Morocco is one of the newest member countries of the EU-Luxembourg-WHO Universal Health Coverage Partnership (UHC Partnership), which it formally joined in the UHC Partnership’s third phase in 2016.
“In order to develop a country roadmap for the UHC Partnership and define activities over the next three years, WHO experts organized a mission in 2016”, explained Dr. Sanaa Cherqaoui, head of the Division of Cooperation at the Ministry of Health.
Early discussions with the Ministry of Health had made the healthcare system’s main challenges clear, and served to pinpoint three priority areas of work. These priority areas – governance, financing, and human resources for health – were explored in detail during the 2016 mission, according to Dr. Hafid Hachri, Health Systems Coordinator at the WHO Country Office.
With these three pillars established, the goal of the UHC Partnership in Morocco is to strengthen health systems governance and to support the ministry as it moves towards universal health coverage.
“The implementation of innovative work under the UHC Partnership will require both technical support from WHO and leadership from the Ministry of Health, in order to achieve intended results”, explained Dr. Cherqaoui.
For instance, the UHC Partnership plans to mobilize technical expertise to conduct a study of job satisfaction among healthcare professionals. “We want to measure the level of satisfaction and commitment among healthcare professionals, and then suggest measures to improve these”, says Dr. Hachri. The results of the landmark study will be presented and discussed during a national debate session, with public- and private-sector stakeholders, unions, and other health system partners. They will contribute to the development of a new national human resources for health strategy.
On the topic of governance, the UHC Partnership will further support Morocco’s efforts at decentralization. “We are building the capacity of our regional directorates to support decentralization in the health sector”, says Dr. Cherqaoui. The new role of the Ministry of Health’s central administration will focus on governance and arbitration, bolstering the country’s 12 health regions as they strengthen their performance.
On financing, the gradual trend towards strategic purchasing of services will be a key axis of the country’s health financing reforms towards universal health coverage. The UHC Partnership will help Morocco examine options beyond its current strategy; through a series of technical meetings with health partners, various alignment scenarios will be debated for more strategic purchasing.
Lastly, the UHC Partnership is encouraging greater synchronization between the various stakeholders in the health system, to the general benefit of the Ministry of Health. “This initiative is an excellent tool for coordination and advocacy with other partners”, Dr. Hachri concludes.