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Options has a strong track record of working in South Asia. See below for examples of Options' significant programmes in the region.
- Health sector reform. Options with its Indian partner, leads three of the five DFID-funded Technical Assistance programmes of health sector reform in India – in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, 2006–2014. Options is providing technical leadership to a fourth in Bihar. The programmes work closely with the state governments and their partners to implement health sector reform and strengthen the health system. The Technical Assistance teams provide management and technical support to the state governments in areas such as: strategy and policy development; organisation and management systems; health financing; access and demand for services; involving the private sector; assets and supply management; procurement and financial management systems; health coverage priorities. Key challenges lie in reforming the complex institutional culture, such as changing from an administrative to a management culture, and from an input to results based environment, whilst ensuring ownership of reforms spans all levels of health and related departments. The TA programmes have been recognised for their collaborative approaches, transparent and robust systems developed for procuring and monitoring TA, and for building the capacity of government for health systems development and reform. Read more about the programmes in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.
- Sexual health and HIV & AIDS expertise. Options provided technical expertise to the DFID-funded Resource Centre for Sexual Health and HIV & AIDS, 2005–2007. The programme provided capacity building support to the National AIDS Control Organisation and State AIDS Control Societies.
- Reproductive and child health expertise. Options provided technical expertise to the EC-funded Health and Family Welfare Sector Support, 1998–2005. The programme contributed to India’s National Family Welfare Programme by enhancing the Government’s
capacity to implement policy reform and deliver services at the central,
state and district levels through a sector investment plan designed to improve the quality and impact of services, and ensure cost-effective coverage of the population in terms of family welfare and reproductive and child health services.
In Nepal, Options has been working with the Government since 1997, managing DFID’s maternal and newborn health programmes and is now managing its health sector support programme.
- Health sector support. Options is managing the second phase of DFID's support to Nepal’s National Health Sector Programme (2010–2013). The goal of the Nepal Health Sector Support Programme (NHSSP) is to enhance the capacity of the Government of Nepal to increase access to quality essential health care services, especially for the poor and excluded. NHSSP works to enhance government capacity to achieve the Nepal Health Sector Programme Phase 2 (NHSP-2) objectives. Options is working with Nepal’s Health Sector Support Programme, providing strategic support in the following areas:
- Human resources for health
- Gender equality and social inclusion
- Health financing and public financial management
- Monitoring and evaluation
- Procurement and infrastructure
- Health policy and planning and aid effectiveness.
- Maternal newborn health. The Support to the Safe Motherhood Programme (SSMP) 2005–2010, provided embedded technical support to the Government of Nepal to improve maternal and newborn survival. SSMP followed the Nepal Safer Motherhood Project (NSMP) which was implemented by Options from 1997–2004. SSMP worked in collaboration with government and non-government stakeholders to support evidence-based planning, and strategy and policy development at state and district levels leading to implementation. The programme raised the profile of maternal health by increasing the numbers and utilisation of skilled attendants and emergency obstetric care services. Options provided TA to support the development of key policies, strategies and protocols including: skilled birth attendant policy; blood products protocol; procurement in maternal and newborn health policy; the remote area strategy; the maternity incentive scheme and free delivery policy. The NSMP programme worked with the Family Health Division in ten districts to reduce maternal deaths in Nepal by improving the quality of public maternity services and enabling more women to use such services, by working with local groups. NSMP also supported the development of national safe motherhood policies and plans by drawing on district experience to inform national policy and by supporting national initiatives, such as legalisation of safe abortion. Many studies have documented SSMP and NSMP’s success in reducing maternal mortality. During the 14 years that Options has been providing technical support in Safe Motherhood in Nepal, maternal mortality has halved from 539 to 281 deaths per 100,000 live births (Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, 2006).
- Health systems strengthening. Options led the DFID-funded Technical Assistance Management Agency (TAMA) 2004–2008, a programme of targeted support to build the technical and management capacity of the Ministries of Health and Population Welfare across seven key areas of the Government’s health programmes. TAMA procured and managed technical assistance to the National Health and Population Facility. TAMA managed a total of 179 different technical assistance assignments at federal, provincial, and district levels of government and throughout Pakistan. Options provided support to the Government of Pakistan to develop important governance structures for TAMA, to ensure that the programme inputs made an efficient, effective, and sustainable contribution to the Government of Pakistan’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, and to Ministry of Health and Ministry of Population Welfare efforts to increase and expand use of services, particularly by the poor. These structures ensured high levels of transparency and objectivity in all TAMA’s work at federal, provincial and district levels. TAMA is held in high regard for being a successful model of ensuring government ownership, while still maintaining independence and transparency in a challenging political environment.