National Coordination of Multi-sectoral, Multi-level Pandemic Responses Virtual Collaborative

The Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator (Accelerator), implemented by Results for Development, in partnership with the Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN) will launch a 6-month virtual collaborative focused on multi-sectoral, multi-level coordination of pandemic responses that will facilitate cross-country exchange on what has worked, and not worked, and generate practical guidance. The collaborative will focus on how to strengthen the leadership capacities and functions needed to ensure strong cross-sectoral and multi-level coordination to manage major health and socio-economic threats, such as COVID-19, while building the foundation of more resilient and responsive health systems for the future.

Objectives

The main objective of the virtual learning collaborative will be to create a forum for countries to address their challenges and successes with managing central coordination of an epidemic response, to learn practical approaches from one another and ultimately develop practical guidance that can inform future responses. Technical facilitators will help distill and synthesize the best practices and guidance on multi-sectoral, multi-level strategies for pandemic preparedness, within the overall framework of improving stewardship and the institutional architecture for attainment of universal health coverage (UHC).

Within the frame of coordinating multi-sectoral and multi-level strategies for pandemic response, countries will respond to important questions such as:

  • How to assess how well current approaches to organizing the national COVID response are working and what needs to be updated or changed to strengthen the effectiveness of the national response across sectors, levels and partners?
  • How to most effectively engage the various levels of government, communities, and civil society – including citizens’ voice and vulnerable groups – in countries’ national responses and ensure a coordinated response particularly in devolved/decentralized settings?
  • How to enhance coordination across various levels of care in the health system and shift resources, power and authority closer to the most appropriate service delivery level to improve case management?

Proposed activities to achieve these objectives may include:

  • Facilitating rapid exchange of evidence, practical experience, and innovations to support countries’ COVID response, focusing on how countries establish and effectively manage multi-level and multi-sectoral coordination
  • Capturing, documenting, and rapidly disseminating learning in practical tools, such as evidence briefs, case studies, and other innovative modalities, that are highly practical and can be adapted and used in many countries
  • Aligning with in-country implementation support processes, with strong feedback loops between country-level action and learning and the learning exchanged across countries through the JLN
  • Linking collaborative members to global evidence through existing knowledge aggregators
  • Framing COVID topics around longer-term health systems strengthening and UHC, with a longer-term vision of increasing country health systems’ resilience

Expected level of effort

Participants will be expected to:

  • Establish a multi-sectoral country team involved in the country’s pandemic response
  • Actively participate in monthly virtual meetings
  • Engage with, and be responsive to, the technical facilitator(s) via email, telephone, Skype, including monthly check-ins for feedback on country implementation and translating learnings from the technical collaborative
  • Contribute to the development of knowledge products, including providing feedback and suggestions via virtual meetings and emails

Profile of participants

Country Core Groups (CCGs) should nominate a team of five to six individuals to participate. In order to maximize the potential for learnings to translate to action, it is important that the participants who are identified form a small, highly engaged team and can demonstrate the following success factors:

  • Their commitment to action to improve pandemic responses in the country, such that their complementary strengths can be channeled towards collective action and improvement;
  • Their understanding of the complexities involved in national coordination of pandemic responses, and current involvement in their country’s response, can provide valuable and practical insights on concrete challenges and solutions;
  • Their time availability and ability to engage continuously with the collaborative.

In keeping with the theme of multi-sectoral coordination strategies, we expect a diverse profile of participants, with country teams including participants drawn from national epidemic/pandemic response or multi-sectoral coordination units, Ministries of Health, UHC agencies, National Institutes of Public Health, service delivery and policy units (both national and sub-national levels); and at least two representatives from other priority sectors (e.g., education, finance, transport, and environment). In our experience, active and continuous participation are key factors for success in cross-country exchange and knowledge co-creation. We are therefore seeking teams who can meet the expected level of effort as outlined above. The individual roles below provide examples of the type of individual profiles you may choose to select to form your team:

 OrganizationLevel Description
1National
multi-sectoral
coordination unit
National

A professional directly responsible for managing or 
overseeing the national pandemic response unit usually linked to the executive/President’s/Prime Minister’s 
office. The individual should have a strong grasp of key
policy questions surrounding pandemic responses, as
well as practical know‐how of the country’s response.

2Ministries of Health epidemic/pandemic response unit or
National Institute of Public Health
National

A professional representing the epidemic preparedness and response unit at the Ministry of Health or National
Institute of Public Health. This person is likely to be
participating in the national coordination unit;

AND/OR

A professional directly involved with service delivery
arrangements’ policy design, implementation and
monitoring. The ideal candidate should have a good
sense of the key questions and information needs of the MOH and other key stakeholders to support the clinical
teams for the COVID response such as ramping up
testing, setting up isolation, quarantine and treatment
centers, contact tracing etc.

3Ministry of
Education/ Finance/ Transport/
Environment
NationalTwo individuals – one each from two of these four
Ministries – Education/ Finance/ Transport/ Environment,
who are leading the sectoral plan to mitigate the effects of COVID at their parent Ministry. These persons are likely to be participating in the national coordination unit as a
representative of their parent Ministry.
4National
multi-sectoral
coordination unit
communications
team
NationalA professional in charge of developing communication
strategies and/or engaging with civil society for the COVID response.
5Devolved level of
Government
Sub-nationalA professional representing the devolved level of
government or a secondary administration level as the
case may apply.

The virtual collaborative will be limited to five countries with approximately 25-30 participants. The EOI is open to the full JLN membership and the technical facilitators welcome responses from all countries. However, countries will be prioritized for selection based on relevance of country experience and being able to constitute a strong multi-sectoral team (see evaluation criteria below).

Funding capacity

Due to the current travel restrictions, this collaborative is restricted to virtual engagement for a period of six months. No travel is anticipated.

Call for Expression of Interest (EOI)

To kick off these activities, the Technical Facilitation team welcomes all JLN member countries to submit an Expression of Interest. We encourage countries to make a collaborative application through the CCG. Countries should use this link to access a short EOI response form where your country team will provide the following information:

  • The relevance of the topic to the country and any specific priorities in advancing the country in the learning questions;
  • Planned or ongoing activities being undertaken related to the learning activities;
  • How the learnings will be translated to country action;
  • Proposed country participants and their professional background and position, demonstrating relevance to the collaborative to their daily work;
  • Contact person, including name, title and email.

In the event that the applicant does not have all the above information readily available, or they cannot constitute a multi-sectoral team by the EOI deadline, countries interested in participating in this collaborative are encouraged to use this link to access a form to indicate their interest, while they develop a more detailed expression of interest. All applications will be reviewed, and decisions communicated by November 23, 2020. In the event that you are not able to access the EOI response form, the CCG coordinators should write to the JLN network manager at jln@msh.org for alternative arrangements to submit your EOI. For any questions related to the application, please contact Agnes Munyua at amunyua@r4d.org

Deadline and instructions for submission

Please submit your EOI via this link by November 13, 2020. All applications will be reviewed, and decisions communicated by November 23, 2020.

Evaluation Criteria

Prospective countries should meet the following criteria:

  • Must demonstrate the relevance of the topic to their pandemic preparedness and support, and how this links to the broader goal of improving stewardship for attainment of UHC;
  • Demonstrate a clear plan on how learning from the technical initiative will be rapidly translated to country implementation;
  • Propose a strong, multi-sectoral team representing organizations as suggested in the participant profiles.

Please contact us at accelerateHSS@r4d.org if you have questions.