USAID Expands PHCPI Scope of Work in Iraq

On September 2011, USAID/Primary Health Care Project in Iraq (PHCPI) implemented a nationwide baseline assessment to determine how best to support future improvements in the PHC system. Key findings of this assessment indicated a series of deficiencies at the PHC clinic level and prompted this expansion in the scope of PHCPI activities.  Among the results: the majority of Planning Department Directors (90%) reported specific budget allocations for maintaining equipment and services and 69% of districts surveyed reported an estimated annual expenditure for equipment maintenance and repair. In general, more than two-thirds (68%) of the PHC clinics interviewed reported a need for essential medicines and 49% reported a need for medical supplies.  Half of facilities were missing essential health promotion and nutritional supplies, and the majority of PHC clinics lacked emergency, x-ray, and labor room supplies. In addition, results showed that although the majority (95%) of PHC clinics had lists of essential medicines, all PHC clinics reported delays in receiving medicines and only 39% of districts received all the drugs requested for their facilities in the past six months.  Nearly half (42%) of District Directors reported that there is not adequate space for drug storage.
Addressing material and equipment deficiencies at the PHC clinic level is critical to PHCPI’s overall goals of delivering high quality clinical services and increasing demand for and use of these services by communities.  
To assist with these efforts, USAID/Iraq approved, on November 18, 2012, the proposal submitted by University Research Co., LLC (URC), which implements the PHC project in Iraq, for expanding  the project activities to include the refurbishment and rehabilitation of 36 PHC clinics among the 360 clinics covered by the project. The aim of this initiative is to provide these clinics with the essential standard equipment necessary to raise the level of care at those clinics to meet international standards and ultimately improve the quality of PHC services in Iraq.  These 36 clinics (two in each of Iraq’s 18 provinces) will serve as Iraqi model clinics which have been approved by Government of Iraq (GoI) represented by Ministry of Health (MoH) to be upgraded to the model clinics standard. 
Once refurbished, these model clinics will be fully equipped with all of the required medical equipment to both deliver the essential services outlined in the WHO’s Basic Health Services Package for Iraq, as well as to apply the newly-acquired knowledge and skills that staff at these PHC clinics have obtained through PHCPI training and capacity-building activities.