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GFF governance body commits to advance strategy and strengthen efforts to protect essential health services, build resilient frontline systems and reach the unreached as part of COVID-19 response

November 24 -- Country and international partner representatives of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) reaffirmed their commitment to GFF's unique role in COVID-19 response and recovery and mobilizing the funds needed for implementing its strategy. 

The GFF governing bodies*, Investors Group (IG) and Trust Fund Committee (TFC), who met virtually for their 13th bi-annual governance meetings this week, provided guidance on key policies and programs and approved critical investments to strengthen the GFF partnership implementation and impact, as well as deepening collaboration to advance shared goals including : 

  • Responding to COVID-19 and building resilience:  Coutry representatives, including Ministers of Health from Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Uganda, and government officials from Cambodia, Indonesia, Niger, and Senegal shared their experiences and efforts to protect essential services and mitigate the impacts on women, children and adolescents. They emphasized the importance of country leadership, alignment, and harmonization at the country level and investments in frontline and primary health care systems as critical drivers for building long-term resilience beyond the pandemic and GFF's crucial role and support. The GFF secretariat presented updated analysis and findings of the impact of essential health services resulting from COVID-19 and the implications for partner countries. As part of these efforts, a new round of $120 million of COVID-19 Essential Health Services (EHS) grants to six GFF partner countries were approved by the TFC to help countries adapt and strengthen their primary delivery system to address immediate needs for a comprehensive COVID-19 response. 
  • Supporting stronger country leadership and alignment: Ministers of Health of partner countries, who are members of the Alignment Working Group, presented how external and domestic financiers can better align their support and technical assistance to country priorities and systems. The Investors Group endorsed the alignment framework of the AWG, including piloting its implementation in up to nine countries with links and synergies with existing efforts, including the Global Action Plan. The Trust Fund Committee further approved operational support and technical assistance for supporting the piloting and advancing country leadership as part of the budget prioritization to advance key initiatives of the GFF strategy. 
  • Advancing equity: An initial investment of $40 million was approved by the Trust Fund Committee to enable deeper engagement with social protection programs. Partners noted that demand-side factors, especially financial hardship, were critical barriers to care widened by the pandemic. This investment builds on GFF's increasing experience in co-financing multisectoral IDA/IBRD operations with social safety nets and will focus on making those schemes work better for women, children, and adolescent health and improving equity in access to health for the most vulnerable in GFF-supported countries. 
  • Integrating Nutrition into Universal Coverage: Ahead of the upcoming Nutrition for Growth Summit in Japan, the Investors group endorsed developing a GFF nutrition roadmap to be presented at the summit, highlighting the key actions that the GFF will take by 2025 to further integrate nutrition into Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Partners emphasized GFF's unique role in integrating nutrition interventions into strengthened primary health and financing systems, catalyzing more and better financing for nutrition, and supporting multisectoral approaches. The close collaboration with partners, including the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, continues to be critical to advance this agenda. 
  • Strategy implementation progress and a strengthened results framework: Presentation of the strategy implementation and the results agenda outlined progress made by the partnership, as well as challenges countries are facing amid COVID-19. Partners emphasized the value of understanding the impacts of COVID-19 and how the GFF results measurement framework, and data collection will be crucial in supporting global and country policy dialogue for advancing women, children and adolescents health. Coinciding with the meeting, the GFF launched a new data portal that brings together transparent, user-friendly data on women, children and adolescent health and nutrition, health systems, and financing in GFF partner countries.
  • Championing the GFF Resource Mobilization Campaign – Trust Fund Committee members welcomed an update on the campaign plan to Reclaim the Gains: Don't let COVID-19 turn back progress on the health of women, children and adolescents and committed to continue providing support and leadership to mobilize the required resources to reach the target of $1.2b by March 2022. 

The Investors Group Meeting was co-chaired by Honorable Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health, Ethiopia, and Joshua Tabah, Director General for Health and Nutrition, Global Affairs Canada. World Bank Vice President for Human Development Mamta Murthi chaired the Trust Fund Committee. Participating for the first time in his capacity as GFF Director, Juan Pablo Uribe shared his vision for the GFF partnership including keeping a laser focus on women, children and adolescent health through a system-wide approach to reach the unreached and to bring quality to the forefront and help advancing country leadership, alignment to ensure sustainability and stronger resilience. 


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

GFF Annual Report 2020-2021

Pre-print - Indirect Effects on Maternal and Child Mortality from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Disruptions in Healthcare Utilization in 18 Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Thirteenth Investors Group Meeting: Presentations and background papers

* The broad set of partners that comprise the GFF—including governments, civil society organizations, the private sector, UN agencies, Gavi, and the Global Fund and private foundations—come together regularly at the global level through the GFF Investors Group (IG). The IG plays a key role in supporting and fostering alignment and coherence at the country level for the GFF partnership. The GFF Trust Fund is governed by the Trust Fund Committee (TFC), which comprises representatives of the World Bank and donors that contribute to the GFF Trust Fund. The TFC is the main decision-making body of the GFF Trust Fund and its responsibilities include deciding which countries are eligible as recipients of the GFF Trust Fund and defining the funding approaches that guide the support of the GFF Trust Fund to countries. The TFC draws advice from the Investors Group.