Local Afghan Organization Awarded Grant to Expand Health Services

Ministry of Public Health announces a new performance-based approach for partnership agreements with local Afghan and international organizations

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (JULY 9, 2002) — The Ministry of Public Health and Management Sciences for Health today awarded Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance (CHA), a local Afghan organization, the first grant in a series that aims to expand health services to underserved communities throughout Afghanistan. A ceremony was held at the CHA Art Gallery, where Dr. Fahim, Director of International Relations at the Ministry of Public Health, presented the award. The program featured representatives from USAID, Management Sciences for Health, CHA and MoPH.

"Today we are here to inaugurate this new performance-based partnership agreement mechanism to channel donor resources to service providers by announcing the first grant. We are very pleased that many of our international donor partners are interested in using this kind of mechanism in the future," said Dr. Fahim. "The first grant will be made to CHA, to extend access to basic health services in the western districts of Herat - Ghurian district, Zendeh Jan district and Kohsan district."

CHA will use the financial and in-kind support provided through the Performance-based Partnership Agreement (PPA) to improve and expand health services, primarily for women and children. The Primary Health Care Services Project aims to train 30 new Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) and 30 new Village Health Volunteers (VHV). In addition, the project will re-train 50 TBAs and 50 VHVs. CHA aims to reach 150,000 beneficiaries in underserved districts of Herat.

Afghanistan's history of war and instability has had detrimental effects on the countries health infrastructure and the health of Afghan women, men and children. One out of every four children dies of preventable causes before the age of five. One woman dies every half hour due to pregnancy-related causes. With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Public Health, Management Sciences for Health is implementing a quick-impact PPA program to distribute approximately $2 million USD to local Afghan and international organizations. This performance-based mechanism, will promote cooperation among public, private and NGO agencies. Developed within MoPH guidelines, it creates an open and transparent process for insuring that every part of Afghanistan will have the opportunity to access basic health services.

In this initial phase, Management Sciences for Health is receiving grant applications and is selecting grantees in consultation with the Ministry. Priority for funding is given to Afghan and international NGOs currently providing primary health care to women and children in underserved areas. Funded activities will include training of community health workers, with an emphasis on women; expanding access to a basic package of services to areas lacking or with few health services; and management strengthening of Afghan NGOs to plan, implement, and monitor health services. Currently, 10 applications are under consideration for funding.