International Health Partnership
The International Health Partnership (IHP+) is a group of partners committed to improving the health of citizens in developing countries by putting the principles of aid effectiveness into practice. IHP+ began in 2007 with 27 developing country governments, international development partners, civil society organizations and other non-state actors in order to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. IHP+ mobilizes partners to support comprehensive, country-led health strategies in a well-coordinated way. This global initiative is administered by the World Health Organization and the World Bank.
History and Principles of the IHP+
Improving health and health services involves governments, health workers, civil society, parliamentarians and other stakeholders working together. In developing countries, money for health comes from both domestic and external resources. This means that governments must also work with a range of international development partners. These partners are increasing in number, use different funding streams and have diverse bureaucratic demands. As a result, development efforts can become fragmented and resources can be wasted.
In 2005, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness set out principles for making aid more effective. These principles include ownership, alignment, harmonization, mutual accountability and managing for results. In 2011, the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness signalled a shift in thinking from traditional aid effectiveness to a broader, more inclusive approach to development cooperation, a greater emphasis on considering domestic and external resources together, and on results.
IHP+ began in September 2007 in order to put these international principles into practice in the health sector and accelerate progress towards the MDGs. The Partnership aims to do so by encouraging wide support for a single national health strategy and a single monitoring and evaluation framework, in addition to placing an emphasis on partner mutual accountability. The initiative arose from pre-existing developments aimed at improving health outcomes and improving aid effectiveness, including the High-level Forum (HLF) on the Health MDGs, the post-HLF process, and the HLF on Aid Effectiveness.
IHP+ has partners from around the world including developing countries, civil society organizations (CSOs) and development partners. Originally, 26 signatories including 7 countries, 18 bilateral and multilateral partners, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation signed the IHP+ Global Compact  for achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals. The Global Compact is the initiative's foundational global document that is signed by all partner countries, international agencies and bilateral donors when they join the IHP+. The Compact sets out the goals and approach of IHP+ and contains collective and individual commitments by signatories to adhere to agreed aid effectiveness principles. Signatories agree to support country and government-led national health plans. Currently, there are 59 signatories to the Global Compact (as of June 2013).
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) play an important role in IHP+ at both the country and global level. At the country level, civil society encompasses patient groups, health workers, medical or health unions and associations, faith-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, academic institutions, media, advocacy groups, refugees, women, youth and other neglected or vulnerable groups. At the global level, civil society is included in IHP+ governance bodies. The Executive Team and Scaling-up Reference Group each include one northern and one southern civil society representative, who draw on a Civil Society Consultative Group of up to 12 civil society members, to discuss IHP+ related issues and activities. IHP+ thematic working groups also include civil society representation. IHP+ supports a small grants programme for southern CSOs called the Health Policy Action Fund. This is designed to strengthen the capacity of southern CSOs so that they can engage more meaningfully with national health policy processes.
In addition, IHP+ collaborates with related initiatives including Harmonization for Health in Africa (HHA); the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA); H8; Health Metrics Network (HMN); Providing for Health (P4H); and follow-up activities of the Commission for Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health (COIA).
IHP+ encourages inclusive ways of working: governments, CSOs, private organizations, parliaments and international development partners all have a role to play. There are five main approaches:
- Inclusive health planning and joint assessment (JANS) processes. JANS is a shared, systematic approach to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a national health strategy.
- Country compacts. These are negotiated agreements in which governments and development partners make commitments on ways to support implementation of a national health strategy. Compacts include agreements on aid modalities, and management and monitoring arrangements.
- Greater use of country financial management systems. Joint Financial Management Assessments and Joint Fiduciary Arrangements are useful steps towards strengthening and aligning with government systems and reducing transaction costs. These also help improve the use of scarce resources and increase transparency and accountability.
- One platform for monitoring and accountability for results. IHP+ partners commit to focus on results and to use shared mechanisms for reviewing performance. IHP+ encourages greater mutual accountability - holding each other to account − by monitoring progress on partners' commitments.
- Enabling greater south-south knowledge exchange. Experience of working with multiple partners to deliver better results is growing. IHP+ is fostering more systematic approaches to learning with and across countries, through existing networks where possible.
- "Britain launches global healthcare plan for poor countries", ABC News (Australia), September 6, 2007.
- "Brown launches global health plan", Associated Press in The Hindu, September 5, 2007.
- Bobby Ramakant, "International Health Partnership to strengthen health systems", Asian Tribune, September 11, 2007.
- "What results can be expected from the new agenda for aid effectiveness?", October 2011
- McCoy, David (2011). "The IHP+: a welcome initiative with an uncertain future". The Lancet 377 (9780): 1835–1836.
- Hill, Peter S (2012). "Development cooperation for health: reviewing a dynamic concept in a complex global health aid environment". Globalization and Health 8 (5). Retrieved 1 October 2012.
- PDF signed version from the Global Compact
- H8 stands for Health eight, an informal gathering of eight international agencies coming together to improve their effectiveness in providing health in Low and Middle Income Countries.Composed of the WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNAIDS, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, GAVI Alliance, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Bank