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BID Learning Network engages collaborative about country priorities

By Daines Mgidange, Change Management and Data Use Associate, PATH

Jun 3, 2021

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Photo: PATH/Trevor Snapp. BID Learning Network (BLN) members meet for a study visit, during what used to be in-person gatherings. The BLN has had to pivot under the current pandemic to meet country needs and constraints.

After a difficult year of setbacks and delays from the COVID-19 pandemic, including disruptions to countries’ health services, increased morbidity and mortality, and economic and social setbacks, the BID Learning Network (BLN) recently convened member countries to discuss priorities for the year ahead.

Like so many partners and implementers, the BLN has been impacted by travel bans, delays, and the inability to meet in person. Fortunately, the BLN was able to pivot to meet this new normal by increasing the number of virtual meetings and webinars. Redesigning its programs also helped reinforce for the BLN the importance of being nimble and adaptive.

“Sustaining country engagement during the COVID-19 era originally appeared to be a challenge to the Secretariat. What would normally motivate and bond the member countries, were the annual in-person meetings,” explained Catherine Muyawala, BLN Coordinator. “With the onset of the pandemic it was important to convene consultative meetings with the countries to chart a way forward, plan together, assign roles and responsibilities, and ensure that they assumed ownership of the network. We hope to continue having these virtual meetings regularly – that will keep the Secretariat and the member countries in check of the planned activities.”

A guiding principle for the BLN this year is increasing member ownership and engagement within the peer learning network. To aid in this, the BLN developed an online survey for country governments to indicate their areas of interest. Six main thematic areas of interest surfaced from those discussions:

  • Strengthening primary health care (PHC) data for action;
  • Providing technical support for the implementation of electronic immunization registries (EIRs);
  • Supporting the use of digital health solutions for COVID-19;
  • Facilitating community involvement in PHC;
  • Mobilizing resources for PHC; and
  • Strengthening information sharing.

After the survey, the BLN hosted a virtual meeting to further prioritize country interests and to define the BLN’s strategy for the year ahead.

In order to reach countries who did not have the bandwidth to participate in the survey or planning meeting, the BLN hosted a series of webinars to share country experiences deploying the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The BLN prioritized the COVID-19 pandemic, which all member countries are currently struggling with,” said Muyawala. “As such, we have launched a series of COVID-19 webinars that look at the lessons learned and experiences from member countries with a focus on different perspectives, such as managing the COVID-19 response, vaccine deployment, data management, digital solutions, impact on health care workers, and private sector health facility engagement.”

The first webinar in this series shared lessons from Cameroon, followed by Liberia. Learn about future scheduled webinars on the BLN events page.


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