With the support of the Global Development Network (GDN), 14 institutions in developing countries have over the past five years implemented a research project titled ‘Strengthening Institutions to Improve Public Sector Accountability” (PEM project). This project focused on ways to improve the use of scarce public resources and has contributed to shifts in the way public resources are spent. The research has significantly contributed to shifts in health policy in Uganda, and is seeking to further highlight this and further research findings by bringing together key actors from across sub-Saharan Africa at a policy dialogue event on November 4th in Abuja, Nigeria.
Despite the fact large resources have been allocated to the health and education sectors in Africa through the implementation of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs). Limited tax resources and a rapidly expanding population has meant the level of resources finding their way into education and health services remains inadequate. For instance, the World Bank’s World Development Report for 2004 highlights the fact that social services sometimes do not work for the poorest in the community. On the other hand, the 2012 World Health Report highlights the financing challenges of providing universal access to health services in the developing world. At the same time, concerns have raised regarding inefficiencies or bad governance in the delivery of health and education services. As such, countries in SSA continue to examine ways of financing alternatives ways to providing quality health and education services. On the other hand, expanding social services remains critical for Africa’s attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Focusing on health and education
Studies conducted, as part of the PEM project, by four African institutions examine the cost effectiveness of malaria control interventions in Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria. For instance, Uganda examined the effectiveness of long lasting insecticide treated nets and indoor residual spraying and showed that spraying was more effective in reducing the burden of malaria in children. Partly as a result of extensive research by various stakeholders in Uganda on malaria control programmes, the government of Uganda elected in September 2013 to implement a large scale nationwide programme of IRS as method of malaria control. Regarding policy simulation, work by the four institutions has focused on: measles immunization in Nigeria; HIV/AIDS control programmes in Uganda; girl’s enrolment in primary school in Nigeria and girl’s secondary enrolment in Uganda.
Policy dialogue: Making smarter policies in Health and Education
Even with good research outputs, it is important to engage with policy makers since there the ultimate decision makers regarding which programmes to implement. As such, it is important to share research findings with key decision makers on how to improve health and education services in Africa. Furthermore, there are concerns among policy analysts that the challenges facing the health and education sectors go beyond inadequate resources.
Against this background, the CSEA in Nigeria working with Results for Development (R4D) and the EPRC, Uganda are organizing an Africa Policy Dialogue on Making Smarter Policies – Improving Health and Education Outcomes in Africa. Invited participants to dialogue include members of parliament, programme managers of education and health interventions, representatives from NGOs, donors and researchers. The various stakeholders will discuss ways of improving and expanding the delivery of health and education programmes in Africa. The dialogue will also show case how think tanks can support governments in designing and evaluating policies in Africa.
If you would like find out more about how the ‘Strengthening Institutions to Improve Public Expenditure Accountability’ project developed policy options and created a tailored approach to research communication visit the ‘Strengthening Institutions’ mini-site.