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Joint Annual Health Sector Reviews: a review of experience

Field of Expertise:
Health Policy and Governance; Policy, Governance, System; Health Policy / Policy Dialogue / Governance / Legal framework
Narrative description of project:
Joint annual health sector reviews (JARs) were established in the early 1990s as a way to jointly review the implementation of national health sector plans or to assess sector performance and to agree on actions to address constraints in implementation or to improve performance. While there is a resurgence of interest in JARs - as a means to improve coordination, dialogue, accountability and the like - there is also anecdotal evidence of fatigue.
One question is if and how well JARs help Development Partners (DPs) and other stakeholders to align their strategies, plans and activities with national sector priorities and plans. As a key objective of the International Health Partnership (IHP+) is to advance the alignment of international support to national health strategies and plans, the partnership requested a global review of experiences with JARs in low and middle income countries.
Description of services provided:
The study team, familiar with the JARs in a number of countries, reviewed documents covering the country-specific JAR process from its start and conducted telephone interviews with selected key actors at country level who could provide a historic perspective of the JAR. Key informants included mainly MoH, DPs, NGOs and experts. Document review included 9 countries. The final report offered a clear and concise overview of what elements make JARs effective or not and gave a number of recommendations and suggested action steps. The report served as the basis for a guidance note on options for conducting JARs, and as background for a structured discussion at the 4th IHP+ Country Health Teams Meeting in December 2012 in Nairobi, attended by the hera Team Leader. The report was published by IHP+ in 2013.