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  Issue no. 45 | November 2021  
  BACKUP Newsletter  
Stakeholder workshop in Tanzania on building resilient health systems
  Quarterly news on our work with national and international partners
GIZ – Division Economic and Social Development, Digitalisation
  Dear partners and colleagues,

BACKUP Health is a global programme funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and has co-financing agreements with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and Expertise France.

Since 2002, BACKUP has assisted partner countries worldwide in using the funding opportunities of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to greater advantage. The mandate for BACKUP’s current project phase has been broadened. In addition to GFATM, BACKUP can now also consider requests for support for other funding mechanisms such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF).

This newsletter offers regular updates on our work with national and international partners. Please share this information with interested colleagues and partners.

Eschborn, 18 November 2021

The BACKUP Health team (
» Strengthening health systems to meet the demand
» BACKUP supports COVID-19 vaccination training in Malawi
» AntiCOVID-19: Trainings for Healthcare Workers
» BACKUP’s increasing support for vaccine production in Africa
» New BACKUP factsheet
» Update on BACKUP’s co-financing agreement with FCDO
» Working together in building resilient health systems – stakeholder workshop in Tanzania
» BACKUP Health stakeholder workshop in Uganda
» Aligning partner support on health financing for universal health coverage (UHC)
» Capacity building in health financing policy in Mozambique
Further recommended reading
  Strengthening health systems to meet the demand  
  Read more about the main shifts in BACKUP’s current project phase, which runs from 2020 to 2023, and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on BACKUP’s technical support and the implementation of this phase:  
BACKUP supports COVID-19 vaccination training in Malawi
Vaccination training Machinga
Vaccination training Machinga
In collaboration with the Malawi German Health Programme, BACKUP Health supported vaccination training courses in two districts of Malawi, Balaka and Machinga. The training has equipped healthcare workers with the knowledge and skills required to create demand for the vaccines, to administer them and to monitor and manage any side effects. Healthcare workers were also trained to report vaccinations using paper-based and electronic data systems. A total of 114 nurses, clinicians and health surveillance assistants underwent training.
Many healthcare workers reported misconceptions and fears around vaccinations in the communities they serve. Outreach and information campaigns are likely to be necessary to generate demand for vaccinations.
Contact: Dominic Likongwe (
AntiCOVID-19: Trainings for Healthcare Workers
Training for healthcare workers
Training for healthcare workers
50 trainings for healthcare workers on biosafety and preparedness for COVID-19 in laboratories in Bishkek city, in Chui, Naryn and Issyk-Kul regions of Kyrgyzstan conducts the National Reference Laboratory with the support of the global BACKUP Health project. Find more information in the following video: PPoP Trainings_EN.mp4
BACKUP’s increasing support for vaccine production in Africa
The worldwide expansion of vaccine production capacities is an essential element in supporting global prevention efforts and the control of epidemics and pandemics. On behalf of the German Government, BACKUP Health is implementing a Vaccine Production component designed to improve the framework conditions for vaccine production on the African continent.
At the level of the African Union (AU), GIZ is supporting the Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing, which aims to bring partners together and enhance capacity to increase vaccine production on the continent; it is also promoting the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization Initiative at the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), which focuses on regulatory frameworks for medicines and vaccines and on harmonising guidelines and requirements in the AU. Furthermore, it will help strengthen the eco-system of local vaccine production and the mRNA Hub in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the Medicines Patent Pool. In addition to promoting capacity development, education and training of specialists in the field of vaccinology, BACKUP also contributes analytical inputs, such as a market-shaping paper, to the global discussion.
Read more: Paper on market shaping and market access in the global vaccines market – Approaches for the future (2021), PDF, 0.46MB
Contact: Dr Sabine Flessenkämper (
  New BACKUP factsheet  
  BACKUP Health - implementing global health financing: English, French  
Update on BACKUP’s co-financing agreement with FCDO
The co-financing agreement with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) covers six African countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. FCDO secondments are strengthening the GIZ teams in these countries. We interviewed Louise Robinson, Senior Health Advisor, FCDO, and secondee to BACKUP Tanzania:
Louise, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in the north of England. I am a keen football fan and support Liverpool.
I have spent the majority of the last 30 years living and working on the Africa continent. I have worked for grassroots organisations, international NGOs, the UN and the UK Government (in humanitarian and development settings).
My partner is a humanitarian adviser and works for FCDO as well. We met in Namibia in 1992 and have four children. Our family base in the UK is in a rural coastal area of Wales.
What are the past positions that you have held and the different contexts you have worked in?
I have worked for the Department for International Development (DFID) and now FCDO since 2005 in a variety of positions in different countries, mainly in Africa. I began as a health adviser but subsequently managed a range of human and social development portfolios in several countries, including Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Sierra Leone.
My posts have been quite varied, covering everything from caring for drug users in a prison hospital wing while completing my master’s degree, to supporting refugees in Turkey/Iraq, to providing private secretary cover in the DFID Secretary of State’s office.
My earliest work experience was HIV related. I worked on HIV in the UK in the early stages of the pandemic in the 1980s, and my first overseas post was in Uganda in 1990, working with a newly established African NGO that focused on AIDS. Working for this indigenous grassroots NGO was humbling and inspiring, and I learned so much!
I am looking forward to going back to my roots in this new role and to catching up on the latest developments with AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (and COVID) and continuing to learn from GIZ’s experience with BACKUP.
What has been your most challenging role so far?
All my roles have been challenging in one way or another (including being a parent), so I should probably focus on recent work. In 2020, I worked 50/50 in two newly established FCDO teams – the FCDO Science cell, and the vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics team. These were high-profile teams covering fast-moving agendas linked to COVID-19. There were often long hours, particularly up to October 2020 as we worked closely with colleagues in the global health arena supporting international efforts to tackle the pandemic.
What are your thoughts on your new position as secondee with GIZ BACKUP Health in Tanzania?
I am really excited to be working with GIZ and to be in Tanzania. I have worked alongside many excellent GIZ personnel in previous posts and have been impressed by GIZ programmes. I have lived and worked in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar for short periods before, but this is my first time being based in Dar es Salaam. I am looking forward to being back in East Africa and in Tanzania, and to meeting and working with colleagues across the other five countries. I hope to learn a lot and contribute as much as possible over the coming two years.
Contact: Louise Robinson (
Working together in building resilient health systems – stakeholder workshop in Tanzania
Stakeholder workshop in Tanzania on building resilient health systems
Stakeholder workshop in Tanzania on building resilient health systems
BACKUP Health Tanzania organised a stakeholder workshop in Morogoro, near Dar es Salaam. The workshop was chaired by the Tanzania National Coordinating Mechanism; Mr Kasper Mmuya, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office, was invited as guest of honour.
The workshop brought together stakeholders from the government, civil society and development partners, with some attending virtually, to discuss findings of a needs assessment conducted in the second quarter of 2021 and to forge a way forward for the successful implementation of BACKUP Health in Tanzania. BACKUP’s mission has been shared with the stakeholders, who valued the programme’s demand-driven approach as critical to the success of the designed measures and, more importantly, for realising the partner country’s strategic plans.
The needs assessment had two main objectives: to identify and analyse the needs and challenges with respect to health systems strengthening in Tanzania, and to identify and prioritise areas that BACKUP Health could support. One of the findings was that although global financing mechanisms support key national priorities, their impact could be enhanced by full alignment and integration into existing systems and processes (e.g. the Health Basket Fund, the Direct Health Facility Financing and the Facility Financial Accounting and Reporting System) and by increasing civil society engagement in the national platforms.
Mr Kaspar Mmuya acknowledged the partners’ contribution and support towards improving the quality of health services in Tanzania. He also referred to the recent efforts made by President Samia Suluhu towards opening the doors for potential collaboration with different development partners to improve the health sector in the country. He confirmed that both the Government of Tanzania and the Prime Minister’s Office fully support the GIZ BACKUP Health initiative.
Reflecting on the workshop, most participants felt that it was an excellent start to a fruitful partnership with BACKUP Health.
The end of the workshop marked the beginning of further bilateral cooperation with different stakeholders for health system strengthening in Tanzania.
Contact: Dismas Damian (
BACKUP Health stakeholder workshop in Uganda
The first hybrid consultative meeting was held in Kampala with different stakeholders to share and discuss the results of BACKUP’s needs assessment earlier in the year with a view to jointly identifying and agreeing on potential priority areas for BACKUP support in the coming years. Among the attendees were participants from Uganda’s Ministry of Health, multilateral organisations, development and implementing partners, the Country Coordinating Mechanism and representatives of civil society.
Dr Sarah Byakika, Commissioner of Health Policy, Planning and Financing, provided some opening remarks acknowledging the progress that has been made in Uganda concerning the joint efforts of different stakeholders in the country to fight malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Mr Andrew Musoke, Chairman of the CCM Board, commented on the importance of the collective work by the Ugandan Government, the Global Fund (GF), civil society and other multilateral partners in the fight against the three diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on this progress but at the same time has highlighted relevant areas of opportunity within the health system.
The highlight of the day was the presentation of the results of the needs assessment by the consultant Dr John Mwesigwa. The needs assessment aimed to determine the need for technical assistance in Uganda and the opportunities for BACKUP Health to provide relevant support. The areas of the institutional health landscape that were analysed were Leadership and Governance of the Health Sector, Health Sector Financing and its Challenges, Funding from Global Fund, Health Service Provision, and National Coordination of GFATM. The report highlighted the challenges and opportunities in coordinating activities between the Ministry of Health and the Country Coordinating Mechanism. Recommendations were made regarding institutional strengthening at both national and decentralised levels.
In his concluding remarks, the BACKUP team leader observed that the results of the needs assessment had given BACKUP a clearer sense of the needs in the country and that it would now be necessary to analyse what fits into the scope of the project.
Contact: Peter Asiimwe (
Aligning partner support on health financing for universal health coverage (UHC)
Under the Sustainable Financing for Health Accelerator (SFHA) of the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being, Gavi, the Global Fund, the World Health Organization, the World Bank/GFF, the International Labour Organization and GIZ are committed to improving alignment of financial and technical support; they support implementation of a joint health financing agenda. To promote these efforts, the global SFHA group of experts is collaborating with the P4H network to better equip in-country focal persons to effectively support alignment.
The kick-off meeting for this joint work programme, Aligning Partner Support on Health Financing for UHC, took place on 28 September 2021 and was attended by all the agencies involved and P4H country focal points. This marks the start of a community of practice that is geared towards ensuring greater understanding of instruments and processes of different agencies and towards identifying ways of ensuring better collaboration at country level.
Contact: Meike Henge (, Thorsten Behrendt (
Capacity building in health financing policy in Mozambique
Training session on health financing policy, Mozambique
Training session on health financing policy, Mozambique
The health financing component of BACKUP supports the P4H network, focused on health financing for universal health coverage. The network particularly focuses on promoting links between institutions and partners and on enhancing local capacities.
With this objective, a series of training sessions on health financing policy have been held in 2021 to improve the technical capacity of Ministry of Health staff. The three sessions covered some of the key topics in health financing policy:
1. Universal health coverage (UHC): objectives, indicators and international comparison
2. Health financing functions: benefit package design, raising revenues, pooling and purchasing
3. Social health insurance: characteristics, evidence and implications for Mozambique
These training sessions are planned to continue in 2022 and are co-funded by Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).
Contact: Cristina Manzanares (
  Further recommended reading  
Global Fund Observer: Independent newsletter about the Global Fund provided by Aidspan to over 7,000 subscribers in 170 countries.
Healthy DEvelopments: Germany’s commitment to health and social protection
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