The Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN) Steering Group held its first in-person meeting after its expansion on April 24 – 25th, 2017, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Members from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam joined in discussions with partners from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, German International Cooperation (GIZ), Rockefeller Foundation and the World Bank, and the network coordinating team from Results for Development and ACCESS Health International.
JLN convener and Malaysia’s Senior Deputy Director, Planning Division, Ministry of Health, Dr. Rozita Halina Hussein, opened the meeting with a warm welcome to new and old members of the Steering Group. The discussions kicked off with the state of the JLN and its future direction as the network progresses. The Steering Group visited a range of topics including the governance of the JLN and the roles of Steering Group, Country Core Groups and the Network Coordinator. The Steering Group also discussed technical activities, funding priorities, and current and upcoming JLN products and tools.
A key focus of the Steering Group was reviewing the amendments to the JLN Charter as a follow-up to the decisions reached at the Sixth Steering Group Meeting, held in Malaysia in July 2016. The changes in the JLN Charter acknowledge an expanding membership and the need to clearly articulate the roles of Steering Group and Country Core Groups, as well as those of the network coordinators and technical facilitators, to meet the demands of a growing network. The new JLN Charter is expected to be finalized and ready for ratification by the JLN members by the end of May 2017.
As part of monitoring of JLN’s learning exchanges, the Steering Group members heard from the JLN’s technical facilitators on the progress from recent learning collaboratives on Primary Health Care, Health Financing and Provider Payment, Information Technology, and Medical Audits, with spotlight on the latest accomplishment – the release of a new monitoring toolkit for provider payment systems co-produced by 13 JLN member countries.
The JLN’s rapid expansion to 27 member countries has resulted in several new focus areas identified for joint learning, such as stakeholder communications for UHC and improving the efficiency of health financing systems. As the network grows, maintaining the quality of the learning collaboratives and increasing the uptake of the resulting knowledge products and tools are among the key priorities for the JLN going forward.