The Health Policy Project has ended, but work continues under a new USAID five-year project, Health Policy Plus (HP+).
Sustainable VMMC programs: They Didn’t Mean To!
NEWS & VIEWS
MELBOURNE, Australia--Dr. Dino Rech of the Centre for HIV and AIDS Prevention Studies (CHAPS), a regional NGO based in South Africa, told participants at the International AIDS Economists Network (IAEN) pre-conference about how USAID’s shift from a cooperative agreement to a fixed-fee contract helped push his organization closer to sustainability – “but, they didn’t mean to!”
When USAID decided to support efforts in South Africa to expand voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) though a fixed-price contract with local groups rather than the more traditional cooperative agreement, some traditional partners reacted negatively. Eventually the South African groups came together to establish a standard price for such services. In principle, the well-known advantages of fixed fee contracts include introducing market efficiencies and a lower unit cost for services. But another result from setting up a fixed-price contract was unexpected.
In implementing the project as part of the team awarded the contract, CHAPS was efficient enough to complete the work with carry-over funds. This surplus allowed CHAPS to bid on other tenders in the region. Although still disadvantaged, relative to better-funded international NGOs, this move to a contract had the unexpected side effect of moving CHAPS closer to long-term sustainability.
In short, CHAPS supported the USAID Forward strategy of more local involvement—but it didn’t mean to!
For more information on the Health Policy Project’s work on country ownership, see http://www.healthpolicyproject.com/index.cfm?id=topics-CountryOwnership
For information on HPP’s work on male circumcision, see http://www.healthpolicyproject.com/index.cfm?ID=VMMCPlos
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