This morning, I had the privilege to meet with leaders from  Global Health Initiative (GHI) “Plus” countries: Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Nepal and Rwanda.

I was joined by Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control, and Ambassador Eric Goosby, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, to discuss how U.S. global health programs will partner with countries to save more lives and do so in a sustainable and efficient manner.

I focused on three of our key objectives: increasing country ownership so that the U.S. is aligned with country health goals; investing in sustainable systems to create a lasting effect on the health of citizens regardless of future disease initiatives; and fostering innovation from vaccine research to trials of new technologies such as microbicides to ensuring that cost-effective and game changing approaches and technologies are being used effectively on the ground.

Countries are at the leading edge of health in development. And as GHI implementation and learning accelerates, we want host country leaders to share lessons and best practices with the entire global health community.

David Mphande, the Malawi’s Health Minister, outlined a serious challenge in his country: every day, 16 women in Malawi die in childbirth because they would have to walk 10 miles or more to reach a clinic or skilled worker.  GHI’s approach will emphasize reaching women and children with health services through training community health workers and engaging community leaders.

Karin Slowing Umaña, Secretary of State for Planning and Programming of Guatemala, noted it would be difficult to meet ambitious targets for improved health outcomes without a strengthened health system.

Richard Sezibera, Minister of Health of Rwanda, told us that Rwanda’s various donors require them to report on more than 650 health indicators.  We are already looking at how we can reduce the reporting demands from the U.S. governments and will coordinate with other donors so that Rwanda can use its resources to oversee its health care, not prepare endless reports.

This morning’s conversation will continue as we work with partner countries to identify greater efficiencies to improve the lives of more people.