Third Party Monitoring of World Bank COVID-19 Operations in Tajikistan
Executing Agency: Zerkalo
Grant: $ 320,000 from the GPSA
Frame and Challenge
Faced with the vagaries and onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic on its people, the Tajik government committed to improving the quality of health service delivery and providing immediate relief. The World Bank extended support to Tajikistan with emergency COVID-19 financing of US$ 54,000,000. Among the services included was the delivery and installation of ICU equipment, emergency cash transfers to vulnerable households with small children, public health communications for behavior change, and the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. However, as was seen elsewhere, assuring that emergency services are effective and fully benefit targeted local communities requires close supervision and monitoring. Designed well, an independent and unbiased monitoring initiative can channel useful recommendations to the government, enable government to course-correct, and strengthen its own credibility in the eyes of its constituents.
The Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) partnered with a consortium of eight CSOs geographically spread across the country, to monitor the COVID19 emergency response. The CSOs formed a working group with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection at the national level to channel their feedback to policymakers for structured course correction. CSOs deployed a range of social accountability tools such as the 'mystery customer' to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine rollout, and public hearings to facilitate two-way feedback between citizens and local health professionals. In an innovative approach, CSOs monitored the distribution of ICU equipment to health centers, the quality of awareness campaigns, and delivery of cash transfers to poor households using the ICT-enabled KOBO Toolbox. The Toolbox also helped to track the integrity of the vaccine rollout, - its transport, storage, and delivery protocols. Holding relevance to the sector more widely, the CSO consortium tested the effectiveness of a new, digital Grievance Redress Mechanism and made recommendations for its improvement.
- The CSOs addressed the problem of misplaced ICU goods and equipment, which were rerouted to designated beneficiaries
- Problems observed of noncompliance in retaining the vaccine cold chain were communicated to health authorities to strengthen the protocols
- A cross-sector working group was forged and was effective in fostering dialogue between relevant stakeholders
- A new complaint handling online platform was tested by project stakeholders
- In a context with high internet access, CSOs can have a powerful impact when implementing digital tools to implement social accountability mechanisms
- With relatively low costs, the project is able to monitor the implementation of a very large grant which additionally also fosters a dialogue between health authorities and civil society