Responding to COVID-19 while Maintaining Essential Health Services
On May 1, 2020, the Steering Group of the Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN) approved the launch of a new COVID-19 Network for Open Dialogue and Exchange (NODE) to support countries in accessing, sharing, and discussing COVID-19-related knowledge. This new initiative will expand the network’s ability to respond quickly to countries’ needs for practical knowledge about pandemic response and maintaining essential health services during pandemics.
Introducing the COVID-19 NODE
Meeting evolving needs in COVID-19. For more than 10 years, the JLN’s country-driven and country-led joint learning approach has connected hundreds of practitioners and policymakers to co-create practical solutions to the shared health system challenges they face when moving to universal health coverage. Building on these values, JLN member countries have identified urgent challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 NODE will bring countries together to respond to these challenges, with opportunities for learning and exchange. And as country priorities shift, so will the NODE’s topics, events, and resources to provide more opportunities for joint learning and more close-to-real-time and rapid knowledge sharing and joint problem-solving using effective virtual engagement tools and approaches.
Broader participation. The coronavirus recognizes no borders and is impacting every country around the globe. The NODE is therefore meant to be inclusive and so non-JLN member participants will be welcome to connect, share and learn.
New partnerships. The JLN has traditionally enjoyed a broad network of partners and the NODE will continue to draw on support of and collaboration with the Global Financing Facility, USAID, the World Bank, and others. We intend to expand these partnerships given the need of countries and partners to make good policy and implementation decisions during this pandemic. Please visit the website for details of evolving partnerships and the learning opportunities they will provide members.
The Technical Agenda
The JLN technical agenda is adapting to respond to urgent changes in countries’ priorities to address the COVID-19 response, while also maintaining our foundational focus on universal health coverage (UHC), including through work on how to maintain primary health care services through the pandemic period.
Using feedback from country members, some JLN teams are shifting their focus entirely from topics countries have deprioritized to emerging technical topics, some teams are continuing their work with slight modifications to incorporate COVID-19 related themes, and new teams are being formed to take up COVID-related topics that have not previously been on the agenda.
While this remains a work in progress, examples of existing JLN learning activities adapting in response to COVID-19 include:
- Pilot of an Empanelment Assessment Tool – shifting to more immediate COVID-19 related themes
- Population Targeting – continuing with adaptation
- Domestic Resource Mobilization – continuing with adaptation
- Systematic Prioritization and Efficiency – continuing with adaptation
- Primary Health Care Financing and Payment – continuing with adaptation
- Private Sector Engagement – continuing with adaptation
- Primary Health Care Initiative – new topics coming soon
- Medicines and Pricing – new topics coming soon
- Managing NCDs through Innovative Primary Care – new topics coming soon
- Multi-sector, Multi-level Coordination for Pandemic Response – new topic coming soon
We expect in addition to be adding new topics on human resources for health, supply chain management, strategic communications, infection prevention and control, telehealth, and others, all as prioritized by the Steering Group and Country Core Groups.
Going Digital to Meet Current Challenges and Work More Efficiently
With travel restricted, but the need to connect, share, and learn across countries greater than ever, the JLN is adapting to new ways of working together. The NODE will curate practical knowledge from country experiences and make available other new online resources. Moreover, technical teams will be modifying facilitation approaches to take advantage of best-in-class virtual engagement techniques and tools to support practitioner-to-practitioner learning.
As the JLN launches the COVID-19 NODE, there are many ways to get involved, learn more, and stay up-to-date:
- Save the date June 4, 2020 (pre-register, below) for a discussion about how countries can solve health system challenges through joint learning and to learn more about the COVID-19 NODE.
- Create an account on the JLN website to access discussion forums and the latest network announcements.
- Contact the JLN Network Manager about how to partner, support, and engage with the COVID-19 NODE.