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    080967

    Assuring health sector policy reforms in Africa: the role of non-project assistance.

    Foltz AM

    [Unpublished] 1992. Presented at the 120th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association [APHA], Washington, D.C., November 8-12, 1992. 27, [1] p.

    In the mid 1980s, USAID started nonproject assistance, mainly in the economic sectors, to African countries. The countries received nonproject assistance after they fulfilled conditions which influence institutional and/or policy reforms. The longest running health sector reform program in Africa was in Niger and was slated to receive portions of the funds after fulfilling 6 specific predetermined reform activities. Yet, between 1986 and 1991, Niger had implemented only 2 of them. It did accomplish the population/family planning reforms: expansion of family planning services, a national population policy, analyses and implementation of improvements in the pricing and distribution of contraceptives, and legalization of use and distribution of contraceptives. Continuing economic deterioration during the 1980s and political upheavals after 1989 somewhat explained why the other reform activities were not implemented. Other equally important factors were a very complex sector grant design (more than 20 reforms in 6 policy/institutional areas) with little incentive to realize the reforms, insufficient number of staff (limited to senior personnel) to implement the reforms, and just 1 USAID staff to monitor and facilitate activities. The nonproject assistance for the primary health care (PHC) system in Nigeria had a simpler design than that in Niger. The reform goals were shifting responsibility for PHC from curative care to preventive health services. After USAID and the Nigerian government signed an agreement, they included policy reforms promoting privatization of health services. Only 1 reform was implemented. Factors which could lead to success of nonproject assistance include host government needs to perceive it owns the objectives and building financial and institutional sustainability. In conclusion, nonproject assistance can be effective when implementing policy reforms that the host government has already adopted.
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