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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 19, 2004 | Vol. 33 No. 31
SPH to Assess Afghanistan's Health System, Set Up Finance Plan for Future

By Tim Parsons
School of Public Health

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been awarded a grant from the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan to set up a national evaluation system to monitor and assess the nation's health care system. In addition, the Johns Hopkins researchers will assist the Afghan government in developing a health care finance system to sustain health services in the future.

The three-year, $3.9 million grant, which begins this month, is part of $60 million in development aid provided to Afghanistan by the World Bank.

Currently, several nongovernmental organizations provide health services under performance-based contracts to 13 of Afghanistan's 32 provinces. The evaluation system will independently measure the progress of these organizations and the Afghan Ministry of Health to make sure they are providing adequate health services.

"The evaluation system we are developing will help ensure that the nation's health needs and goals are met, particularly the needs of the vulnerable populations, such as women and children," said David Peters, principal investigator and assistant professor in the school's Department of International Health. "We are devising a balanced scorecard to see how well basic health services are being provided. Eventually, the Afghan health ministry will be able to monitor and evaluate its own progress as it expands health care throughout the country."

The Johns Hopkins researchers also will develop and evaluate a system to finance Afghanistan's health care in the future. The health financing interventions developed will be tested in the 13 provinces under the performance-based contracts.

In addition to Peters, the research team from the School of Public Health will include Gilbert Burnham, co-director of the Center for International Emergency, Disaster and Refugee Studies; Hugh Waters, assistant professor, International Health; Stan Becker, professor, Population and Family Health Sciences; and research associates Anbarasi Edward Raj and Walt Jones, International Health. Ayan Ahmed Noor, associate project manager and field manager for evaluation and data collection, and Laura Steinhardt, field manager for the community health finance initiative, will be based in Kabul.

The School of Public Health also will collaborate with researchers from the Indian Institute of Health Management Research, led by S.D. Gupta, a graduate of Johns Hopkins.


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