THE FRENCH MUSKOKA FUND IS CELEBRATING ITS 10TH THIS YEAR.
As France’s contribution to the commitments for maternal and child health made by the G8 countries in 2010 in Muskoka, Canada (after which it was named), this effective partnership relies on the complementary expertise of four United Nations agencies: UN Women, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO.
Its rare longevity can be explained by its innovative approach, its ability to adapt to the local context, and above all by the results it has achieved in reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health as well as nutrition – as many issues that are at the center of France’s development strategy.
This initiative also contributes to the implementation of the “great cause” of France’s diplomacy: equality between women and men.
The French Muskoka Fund implements “high-impact interventions” (whose effectiveness has been carefully reviewed and which help leveraging the impact of national policies) in nine countries of Central and West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. In line with the 2030 Agenda and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Youth Health (2016-2030), this partnership aims at achieving sustainable results through a multi-sectoral approach and health systems strengthening (including community health systems).
The French Muskoka Fund supports its beneficiaries in both urban and rural areas throughout their life cycle: from pregnant women and mothers to newborns, children, adolescents and youth. In 10 years, this inclusive approach has allowed the French Muskoka Fund to achieve significant results.
As example, more than 70,000 health workers have been trained; infant and child mortality has decreased by more than 30%; the rate of births attended by qualified personnel has increased from 50 to 70% in Côte d’Ivoire; and 1.6 million children have been treated for malaria, diarrhea and respiratory infections in Guinea.
The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the resilience of health systems in West and Central Africa. More than 300,000 cases have been officially diagnosed since March 2020 – affecting many health workers and there are probably many more. There has also been a sharp decline in the use of health care services. As example, children’s consultations for infectious diseases have declined by 25% in Senegal. To limit the impact of the pandemic and help maintain essential services for women, children and adolescents, the French Muskoka Fund is supporting governments with innovative responses, such as in Niger where mobile teams (midwives, nurses and gynecologists) are being deployed to decentralize pre- and post-natal care, or in Chad where community health workers have been helping monitor women victims of gender-based violence. Funding dedicated to health systems strengthening has also been increased and now accounts for a quarter of the Fund’s budget.
France is convinced that this partnership is a relevant response to the challenges of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health and nutrition in West and Central Africa. This is why the French Muskoka Fund was showcased throughout the Generation Equality Forum organized in Paris in July 2021, and especially under the Action Coalition on sexual and reproductive health and rights. France has also renewed its commitment by extending its 10 million Euro financial contribution for another five years (until 2026). The Fund itself has committed to investing more in the development of edutainment tools to act on social norms and to accompany behavioral changes in a sustainable and equitable manner – capitalizing on the successful initiative «C’est La Vie!/That’s Life’’ (a TV and radio show that it is produced and broadcast in local languages throughout West and central Africa). I therefore wish a long life to the French Muskoka Fund, encourage all its actors to continue their efforts, and thank them for contributing to improving the health and wellbeing of the populations in West and Central Africa by providing more equitable life opportunities to all women and their newborns.
Director of Sustainable Development
Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs
BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE MUSKOKA FRENCH FUND
Since 2011, the French Muskoka Fund has been working to improve the health and well-being of women, newborns, children and adolescents in nine countries of West and Central Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Chad and Togo.
Its creation responds to France’s commitment, at the G8 summit in Muskoka, Canada, in June 2010, to strengthen its contribution to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (SRMNIA). , nutrition and the empowerment of women in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on improving maternal health and reducing child mortality.
The French Muskoka Fund acts by mobilizing the comparative advantages and complementary expertise of four United Nations agencies: the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Women, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Fund for United Nations for Children (UNICEF).
The Muskoka Funds have gone a long way in improving accessibility and access to care. Accessibility in relation to the construction and equipment of certain infrastructures. Access to care in relation to the availability of inputs and drugs.
Dr Rabi Maitourna – Member of Parliament, National Assembly, Niger
In terms of progress, I would say that there is better coordination between the agencies of the United Nations System. The French Funds have made it possible to build the capacities of actors in the field, to better understand high-impact interventions and to strengthen the availability of products of vital importance for mothers and children.
Dr Geneviève Saki-Nekouressi– Former WHO Mother-Child Programs Advisor, Ivory Coast
Truly, this French Muskoka Fund has contributed greatly to the acceleration of indicators of the impacts of maternal and neonatal mortality.
Dr Amadou Doucouré – Director of Maternal and Child Health, Ministry of Health and Social Action, Senegal
With the tablets and modules in it, it allowed us to be trained, especially me and the midwives on how to do newborn resuscitation, to lower newborn mortality rates.
Matron, M’Pessoba Health Center, Mali
The French Muskoka Fund has real added value in all aspects of its interventions:
The French Muskoka Fund is a model for implementing the “One UN” reform, which aims to improve collaboration between the various United Nations agencies, with the objective of improving consistency, efficiency and impact programs implemented:
– a set of high impact interventions (IHI) based on the complementarity and technical expertise of each of the four agencies;
– joint monitoring and reporting of activities, results and financial execution;
– mobilization of other technical and financial partners;
– common documentation of interesting practices.
The French Muskoka Fund develops interventions adapted to each of the key target populations and acts on the determinants of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.
The French Muskoka Fund aligns its interventions with the sectoral strategies of the United Nations, in particular the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Teenagers’ Health (2016-2030) and the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ), and ensures that its programs are part of the national plans of the target countries.
The French Muskoka Fund benefits from a secure multi-year budgetary allocation for its interventions, making it possible to implement ambitious interventions with the desire to achieve long-term results.
The mechanisms of rapid disbursement, monitoring and tight reporting reinforce the financial stability of the Fund.
Beyond organizational constraints, the French Muskoka Fund must find a way to respond to three main challenges:
changing demographic context
changing demographic context
In addition to the instability of the political, security, economic, social and climatic environment in which the teams operate, the French Muskoka Fund must contend with the weight of socio-cultural determinants, strong demographic growth and low national budgets allocated by governments.
The multiplication of partners
The multiplication of partners
The growing number of technical and financial partners involved in maternal, newborn and child health in target countries increasingly poses the challenge of coordination in order to avoid the fragmentation of interventions and the achievement of sub-optimal results. As such, coordination with AFD in particular should be strengthened.
The financial perspective
The financial perspective
In a perspective of evolution and growth, the French Muskoka Fund must explore other funding opportunities.