Beyond Receipts and Contracts – UNDP Operations in Uzbekistan
26 Jun 2013
The medication required for the antiretroviral treatment needed by people living with HIV in Uzbekistan is as fragile as it is crucial – it needs to be maintained at the right temperature, delivered in the right format, and be on hand when and where it is required.
This makes getting the vital medication from the supplier to the patient, part of the UNDP project combating HIV in Uzbekistan, a delicate process.
Inconsistent refrigeration before and after delivery can limit the medication’s effectiveness. Incomplete documentation and transportation delays mean supplies may not be delivered where and when they are required.
Both impact the livelihoods of patients, and put their well-being at risk.
Delivering everything from ARVT medication to milk storage equipment, hiring the right expertise and making sure the necessary utilities and services are available, are all part of the UNDP Operations Unit’s work to guarantee the success of the agency’s national projects.
“Whenever we do procurement, recruitment or payments, we see it not just as buying products, hiring consultants or meeting financial obligations,” Operations Manager Mr. Shavkat Muminov said. “Ultimately we are ensuring that the beneficiaries, the people we support, are getting the help they need.”
“This is especially the case with ARVT. If we don’t provide quality products in a timely manner, people will suffer.”
But the work does not end with procuring the right equipment. It also involves selecting the right people to turn concepts and ideas into realities.
Hiring the right staff needed to conduct UNDP’s projects throughout Uzbekistan requires the same comprehensive, results based approach.
In the cases of both the current national HIV prevention project and previous initiatives undertaken to limit the spread of Tuberculosis in regions surrounding the Aral Sea, the experts hired to train volunteers in providing counselling and advice to neighbours were chosen not only for their knowledge and skills.
More importantly, they were selected for their understanding of the requirements of target regions, and their enthusiasm to help achieve UNDP’s goals in Uzbekistan.
Likewise, the volunteers taking part in trainings were chosen not only for their enthusiasm and desire to help others, but also for the fact that should live within the communities they serve and be trusted by their patients.
“Operations, in all its sectors, requires an interrelated process of providing a service to the people, and therefore recruiting the people with the right skills and expertise,” Mr. Muminov said.
While the Operations Unit has played an instrumental role in supporting UNDP’s national development programmes, it has also worked to support local small and medium businesses in ensuring they are aware of how procurement operates and how they can take part.
Following similar events in Tashkent, a program of business forums are to be held throughout Uzbekistan to provide regional businesses with the knowledge needed to deliver goods and services to UNDP.
By attending these forums, the participants not only have the opportunity to further their own business prospects, but also to help play a central role in UNDP’s national development initiatives.
The ‘Opportunities for the Supply of Products and Services to the United Nations’ business forum is to be held on the 7th of May in the Fergana region, while similar events will be conducted in other regions of Uzbekistan.
“By holding these kinds of events we can interact directly with vendors, see things from their perspective, and learn where we can improve our work and what we could do better,” Mr. Muminov said.
“The other benefit is that they allow us to access local products. When products of the right quality and price are available in local markets, then getting what we need becomes much faster and much easier.”