ANTANANARIVO – The U.S. Government closed out its Health Policy Plus activity (HP+) in Madagascar last Friday after seven years of significant gains. Since 2016, HP+ has helped Madagascar diminish preventable maternal and child deaths by ensuring people across the country can access quality, affordable healthcare and helping people meet their needs for family planning.
With $7.6 million in funding, HP+ led advocacy for legislative reforms, such as the 2018 adoption of a law governing reproductive health and family planning. It also helped the Ministry of Public Health develop and implement policies to strengthen the health system, especially with respect to improving nutrition.
Around the world, HP+ strengthens and advances health policy priorities at the global, national, and subnational levels. It improves the enabling environment for equitable and sustainable health services, supplies, and delivery systems through policy design, implementation, and financing.
“Through the work of Health Policy Plus, Madagascar has implemented strategies to strengthen the national health system, and put in place consequential new laws, regulations and frameworks for stronger reproductive health and family planning,” Acting USAID Mission Director Randy Chester said at the closing ceremony last Friday. “Today we celebrate successes achieved through long-term work. Let us continue to work together for the health and well-being of the Malagasy people.”
The results of the legal and regulatory reforms have been palpable. In 2019, a year after the reproductive health and family planning law passed, an estimated 100,000 unintended pregnancies, 22,000 unsafe abortions, and 300 maternal deaths were averted due to the increased voluntary use of modern methods of contraception, as compared to 2017, according to government data from 2020.
At the ceremony, Director General of the National Institute for Community and Public Health Sahondranirina Hanitriniala said that the support the U.S. Government has brought to the health system in Madagascar through USAID flowed through multiple agencies, inculcated a strong partnership and mutual sharing of values and skills, and played a valuable role in the Ministry’s work on family planning, community health, access to health financing, maternal and child health, and water and sanitation.
The United States stands side by side with Madagascar like ‘mpirahalahy mianala’ to help improve the health and well-being of the Malagasy people. USAID, through its activities like HP+ which strengthened family planning efforts, has helped Madagascar to begin shifting its age structure for the island to be more demographically comparable to other countries that have recently seen considerable economic growth.
Through USAID, the U.S. government remains the largest donor to Madagascar’s health sector with an average annual contribution of $72 million. This funding contributes to family planning; maternal and child health; nutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and malaria.