Meeting on IMCHS Project Monitoring Results: Recognizing Achievements and Lessons Learned
By Maksim Fazlitdinov
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 16 June 2011 - Health care system representatives from all 14 provinces of Uzbekistan, UN agencies, the Asian Development Bank and other partners of the Improving Mother and Child Health Services (IMCHS) project gathered in Tashkent on 16 June 2011 to review the project’s integrated monitoring results.
Launched in 2008, the project is being implemented by the Ministry of Health in partnership with UNICEF and the European Commission in eight regions across the country. It aims to improve the quality of maternal and child healthcare. A nationwide scale up of the project is planned for the period of 2011 – 2014.
During the meeting, national monitoring experts shared findings of the project integrated monitoring in the areas of Newborn Care, Effective Perinatal Care, Breastfeeding, Child Growth and Development Monitoring, Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) and training of patronage nurses in Inter-personal Communication (IPC).
The meeting became instrumental in summing-up the achievements and lessons learned from the project and allowed participants from different provinces to share experiences and address some of the key challenges in taking the achievements through development of recommendations and action points in small working groups.
Mr. Jean-Michel Delmotte, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan underlined the value of lessons learned during the monitoring process and called upon the project partners to build on these lessons to make the scale up effort a success.
“Proper documentation and communication of lessons learned will help avoid similar obstacles and will ensure the same mistakes are not repeated at the cost of delaying the project, budget overruns and beneficiary dissatisfaction.” – commented Mr. Delmotte.
The meeting participants highlighted improved quality of health care services provided by health professionals in eight pilot provinces as one of the major achievements of the project.
The project allowed for 20-25% savings in the health care system achieved through reducing hospitalization and applying less invasive procedures.
Significant decrease in use of unnecessary medicines promoted by the project helped reducing out of pocket expense of the patients many of whom represent vulnerable population groups.
“It is important to monitor and evaluate any health intervention to determine its contribution and impact on the population it was designed to help, in addition to its sustainability.” – said Dr. Dilorom Ahmedova, Head of Mother and Child Health Department of the Ministry of Health who chaired the meeting. “We made a good effort to ensure that the monitoring processes were established during the inception of the project to identify a baseline, and methods of gathering data. Our team of monitoring experts developed a low-cost, comprehensive and easy to apply integrated monitoring tool which was used to gather information we are discussing today.”
Dr. Ahmedova also mentioned that improving health services for children and mothers is vital if Uzbekistan is to achieve its Millennium Development Goal targets by 2015 on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. In this regard, the IMCHS project is one of the top priority interventions for the Government of Uzbekistan in the area of mother and child health.
“For better tracking the progress, monitoring processes will be further enhanced and incorporated more deeply in the mother and child health interventions at all levels.” – concluded Dr. Ahmedova.
The ‘improvements to the mother and healthcare services in Uzbekistan’ programme sounds pretty self explanatory, but it’s much bigger than that.
It’s a far broader set of healthcare reforms, including a huge programme that will see nearly 10,000 health workers trained between October 2008 and December 2010.
The Government of Uzbekistan is leading implementation which is taking place across eight of Uzbekistan’s regions: Khashkadyria, Surkhandarya, Samarkand, Jizzak, Sirdarya, Namanagan, Andijon and Navoi.