Polio vaccination campaign at PHCPI’s Model Clinic in Baghdad, Mansour PHC Clinic. Photo credit: URC

USAID Primary Health Care Project in Iraq (PHCPI)

The Challenge

Strengthen the delivery of quality primary health care (PHC) services throughout Iraq.

Overview and Objectives

URC supported the Ministry of Health (MoH) to strengthen the delivery of PHC services throughout Iraq. The project focused on developing management systems and processes for delivering clinical care, improving the quality of primary care, and building effective community partnerships to ensure that local communities are closely involved in health service planning and implementation. Through close collaboration with partners at the provincial and local level, the project built the capacity of service providers to develop highly functional health centers able to meet the primary health care needs of Iraqis. Project objectives:

  • Develop sustainable institutional capacity within the MoH to successfully manage quality PHC
  • Advance quality standards and operational guidelines for management of primary care clinics
  • Strengthen the capacities of health administrators and health professionals at the provincial and clinic levels to practice good leadership and management
  • Develop expanded PHC quality improvement program
  • Design research agenda for strengthening PHC in Iraq
  • Disseminate national Charter of Patients’ Rights in PHC
Strategic Partnership for Sustainable Health Outcomes


  • In collaboration with the MoH, used baseline assessment findings to assess the health care system; identify and address gaps in clinical and management systems/procedures; identify community partnerships and how they can be strengthened; and, understand key health service issues.
  • Collaborated with the MoH to develop and launch the Iraqi Charter of Patients’ Rights during a two-day national workshop on patients’ rights, held under the auspices of His Excellency the Minister of Health in March 2012.
  • Supported the MoH to train over 2,733 vaccinators and supervisors.
  • Supported the MoH to implement new technology, such as the electronic vaccination record system (EVP), to improve tracking and monitoring of immunization records.
  • Supported the MoH to reach 85% of Iraqis through immunization awareness campaigns.
  • Worked closely with the MoH to develop, update, and disseminate guidelines, protocols/procedures, and job aids to support key areas toward improving immunization in Iraq (e.g., vaccine cold chain management, detection of immunization side effects). As part of roll out , the project conducted trainings for EPI health workers in all provinces.
  • The MOH in Iraq adopted the 2015 National Immunization Plan developed jointly with PHCPI in addition to three standard operating procedures leading to improved laboratory diagnostics of priority communicable diseases.
  • Worked with the MoH to launch a national Technical Advisory Group (TAG) as an ongoing mechanism for donor coordination and technical collaboration to promote quality improvement for primary health care throughout Iraq. The TAG—which comprises representatives from various MoH sections and divisions; other ministries; NGOs, donors; and international organizations such as USAID, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Fund, and UNICEF—has held four meetings to date.
  • Developed a leadership and management training program geared toward PHC center managers and health care providers. The curriculum covers a broad range of topics, including leadership, interpersonal communication, team building, problem solving, strategic planning, quality improvement, and human resource management. To date, the project has trained more than 480 clinic managers from 240 of the project’s target primary health care clinics.
  • Updated the clinical standards guidelines for IMCI, asthma, hypertension, diabetes, infection prevention and control, communicable disease control, and trauma management for use by PHC providers.
  • Created core teams of trainers at the provincial level to roll out training on various management and clinical subjects to service providers at the PHC clinic level.



Middle East

Community Health, Global Health Security, Health Systems Strengthening, Maternal and Child Health, Quality Improvement, Social and Behavior Change


Management Systems International (MSI), Sallyport Global