The JLN Welcomes Three New Countries, Marking 30 Members Jan 17, 2018

The JLN Welcomes Three New Countries, Marking 30 Members

The Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN) is pleased to announce three new members to the network: Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Lebanon and South Africa.

Recognized for their commitment to pursuing universal health coverage for their citizens, the three new member countries will contribute their own unique knowledge of and experiences with reforming health systems to the JLN community, strengthening and enriching the entire joint learning network. 

Rozita Halina Tun Hussein, JLN Convener and senior deputy director of the planning division within the Malaysian Ministry of Health, welcomed the new member countries: 

"It gives me great pleasure to share the news of the JLN's three new members. The JLN Steering Group has unanimously agreed that Lao PDR, Lebanon, and South Africa have each demonstrated a significant commitment to making universal health coverage a reality in their respective countries. They will undoubtedly bring valuable knowledge and insight to the technical learning priorities of the network. We look forward to collaborating with our new JLN colleagues in the year ahead."

The new additions increase JLN’s membership base to 30 countries committed to strengthening their health systems in pursuit of UHC and leveraging practitioner-to-practitioner learning to tackle their most pressing challenges to enable equitable and quality health for all in a sustainable manner.  

The three countries, joining the network as associate members, bring a wealth of experience in implementing new policies to advance the goal of universal health coverage.

In Lao PDR, the government plans to increase domestic health financing and identify innovative ways to leverage existing funds to bolster health outcomes. The Laotian Ministry of Health expressed interest in learning more about health sector reforms from their peers in JLN member countries and sharing their own experiences in crafting effective health policies while simultaneously navigating the challenges of limited resources and health inequities. 

In Lebanon, the Ministry of Public Health has made significant progress in recent years toward attaining UHC, especially in expanding access to primary health care. The Ministry is now focused on closing remaining gaps by expanding quality primary care services to vulnerable populations. The Lebanese Ministry would like to share their experience with developing a flexible and resilient health care system for both host and refugee populations while exploring innovative solutions to persistent challenges with their JLN colleagues. 

Lastly, South Africa has pursued UHC through the development of its National Health Insurance program within the National Treasury of South Africa, which has been heralded as one of the most significant health reforms in the country’s history. The National Treasury is looking forward to getting involved with JLN's work on provider payment mechanisms and contributing its experiences with donor transition, switching from vertical programs to integrated financing and implementation, and pursuing reforms despite fiscal constraints. 

The JLN welcomes its three new associate member countries to the network and looks forward to the growth of collective knowledge and solutions for attaining UHC.