The West African Health Organisation (WAHO) is a specialised institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in charge of health issues, whose mission is to provide the highest level of health care services to the populations of the sub-region based on the harmonisation of the policies of the 15 member states
The "Regional Reproductive Health and HIV Prevention Programme in the ECOWAS Region" is funded by the German government through the KfW development bank and technically supported by the Swiss Tropical and Health Institute (Swiss TPH).
Swiss TPH has been accompanying the PRSR through its role as regional consultant to the West African Health Organization (WAHO) since 2010 from phase 1 to phase V starting in January 2022.
The general objective of the Regional Program is to contribute to an improvement in reproductive health in ECOWAS countries. More specifically, it is to
(i) Contribute to the availability of reproductive health products (contraceptives).
(ii) Contribute to a positive change in the behaviour of target groups in the use of reproductive health services.
A Regional Financing Mechanism (RFM) has been set up which consists of two funds that are managed by a management unit within WAHO:
1. A fund for the procurement of family planning commodities called the “Commodity Procurement Fund” (Fonds d’achats de produits – FAP): the commodities concerned are intended to reinforce the stocks of the beneficiary countries. Procurement is organised in two-year cycles and is limited to three types of contraceptives per country and per cycle, including primarily male condoms, injectable and implants. The PAF only funds needs not covered by other sources.
2. A fund to finance capacity building interventions called the "Capacity Building Fund" (Fonds de renforcement des Capacités – FRC): It is intended to finance interventions aimed at changing the behaviour of the population and actions that concern the creation and satisfaction of demand for family planning and RH services, the strengthening of the institutional and financial sustainability of national actors and their capacities in the field of planning, the acquisition and distribution of RH products and IEC/BCC for family planning and HIV prevention. In addition, the programme aims to strengthen WAHO.
In addition, the regional programme also supports regional integration through cross-border actions, participation and facilitation of regional networks in the field of family planning and HIV prevention as well as social marketing, and the organisation of regional exchanges e.g. the "Best Practice Forum" and "Early Warning System for Contraceptive Commodity Exchange to avoid stock-outs and correct over-stocking".
Since 2010, Swiss TPH, the programme's consultant, has been supporting WAHO in the implementation of the following activities:
1. Programme implementation including monitoring and evaluation
2. Improvement of the Regional Financing Mechanism
3. Follow-up of budget execution and financial monitoring of the programme
4. Periodic monitoring at WAHO and national levels
5. Design and coordination of regional and cross-border activities
6. Coordination of Regional Programme activities with relevant regional initiatives and country programmes (interface management)
7. Assessment of country and WAHO needs
8. Country and WAHO procurement, including monitoring and advising WAHO on tender documents
In 2021, eleven (11) countries in the ECOWAS zone should benefit from the program's interventions (Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Togo) with the support of KfW but also the Netherlands, the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The implementation of activities at the operational level is coordinated at the country level by the Ministry of Health as the principal Beneficiary, with the collaboration of pharmaceutical supply organizations and civil society organizations (social marketing associations and family planning associations).
In 2017 a financing agreement was signed between ECOWAS and the German government to extend the program's actions within WAHO, which enabled KfW to renew its confidence in WAHO by awarding and starting the preparation of a new phase (Phase V) in 2022.