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New Quality Assurance and Workforce Development Project Awarded

On June 27, 2002, University Research Co., LLC (URC) was awarded the new Quality Assurance and Related Workforce Development in Health Contract, the follow-on project to the Quality Assurance Project II. The new five-year project, with a value of 44 million dollars, will support the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Bureau for Global Health and country Missions in expanding the use of modern quality assurance approaches in health care in developing and middle income countries.

The Quality Assurance and Workforce Development project will continue to address many of the same health care issues as did the Quality Assurance Project II, including the low levels of technical quality, inefficiencies in the organization of systems to support patient care, and inadequate attention to the needs of the populations served by health programs. The new project will add a focus on key elements of human resources management that are directly connected to quality improvement, such as supplying appropriate staff, systems to manage performance, and better integrating training with service delivery.

Subcontractors on the new project include the Joint Commission Resources, the consulting arm of the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), based in Oakbrook, Illinois; Initiatives, Inc., a Boston-based firm experienced in health program quality improvement and human resource management in developing countries; and Dragonfly Communications, Ltd., a Washington, DC-based company specialized in computer-based learning, web-based communication, and graphic design.

In implementing specific activities, URC expects to collaborate with other partner organizations, such as The Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Harvard University's School of Public Health, the Boston University School of Public Health, The Russian Institute for Public Health, Management Sciences for Health, Encompass, LLC, the Center for Communication Programs of Johns Hopkins University, as well as a number of other regional and host country organizations.

A large part of the new project's efforts will be directed at improving outcomes in USAID-supported priority services, especially in regions of great need, such as Africa. Besides reduced morbidity and mortality, improved outcomes will include greater coverage with essential services, increased client satisfaction, and improved worker motivation, deployment, and retention. Other significant expected results will be improved efficiency and reduction in the costs of poor quality, such as waste and re-work.

"We are looking forward very much to the work of the project, and to the contributions and impact we hope it will have on health systems improvement and improved quality of care," said Dr. David Nicholas, URC Vice President and Director of the new project. "We feel honored to be put in the position of being able play a significant role in what has become a broad international movement and coalition to improve the quality of health care, especially for the world's less fortunate people."

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The Quality Assurance Project (QAP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) under Contract Number GPH-C-00-02-00004-00.