Monitoring pro-poor health policies at the regional level can support both the countries and the regional bodies themselves by identifying gaps in addressing poverty and health, strengthening the link between regions and member states, holding actors accountable to their commitments and identifying better mechanisms for data sharing, monitoring and evaluation of activities. In the area of health, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has conducted important work in understanding how poor health and poverty coincide, are mutually reinforcing, and socially-structured by gender, age, class, ethnicity and location, demonstrated by the key health policy documents that have been facilitated by the secretariat. Yet the time lapse between the formulation of guidelines and policies and their implementation has at times been uneven. The “Poverty Reduction and Regional Integration” (PRARI) project seeks to support the development of a monitoring system to measure the contribution of regional governance in the development of pro-poor health policies in collaboration with key stakeholders in the region. This system will build on existing efforts in the region and focus on policy areas such as the social determinants of health; HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria; non-communicable diseases; maternal and child health; human resources for health; pharmaceuticals; among others. Global developments such as those related to the incoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will also be considered. In order for this indicator-based monitoring system to be effective and to have an impact, it requires ‘regional ownership’, active participation of national and regional experts throughout the process of indicator development, implementation and evaluation, and evidence that it will be addressing health priorities for the region. For this, the institutional leadership from the SADC secretariat and the support from its Member States that are the main beneficiaries of the process is crucial. The strength of a regional body lies in the relevance that member-states see in it addressing their needs and managing the disparities between regional and national priorities. Monitoring existing processes would demonstrate the value-added by such integration efforts.
Amaya, A.B.; Bagapi, K.; Choge, I.; De Lombaerde, P.; Kingah, S.; Kwape, I.; Luwabelwa, M.; Mathala, O.; Mhehe, E.; Moeti, T.; Mookodi, L.; Ngware, Z.; Phirinyane, M. Monitoring Pro-Poor Health-Policy Success in the SADC Region. Open University, Milton Keynes, UK (2015) 5 pp. [PRARI Policy Brief No 7]