TIFA Accelerator Series: Uzbekistan
March 3rd, 2021 | Viewpoint
March 3rd, 2021 | Viewpoint
“Through TIFA, and with USAID’s support of this transition, we were able to implement activities that were innovation-oriented and not as strict as in a traditional grant mechanism. This made room for creativity and an opportunity for a situational design in our program and to minimize potential losses,” explained Sharaf Yuldashev, Global Fund Principal Recipient Transition Coordinator, embedded with the Uzbekistan National TB Program (NTP).
Through remote engagement, the NTP in Uzbekistan worked with the Tuberculosis Implementation Framework Agreement (TIFA) Project to develop a Tuberculosis (TB) Commitment Grant to complete its Global Fund Principal Recipient (PR) transition plan. Through this TCG, the NTP has staffed and trained the new Project Implementation Unit (PIU) and ensured the quick start-up of the new PIU’s functioning and grant-making.
The Global Fund helps support the implementation of Uzbekistan’s National Strategic Plan for TB (NSP) 2017-2021. In March 2019, the Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a decree to transfer the principal recipient’s role from the Republican DOTS Center to the National Center of TB and Lung Diseases (under the NTP). The MOH and NTP, with USAID and partner support, developed a PR transition plan in 2019 arranging and performing a staff selection process. During the transition period, the new PIU is not receiving the Global Fund funding, as it is not yet qualified as PR and the current GF grant budget does not include a budget for staffing for a PIU.
The Uzbekistan NTP and USAID Uzbekistan identified TIFA as the mechanism for the implementation of the PR transition plan. A key activity implemented by the NTP through the TB Commitment Grant included the development of the PIU Operations Manual, as the NTP took institutional strengthening steps. “This TCG contributed to strengthening the operational functioning of the PIU and its staff,” explained Yuldashev. “This TCG had an institutional impact on the NTP—this was the first international grant for which the NTP opened its first foreign currency bank account.”
The TB Commitment Grant supported the functioning of selected PIU/NTP staff until the approval of the new GF grant budget with the NTP as Principal Recipient (both staffing and operations), as well as capacity building of the new PIU and the NTP. “Thanks to this TCG, the NTP attracted highly qualified staff, especially from the private sector. The NTP hired a specialist who has significant experience in drug supply chain management, which can help NTP advance sputum transportation management,” Yuldashev noted. “The NTP learned that qualified staff is essential to the program’s success and adequate distribution of labor leads to higher efficiencies. The ability to prioritize and address challenges is a new lesson for the NTP.”
The NTP has expressed interest in developing additional TB Commitment Grants. “I wasn’t aware of how flexible the TCG mechanism is. Without TIFA, we would not be able to become a PR of the GF grant,” Yuldashev shared. “Without this support, NTP would not be able to start implementing activities.”
The impact of this TB Commitment Grant is already seen in Uzbekistan. “Thanks to our PIU we have started writing proposals to different donors–two have been awarded, and three more are still pending,” said Yuldashev.