Working with the Ministry of Health to build systems for expanding TB diagnosis and treatment
Like other former Soviet Union countries, Armenia is facing a serious tuberculosis problem. Despite substantial efforts to enroll patients in treatment programs, access to diagnosis and treatment is limited in certain regions, and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is of grave concern. The country, through the Ministry of Health as the Principal Recipient, had received one Global Fund grant and was hoping to be awarded a second grant to address the problem.
The Ministry identified issues relating to program implementation of the ongoing grant and conditions that had to be met to obtain the new grant. They then requested assistance from the Grant Management Solutions (GMS) Project. In 2009, a three-person team, one of whom was an IDEAS staff member, collaborated with the Ministry of Health’s Project Implementation Unit to design systems to improve management structures, define staffing patterns, and align the financial system to respond to both Global Fund and Government of Armenia requirements. These systems were then incorporated into a comprehensive operations manual. As a result of the assignment, the Ministry met the requirements and received additional funds.
Integrating monitoring and evaluation systems and improving data quality
After completing a five-year HIV-AIDS Global Fund grant, the Republic of Armenia received a three-year extension to continue its national response to the disease. Two new Principal Recipients (PRs) were selected — Mission East, a Danish non-governmental organization with substantial experience in Armenia, and a new Program Implementation Unit within the Ministry of Health.
Both of these organizations requested technical assistance in integrating and strengthening monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems and improving data quality. The GMS Project selected an IDEAS staff member to lead and manage the assignment with three team members who had expertise in relevant areas. Under the IDEAS leader, the team worked with M&E staff from the two PRs and from the national AIDS control program to achieve the desired results:
- Self-assessments by the PRs and sub-recipients of their M&E systems and preparation of formal M&E system-strengthening plans;
- Development of a grant M&E Plan which integrated the performance frameworks and M&E systems of both PRs;
- Development of standardized data collection and reporting forms and procedures across all implementing organizations (PRs and sub-recipients);
- Introduction and adoption of the Routine Data Quality Assurance (RDQA) tool as an approach to addressing data quality issues identified by the Global Fund’s Local Fund Agent.
The M&E technical assistance provided by the GMS team enabled both PRs to meet the conditions imposed by the Global Fund, thereby ensuring continued funding for the national HIV-AIDS program. In addition, the team fostered a spirit of collaboration that resulted in new relationships among these organizations – relationships that have been maintained since the assignment ended.