The Health Partnership Group (HPG) is a high-level policy dialogue in the health sector established in 2004 with the aim to improve the overall effectiveness of development cooperation in the health sector. Attended by the Ministry of Health (MOH), other government ministries, selected provinces, Development Partners including embassies, bilateral and multi-lateral development cooperation agencies, the United Nations, development banks, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), research institutes and private sector, HPG is recognized as the primary forum for developing trust, building common understanding and facilitating progress towards common systems and ways of working in the health sector.
Upon the signing of the Paris Declaration in 2005 and the reaffirmation in the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) in 2008, international community has shown growing attention in aid effectiveness. In Vietnam, the government and its development partners have demonstrated great commitment to the principles outlined in Paris and in Accra through the Hanoi Core Statement (HCS) as a localized version of the Paris Declaration. As a prompt action of the health sector on this, the Health Partnership Group (HPG) which was established in 2004, was boosted with regular activities since 2009, in order to facilitate the implementation of internationally agreed principles on development cooperation effectiveness in the health sector in Vietnam.
The ultimate goal of the Health Partnership Group (HPG) is to enhance the impact of development cooperation on the health of the Vietnamese people by forging an effective, efficient and meaningful collaboration in health.
As an over-arching coordination forum for the health sector, the role of the HPG is to coordinate policy dialogue, facilitate communication between MOH, development partners, provinces and stakeholders to better harmonize financial and technical support, and to ensure that these are closely aligned with government policies, strategies, plans and priorities.
As such, HPG commits to:
• Optimize overall effectiveness and efficiency of development cooperation in the health sector
• Optimize donor coordination and transparency, reduce duplication and fragmentation in the development cooperation in the health sector
• Promote a multi-sectoral approach to achieving health goals that involve the government, development partners, INGOs and private sector.
In order to support the operation of the HPG, the HPG Secretariatwas created under the leadership of the MOH with the International Cooperation Department (ICD) as the focal point. The HPG Secretariat is financially and technicallysupportted by various Development partners, mainly EU Delegation, WHO, GTZ, JICA and potentially UNFPA and UNICEF.
The key activity of HPG is organizing HPG Meetings, including:
► HPG Quarterly Meetings: organized on a quarterly basis, attended by all HPG members to update on the progress, discuss the shared concerns and work on action plan to put forward the commitments into practice. These meetings are chaired and co-chaired at the Ministerial and Ambassadorial level.
►HPG Provincial Meetings: organized outside of Hanoi annually in order to bring the government and development partners closer to local levels and also increase the engagement of provinces in the HPG.
►MOH & INGO Forum: organized biannually/annually in order to strengthen the linkage among the Government, Development Partners with International Non-governmental Organizations who work in the health sector.
Besides HPG Meetings, fieldtrips and research are also a part of HPG activities. They are conducted to respond to Milestone 7 and Milestone 3 of the VHPD.
For more than 10 years of operation, as the leading partnership forum in the health sector, the HPG has proved its role in engaging the government, development partners and other sectors for health. So far, along with the Ministry of Health, there have been about 45 development partners and more than 150 INGOs participating in the HPG, and the number is increasing with more participation from private sector and other sectors.
Through HPG, strategies, policies, plans and priorities of the health sector are shared and discussed among stakeholders, such as the Five-year Health Sector Development Plans in the period 2010 – 2020-part of which was developed based on the consultation and recommendations of development partners and stakeholders through HPG meetings and JAHR consultation; and issues of interest and concerns of the sector, which are considered as valuable inputs for policy making process.
• Since 2009 until now, HPG has conducted more than 30 Quarterly meetings, 3 meetings between MOH and INGOs (MOH & INGO Forum) in 2010, 2014 and 2016, and 3 provincial meetings in Nghe An (2013), Yen Bai (2015) and Lao Cai (2016). From those meetings, policy recommendations and orientation and priorities of the health sector, as well as effective cooperation modes are brought forward.
• HPG has facilitated the establishment of Technical Working Groups (TWGs) to provide technical support coordination and policy recommendations for a number of areas of the health sector. Currently there are 10 TWGs under HPG.
• HPG has developed databases on the support of DPs and INGOs for the health sector, such as the Matrix on DP support and the DP/INGO online database, which will help to maximize the impact of their support and to ensure the transparency, alignment, harmonization, complementarily and predictability of health development cooperation.
• HPG has supported the production of studies/researches on different topics relating to effective development cooperation, which contributed to policy making process.