Saving Mothers, Giving Life Country Ownership and Sustainability Strengths and Weaknesses Compared With Established Success Factors

Success FactorsSummary of Partnership LiteratureSMGL Findings
Country ownership2024Country ownership of partnership activities can strengthen national health policy processes, raise profile of specific health issues, and establish international norms and standards.
Partnerships often fail to address broader health systems issues.
Limited harmonization leads to considerable duplication, emergence of parallel systems, and little alignment between recipient country and partnership priorities.
Parallel budget systems raise concerns of government ownership and sustainability.
SMGL activities were built on national policies/road maps and international best practices.
The partnership reinvigorated commitments to reducing maternal/newborn deaths.
The partnership focused on enhancing district health systems, both public and private, to achieve results.
SMGL built health worker and community capacity to increase demand for and provision of quality maternal and newborn health services.
Rapid startup limited initial government ownership.
Some misalignment between partners and country priorities existed.
Sustainability2529Transition planning is key but not sufficient.
Ensuring financial sustainability is the most challenging aspect of partnerships; it is important to understand the cost of the entire system to be sustained, rather than just commodities.
More studies and indicators to monitor successful transitions from donor-funded programs to country, public, civic, and/or private stakeholders are needed.
SMGL was designed to front-load funding so the MOH and other stakeholders could sustain the efforts.
Communities and some districts were able to mobilize their own resources.
The partnership between the MOHs and SMGL leveraged US$100 million from donors to continue key aspects in the short run.
Partners used its results to advocate with key government stakeholders to sustain SMGL.
While there was a high level of government ownership for SMGL, this did not result in national-level budget increases.
  • Abbreviations: MOH, Ministry of Health; SMGL, Saving Mothers, Giving Life.