By Samuel Stalls
Last month, the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) and Poder Ciudadano officially signed a grant agreement for a project entitled “Recovery with Integrity: Promoting Integrity in the National Immunization Health System Post-COVID 19.” This work will build on two previous projects supported by PTF and will focus on ensuring more effective delivery in the health system through greater transparency. Previous efforts focused on the distribution on COVID-19 supplies and vaccines. This project will expand to the distribution of other vaccines.
“Our challenge is to generate greater transparency in the health system in Argentina. Transparency implies that citizens can have access to reliable and timely information about the way in which public resources are used. At the same time, more and better information results in better health services for citizens,” said Pablo Secchi, the Executive Director of Poder Ciudadano.
This project comes at a timely moment for Argentina, currently facing a significant financial crisis. Public trust in institutions is low and ensuring greater integrity of health service delivery will enhance trust in the health system and improve uptake, vital when vaccine skepticism is rising worldwide.
Daniel Ritchie, PTF’s project lead, commended Poder Ciudadano’s efforts, stating, “We are delighted to continue supporting Poder in its efforts to promote transparency and accountability in Argentina’s health system, especially during these unprecedented challenges. Citizens have a right to know how government is spending on health care.”
The objective of the project is to “Promote the improvement of integrity environments within the national health ecosystem – specifically and immunization subsystem- focus on standards of access to information, transparency accountability and effectiveness.” Fulfilling this objective, the project will have three components: (i) analyzing existing risks of corruption in the system, (ii) developing and initiating an advocacy strategy for interacting with government agencies, and (iii) promoting citizen awareness of potential points of corruption and ways to monitor health sustem delivery at the local level.
Previously with the help of PTF, Poder analyzed available information on the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 medical supplies, equipment and vaccines and reported results on its COVID-19 Vaccine Observatory, tracking procurement contracts, administration, and cost of vaccines. The initial recommendations were posted to their website and these recommendations and this methodology will be applied to three other immunization vaccines, giving the public a better understanding of fund use.
The second component of the project will develop an advocacy strategy through bilateral meetings with networks of experts on the Argentine health system. The goal for this advocacy process is to be collaborative with Ministry of Health offices and oversight entities to open information flows and improve the traceability of processes, closing loopholes and effectively reduce possible points of corruption.
The final component of this project is promoting citizen awareness. Results and recommendations stemming from this work will be disseminated through media campaigns. Poder will collaborate with local activists on the development and use of social audit tools at the provincial and municipal level. These meetings will be supplemented with a qualitative report on the results of the social audit of the national health system.
For further information, please contact PTF at firstname.lastname@example.org.