Quality, Equity and Dignity: partners agree a “big tent” approach for action

Close to 20 members of the Quality, Equity, Dignity (QED) Advocacy Working Group met for a two-day strategy meeting in Geneva hosted by PMNCH. It was the first time that QED partners have met face- to- face and the meeting provided an opportunity to do several things; review QED terms of reference and group progress to date; identify priorities and key “rally” moments in 2018; define and agree relationship between QED related platforms and approach to country-level work.

Kristy Kade, WRA and Thiago Luchesi, Save the Children moderate meeting
Kristy Kade, WRA and Thiago Luchesi, Save the Children moderate meeting.

On the first day of the meeting, QED partners joined a parallel orientation session on PMNCH work planning in the morning. Groups then broke off into “deep dive” sessions which included one on QED. Betsy McCallon, White Ribbon Alliance and co-founder of QED led the discussions with an overview of the history, objectives and key relationships of QED and links with the Quality of Care network (QoC). She explained reasons that drove the conception of the working group saying, “the advocacy working group was formed to respond to what was seen as an issue to unite the community and to rally behind.”

A video presentation from Margaret Kruk, Chair of the Lancet Global Health Commission on High Quality Health Systems in the SDG Era, helped situate the discussion with a definition of “quality” and a call for action. She said, “It is time for a quality revolution, supported by evidence but led by people. We will not reach the Sustainable Development Goals without it, and we certainly won’t have the care that people deserve.“

During the two-days, members of the advocacy working group debated the concept of QED as a “big tent” approach to working, with key stakeholders brought into the movement. They considered ways in which to reach healthcare professionals as well bring country actors and community level networks to the table. They reviewed opportunities for QED and areas for alignment with other networks such as the Quality of Care Network (QoC), ENAP/ EPMM reproductive and child health networks, as well as other health-enabling networks. Discussion revolved around the terms of reference for the group including ensuring a balance across QED with a focus on all three areas, not just exclusively on quality.

Blerta Maliqi, WHO gives an overview of the Qoc Network
Blerta Maliqi, WHO gives an overview of the Qoc Network.

The group also reviewed tools for action such as advocacy toolkits, scorecards and messaging, pointing out the need to identify champions and tailor different messages for each audience. It was agreed that the voice piece in the QED strategy was missing and would be key to influencing at the political level through citizens’ consultations and campaigns. There was a consensus on the need for alignment across all the QED groups with suggestions that the advocacy working group be responsible for overall advocacy for QED including from the ENAP and EPMM perspective The group also felt it was the right time for a joint advocacy and communication strategy which would outline the ask; be it political commitments, financial support, accountability etc.

The final part of the meeting saw the group focus on some practical aspects of taking the work forward. There was an initial agreement on roles and responsibilities for the three streams of work and a quick vote on key moments to leverage on the calendar in 2018.

Betsy McCallon, WRA leads the group in outlining preliminary key advocacy moments
Betsy McCallon, WRA leads the group in outlining preliminary key advocacy moments.

At the end of the two-days, a consensus was reached with clear results and delineation of three work streams, namely:

  • QED country coalition building in QoC Network countries using Malawi as a model with work to be initiated at the PMNCH Board in December;
  • voice/demand and social accountability for QED campaigns building on existing partner campaigns to generate and showcase the demand from local communities for QED; and
  • development of a joint QoC Network and QED communications and advocacy strategy including a joint toolkit with message map.