L’Initiative has demonstrated ongoing support for Niger over the past 10 years and continues to ensure the support it provides aligns with other French global health partners in terms of meeting health priorities and improving the impact of Global Fund grants. A Regional Global Health Advisor is now present in Niamey, which is beneficial in terms of consolidating this strengthened approach to France’s support to health in Niger.
A team from L’Initiative (Expertise France) traveled to Niamey at the end of January to monitor the various technical support assignments provided to stakeholders involved in Global Fund grants in Niger.
The visit took place in collaboration with the Regional Global Health Advisor, Pierre-Alain Rubbo, and in parallel with visits by the Global Fund country team and AFD head office representatives (Health and Social Protection Division).
Working meetings with the Global Fund Grant Management Unit at the Ministry of Public Health took place to review capacity strengthening delivered by two resident L’Initiative experts: Dr. Marie-Josée Mbuzenakamwe (planning and monitoring program) and Denis Hounsinou (administrative and financial management). A potential multi-year technical support mechanism for the Ministry was also discussed.
Challenges with aligning technical and financial partners with Ministry priorities were also discussed with Jean-François Caremel, a P4H/SFHA expert who supports the Ministry (Secretary General and Director of Studies and Programming) with financial support from L’Initiative. Jean-François’ support focuses, in particular, on issues relating to the INAM (National Institute of Health Insurance) and to the reform of the Common Health Fund (FCS).
During the visit, meetings with the Global Fund and the two L’Initiative teams of experts currently supporting Niger with its funding request also took place: five experts working on the HIV/HSS request and four on the malaria request.
The purpose of the visit was also to move forward the design of a project to “Strengthen capacity around laboratory equipment management for health and first-line maintenance among technicians at local level health facilities (CSIII and district hospitals),” which will be supported through the Accelerator, L’Initiative’s third support mechanism. The project scope and four central units were confirmed with the Directorate of Health Laboratories in consultation with the Directorate of Infrastructure and Equipment as well as the General Secretary and the Division of Studies and Research (DEP). Two experts are supporting L’Initiative with this work: Dr. Laurent Malato and Yahouza Bouyé Boudé.
Meetings also took place with civil society actors supported through the four projects funded by L’Initiative. The Nigerien NGO SongES presented results from the current “Halartar Al’Umma” project, which aims to scale up identifications of lost to follow-up tuberculosis among vulnerable populations. An agreement for a second project led by SongES for migrants living in slum areas, in partnership with Médecins du Monde Belgium, is being developed and is planned to start up next June.
The Labo2S project led by the French NGO Solthis, in collaboration with the Directorate of Health Laboratories and the Fondation Mérieux, is entering its final six-month period. In addition, a new project has been negotiated to improve sexual and reproductive health rights for girls, implemented in collaboration with the Nigerien NGO Lafia Matassa, which will start up in the second quarter of 2023.