In November and December of 2012, an IDEAS staff member led a four-person team to conduct a midterm evaluation of a $73 million USAID-funded health system strengthening project. The evaluation was organized by the Global Health Tech Project, which provides technical assistance to USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, to regional bureaus, and to overseas missions. The purpose of the evaluation was to determine if project objectives had been met, to recommend mid-course corrections, and to suggest strategic areas for any follow-on project USAID might choose to fund.
In addition to the IDEAS team leader, the other members of the team were an obstetrician/gynecologist, a behavior change communication and community health specialist, and a Jordanian public health specialist. Team members spent a month in Jordan reviewing data, interviewing health staff, meeting with senior Ministry of Health officials, and going on site visits. The evaluation revealed some important health system improvements, including stronger health information management, improved MCH care at both hospitals and health centers, and better management of health centers through the expanded use of accreditation systems.
The evaluation team found that, despite high female literacy rates, improvements in health care, and very low infant and child mortality, fertility rates remain high in Jordan, very likely due to strong and persistent cultural and political factors. Because of these factors, the team did not recommend funding a vertical family planning project that might risk generating resistance to all of USAID’s efforts in Jordan. Instead, the recommendation was to continue with a combination of widely accepted integrated maternal and child health services and health system strengthening. The team’s briefings and report were very well received by the Ministry of Health.