Component 3: Increasing Community Partnerships for Primary Health Care

USAID/PHCPI believes that client-centered care is fundamental to the delivery of high quality health services and to patient safety. The project’s approach to building effective community participation will directly align with the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Five Year Strategic Plan which underscores community participation in health service delivery as a means to expand access to critical health services, especially for underserved and vulnerable populations, and reduce morbidity and mortality. USAID/PHCPI will work with partners at the district and clinic levels to ensure that communities are involved in the design of effective partnership structures and will develop guidelines for community participation in PHC clinic services. While much of our outreach will be directly to citizens/patients, USAID/PHCPI will work with local civil society organizations and NGOs to engage communities in designing and delivering healthcare services to meet their needs. As part of the community-driven response, healthcare committees at facility and district levels will be established to seek community inputs. These committees will engage women and civic leaders, representatives from marginalized communities and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other civic groups to broaden their participation in PHC. The Community Partnership component focuses on:

Developing a National Statement of Patient Rights

USAID/PHCPI will work closely with the MoH to implement a Patient’s Rights Charter for primary healthcare, closely tailored to the Iraqi context and including broad participation from MoH, the Ministry of Human Rights, Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Universities and Medical Colleges, the Health and Environment Committees in Parliament, clinic managers and patients’ rights national experts. The statement will be designed to be easily accessible and comprehensible to the general public and will emphasize rights to services as well as preventative care and access to user-friendly health information and education. The project team will work with provincial and district partners to roll out the Charter as a tool for increasing patient’s participation in the design and delivery of health services.

Fostering Behavioral Change Communication (BCC)

Working closely with the MoH, USAID/PHCPI will develop a strategy for BCC with the goal of raising awareness among individuals and service providers to encourage the adoption of healthy behavioral patterns in order to prevent disease and reduce risks of morbidity and mortality. USAID/PHCPI will utilize public awareness campaigns and other channels of communication (brochures, TV, media, print materials, focus group discussions) to disseminate key BCC messages, linked to strategies to effect improvements in the health status of Iraqi citizens. The project will work with the MoH to engage local community organizations to provide their inputs in BCC messages and strategies and will serve as advocates for local populations, particularly disadvantaged groups like orphans, widows, IDPs, the disabled and religious minorities who suffer from inadequate resources.

Supporting Community Partnerships

USAID/PHCPI will develop a strategy to identify and involve targeted NGOs, Civil Society organizations, and influential leaders (e.g., religious leaders) to mobilize the community to take an active involvement in their own health needs, and to work with PHC Clinics to respond to identified and emerging community health care challenges. Based on the strategy and an initial rapid assessment of selected local health committees in Iraq, USAID/PHCPI will work with partners to adapt and implement a handbook for Community Partnerships. The topics of the handbook will include:

  • Best practices for establishing clear terms of reference for local health associations which outline the committee’s purpose, authority and structure.
  • Methods to increase participation from representatives of various communities in local health committees, including business leaders, women’s groups, and school administrators.
  • Approaches for training committee/association members on effective community management and education/advocacy on health issues and patients’ rights in order to increase demand for quality services.