Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Ministry of Finance (MoF)

Civilian Technical Assistance Program (CTAP)
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The CTAP Overview:


The Civilian Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) is a National Capacity Development program of the government of Afghanistan, designed to strengthen the capacity of Tashkeel staff and key ministries within the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, whereby assisting public agencies to effectively deliver services to the public while supporting towards the successful implementation of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) and their prioritized programs.

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Ministry of Public Health gained universal expertise, thanks to CTAP TAs!

On 5th April, 2014 a team of senior professionals from CTAP visited MoPH (Ministry of Public Health) to assess performance of the two CTAP TAs (Technical advisors), Drs. Santanu Sanyal and Yousuf Ali Rahimi, who had successfully completed their two-year assignments in the ministry. To this end, the team including Mr. Abur-Rhaman Tokhi the CDD Manager, Mr. Yasin Samim the COD Manager and Mr. Elyas Saboor, the CDD Officer from CTAP met employees at the Curative Health General Directorate (CHGD), including Mr. Qamaruddin Hafiz, CH General Director and TAs' principle counterpart.


MoPH Team expressed satisfaction:
All CHGD staff expressed deep satisfaction regarding the satisfactory performances of the CTAP TAs, confirming their inputs and efforts to be outstanding.  Everybody seemed happy with the kind of attitude and interaction exercised by the TAs towards their counterparts and other staff in the Ministry. A great sense of understanding TAs as professional and capable experts existed everywhere.  Individual statements attributed to Drs. Sanyal and Rahimi are as follows:
The Director General warmly welcomed the CTAP team and immediately began recounting the significant achievements of the two Technical Advisors. He said: “Of course, we can’t anticipate having perfect people here but to tell you honestly, we are extremely pleased about the outstanding inputs and efforts of the CTAP TAs”. He paused for a while, and then added: “But we still feel that we can hardly replace Santanu and Dr. Yousuf Ali Rahimi because we could not make the highest use of their skills and expertise as recommended by CTAP, but it does not mean that we will have trouble once they leave.”
When asked about the underlying reasons for this observation, he referred to two major problems inside MoPH: The difficulties in identifying the right counterparts; and the TAs becoming unintentionally involved in the day-to-day management of various departments which, to some extent, kept them from focusing on capacity building efforts. Mr. Qamaruddin also talked about the impressive technical assistance contributed so far by Mr. Ahmad Shekib Ludin, CTAP’s MIS advisor to the Ministry and confirmed that since his deployment, he had become involved in many things that were beyond his ToRs. He ended the discussion by urging the Civilian Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) to continue providing technical assistance to MoPH, a process that he believed was essential for bridging the capacity gaps.

1.    Mr. Qamaruddin Hafiz, CH General Director: “We are extremely pleased about the outstanding inputs and efforts of Drs. Sanyal and Rahimi. We feel we would hardly be able to replace them as we could not make the highest use of their skills and expertise advised by CTAP. However it does not mean we are going to have trouble once they leave.” But when asked why they could not benefit from the TAs as they should, he indicated two obstacles: Lack of the right counterparts for TAs, and unwanted involvement of TAs in daily management of different departments which – to some extent - prevented them from focusing on capacity building efforts. Mr. Hafiz, meanwhile, appreciated the impressive technical assistance provided to the Ministry by Ahmad Shekib Ludin, CTAP MIS advisor to MoPH. At the end, he urged CTAP to continue assisting MoPH, calling it essential to bridge capacity gaps there.
Within the TA’s Counterpart’s Office, the discussion on their impact lasted much longer. Dr Santanu Sanyal’s Counterparts strongly admired him for his commitment and the invaluable contributions he made to the hospital management responsibilities of MoPH. They all agreed that Mr. Sanyal had effectively discharged his duties in terms of knowledge transfer, systems establishment and capacity development. They also confirmed that Dr Sanyal was the leading agent in introducing professional changes to their respective departments, and strongly endorsed his achievements as described in his Exit Report and his Capacity Building documentation. Furthermore, his Counterparts identified numerous manuals, procedures, policies and systems that Dr. Sanyal has developed for MoPH.

2.    Dr. Sanyal’s counterparts: They strongly admired Dr. Sanyal’s commitment and invaluable contributions to help MoPH better fulfill its responsibilities in relation to the management of hospitals. They all admitted that Dr. Sanyal has effectively accomplished his duties including transfer of knowledge, system establishment and capacity development, as well as, implementing professional changes to various departments of MoPH. These counterparts recognized Dr. Sanyal’s achievements as described in his Exit Report and Capacity Building Document. There are several manuals, procedures, policies and systems developed by Dr. Sanyal, the counterparts acknowledged.
Dr. Khizruddin, the Principal Counterpart to Dr Yousuf Ali Rahimi, continued the discussion by saying that despite changes in the Directorate which had affected the TA’s output, “The contribution of Dr Rahimi, included several country-level policies, manuals and clinical regulations which were now being effectively used.”
Although changes in CHGD have been challenging outputs of Dr. Yousuf Ali Rahimi, he managed to contribute to the making of many country-level policies, manuals and clinical regulations, now effectively in use, Dr. Khizruddin, the principle counterpart of Dr. Rahimi, said.

3.    Praising the CTAP capacity building approach, Asheq Saadati, Diagnostic Services Department Director and a principal counterpart to CTAP TAs in MoPH, appreciated the innovative technical efforts of Ahmad Shekib Ludin to standardize the business processes and environment within his directorate. He revised all ToRs and developed a realistic work-plan following a broad needs assessment, Saadati said. In the meantime, Saadati demonstrated huge satisfaction in respect of the personal behavior and commitment of all CTAP TAs, calling them placid, flexible and great team players. CTAP TAs are uniquely qualified experts who have made it possible for us to translate universal standards, knowledge and skills to Afghanistan, Saadati added. He also rated the works of Drs. Sanyal and Rahimi to MopH as considerably constructive, efficient and enduring. On a final note, Saadati confirmed the capacity building efforts of the CTAP TAs to be sustainable and effective to both – the overall operation and specific functional areas in MoPH.



They appreciated the comprehensive and country-wide needs assessment conducted by Dr. Yousaf Ali, to collect baseline information for the Treatment & Drug Protocols which is now considered a significant achievement for the public health sector in Afghanistan. In addition, the Counterparts shared their story of success on the establishment of a new department called “Emergency Public Health Services” (EPHS) which they attribute to the facilitation efforts of CTAP TAs. When asked how this came about, they explained that: “ Dr. Rahimi and Dr. Santanu both helped us in developing the proposal required for USAID and as a result now, we have a new functioning project management unit established with a grant of $130m (USD).”

4.    Other achievements of Drs. Sanyal and Rahimi highlighted by their counterparts in MoPH included:
•    A comprehensive and country-wide needs assessment conducted by Dr. Yousuf Ali Rahimi aimed at collecting baseline data for treatment and drug protocols, today marked as a significant achievement for the public sector in Afghanistan.
•    Establishment of a new department called “Emergency Public Health Services (EPHS) facilitated by the CTAP TAs. According to the counterparts, Drs. Sanyal and Rahimi helped them prepare the proposal required for USAID to finance creation of this department, resulting in a new project management unit in MoPH which has been able to bring a grant of 130m USD to the ministry.
•    An effective capacity building approach adopted by Drs. Sanyal and Rahimi. Prior to initiating the capacity building process, the counterparts explained,  both Drs. had inclusively analyzed the situation and then worked closely with us in the process. Once the capacity building needs were identified, they introduced us to the key knowledge sources to support us in understanding things easily, the counterparts continued.

The counterparts were particularly encouraged by the capacity building approach that both Drs Rahimi and Santanu Sanyal adopted. They explained: “One point worth mentioning is that before starting the real process, the TAs conducted comprehensive situations analysis and closely engaged with every one of us in the capacity building process. Once the needs were identified, they immediately referred us to key knowledge banks that could guide and enhance our knowledge and understanding.” Regarding the sustainability of the program, they added that “both Drs, Rahimi and Sanyal were mainly working through the Tashkeel level employees of the ministry, therefore, due to their extensive efforts and on the job coaching and trainings, the capacity building initiatives will continue as we have acquired enough from them to keep doing the tasks independently.”
•    The counterparts also showed confidence on sustainability of the capacity building program, saying Drs. Sanyal and Rahimi have provided extensive on-the-job trainings (coaching and mentoring) focused, mainly, on the Tashkeel staff of the ministry, which helped us learn enough from them to carry out our tasks independently, once they leave.