Service Delivery took the initiative of organising an international conference in Dakar, revisiting the concept of Health Districts. They did this in coordination with UNICEF, WHO AFRO, WAHO, the Belgian platform Be-Cause Health and ITM Antwerp. About 170 field experts (mainly African district medical officers, hospital practitioners and program directors) came together. It was a rare opportunity to give so many health professionals working at operational level a voice at an international forum.
40 years after Alma Ata and 25 years after the Declaration of Harare, they concluded that Health districts (or more generically referred to as ‘Local Health Systems’) were still a valid strategy, provided they continuously adapt to changing needs and context. They formulated twelve priorities regarding better performing ‘Local Health Systems’. This led to the Declaration of Dakar (see here)
Five years after the conference, it looks like a good practice to follow-up what changes happened at district level in line with the priorities of the Dakar Declaration. Such ‘after-care’ is necessary in order to assure that such conferences are embedded in a more continuous process. Therefore, the platform Be-cause Health wants to host at the Health System’s Research Symposium an organised participatory session The purpose is to:
1/ enhance the understanding amongst the participants of the essence of modern ‘Local Health Systems’ ;
2/ assess whether the priorities formulated at the Dakar Conference in 2013 for better performing health districts have produced some concrete changes for people, health professionals and health managers at the level of the Local Health Systems in various contexts ;
3/ examine the conditions to keep health districts still adaptive to changing challenges and opportunities.
We invite you to express your interest and inform us of learning experiences at district level the results that you esteem interesting to share at the conference. Since we timeframe of the session is limited to 90 minutes, the focus would be particularly on 3 important priorities in the Dakar Declaration: 1/ steering pluralistic local health systems, 2/ supporting empowerment of communities and individuals, and 3/ constant learning.
If you have suggestions for an original way to conduct a participatory session, please share them as well so that we can propose a format that accommodates the various contributions.
The proposals will be analysed by a small committee of CoP experts. A personal feedback to each contributor will be assured.
Since the Dakar Declaration principally emerged from the experiences of health professionals & managers at district level, we are looking in particular for field experts who can share innovative practices in relation to the priorities (principally the three mentioned above) of the Declaration. In that way the organised session will be like a small ‘peer-review’ of the Dakar Declaration. If you are interested let us know before the 3rd of January 2017 since the deadline for submission of the session is the 15th of January 2018.