Accelerating the momentum: U.S. support for women’s and family planning health in Senegal

Senegal’s recent experience offers important lessons for U.S. engagement on women’s and children’s health, including how national leadership and targeted U.S. resources can advance health outcomes. As the largest donor to health in Senegal, the United States should ensure that its investments facilitate ongoing progress in program-specific areas such as immunizations and family planning, while promoting greater integration of services for women and children and elevating attention and resources to address maternal mortality. The U.S. government is well placed to continue its constructive role in women’s and children’s health in Senegal, but the implementation of the new USAID health strategy should be closely monitored and adjusted to ensure positive results. At a time when sustainable financing for women’s and children’s health is being recognized as a global challenge, Senegal’s ability to mobilize domestic, private-sector, and international resources could provide lessons for other countries and for the development of international financing mechanisms.

Senegalese health officials acknowledge that ongoing financial and technical support from the United States and other donors is necessary in the near term, but the country is preparing its health sector to stand on its own later. “We face a double challenge,” Minister Coll Seck reflected. “To maintain what we’ve gained and to identify the gaps . . . and not fall back.” As Senegal moves forward, the United States has a critical role to play in strengthening the country’s capacity while supporting its momentum in improving women’s and children’s health.