Shah also highlighted that the Administration recognizes the key to both improving global health in the long term and doing so efficiently is to develop locally-operated health services rather than providing solely direct aid year after year. The United States will be “rooting our investments in those who will ultimately be seeing them through: [host] governments, NGOs, and the private sector,” so as to establish “the conditions that will reduce the need for future aid.” Shah also stated that “major operational reforms” are being introduced to USAID in order to foster “entrepreneurial energy and evidence-based decision making.” By cutting out unnecessary paperwork and administrative red tape, he hopes to give USAID employees more time to actually work with patients and communities on the Global Health Initiative and encourage them to come up with locally-appropriate solutions. He said it was this entrepreneurship and bending of the rules that allowed USAID to respond effectively to the earthquake in Haiti and has given birth to new tools like “text-4-baby,” which takes advantage of the increased ownership of cell phones in the developing world to text maternal and child health advice to poor and rural mothers. Shah also insisted that USAID would increase monitoring and evaluation of all its projects to ensure money is only going to programs that work through “results-based financing.”
Watch USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s full speech here.