The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Friday, May 2

so many words, so little clarity

Company Abt Associates, Inc.
Award $10 million
Agency USAID
Date of RFP March 3, 2003
Date of Award April 30, 2003
Nature of work Public health. Health System Strengthening in Post-conflict Iraq. Support to the Iraqi Ministry of Health to coordinate and report on health activities.

Abt Associates provides a description of their focus in assisting post-war Iraq.
Abt Associates' efforts will focus on the six essential components of the health system: service delivery, health surveillance, health services management, the health workforce, health delivery infrastructure, and assessing the demand for health services. The project will be implemented in two phases. The first phase — immediate post-conflict — involves rapid assessment, stabilization and basic reconstruction in order to assure service delivery to vulnerable groups. The second phase — pre-development — involves capacity strengthening of Iraqi health system providers in order to re-establish Iraqi management of the health system and ensure sustainability.
But we here at bpost are somewhat mystified as to the exact purpose of this particular contract. We readily admit that we have no experience in the public health sector. However, our understanding to date is the primary weakness within the Iraqi medical system is one of lack. They lack supplies, equipment, and suffer a shortage of professional staff. Most of these shortages are due to a) war and b) 12 years of sanctions.

The USAID press release does not help to clarify what Abt Associates role will be either.
The 'Health System Strengthening Contract' will support Iraqi-led initiatives in meeting the health needs of the population. Assistance will include supporting a reformed Iraqi Ministry of Health (MOH) at the national, regional and local levels as well as delivering health services, providing medical equipment and supplies, training and recruiting health staff, providing health education and information, and determining the specific needs of the health sector and vulnerable populations such as women and children.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research and consulting firm will coordinate with international organizations, including USAID awardees such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), that are
already working within the health, water, and sanitation sectors.
But, we think there may be a clue in this one sentence from the USAID:
Under the terms of the contract, Abt Associates Inc. will have the flexibility to provide rapid response grants to civil society to address specific health needs in Iraq.
Bpost believes Abt Associates' primary role will be that of a granting agency.

If this is the case, why couldn't the USAID just say so?


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