Not just your average workshop
The September 24-27, 2012 workshop on “Equity in Universal Health Coverage: How to Reach the Poorest”
As these events go, the workshop on “Equity in Universal Health Coverage: How to Reach the Poorest” hosted last month by the Moroccan Government, the Financial Access to Health Services Community of Practice (FAHS CoP), and the Expanding Coverage Track of the Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN), in Marrakech, Morocco was more than just your average seminar, symposium, convention, round table or even workshop.
Over 90 participants – including country delegations and individuals from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal came together over the course of four days to engage in peer-to-peer learning and to share their experiences in designing, implementing, managing and advocating for programs to improve access to health care for the poorest. Participants left the workshop with renewed commitment to tackling the challenges they face in reaching the poorest, fresh ideas, and new partnerships. Here are just a few ways in which the workshop stood out:
Putting heads together from the start – The workshop’s opening day session included a quiz on country briefs that were shared in a pre-read packet. After introducing themselves to the new faces at their tables, participants quickly formed partnerships to find the right answers. New connections were made already!
A passport challenge – Countries were challenged to have lots of interactions with other workshop participants. Each country delegation was given a “passport” where they could document and earn visas for their exchanges with other workshop participants. A little healthy competition!
Open interactions and discussions with parliamentarians and senior level policy makers – There were few formalities among participants who engaged freely and openly with others.
A responsive organizing committee – Workshop organizers regrouped daily to continuously adapt and structure the workshop to meet participant needs. After observing a session where country delegations were late to break for lunch because they were so deeply engaged in discussion, the committee revisited the workshop agenda to allow for more country discussion opportunities over the following days.
Work on country action plans started on Day 1 – Countries were given a template to help guide discussions around actions they plan to take following the workshop, and were given many opportunities to discuss their plans in small group sessions over the four days of the workshop. The action plans that were shared on the last day of the workshop were not developed in the last hour of the workshop, and reflected careful thinking and prioritization by countries.
Marrakech declaration on access to health care for the poorest – The workshop ended on a personal note, with a call to action for participants to make a personal commitment to improving access to health care for the poorest in Africa. A fun and informal way to allow individuals to express their commitment and to join a community of others of have also expressed their dedication!
Dialogue, knowledge exchange and learning, community, connections, platform for action – these are some of the words that best describe the Marrakech workshop on equity in universal health coverage.