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I Made Sumiartha smiles as he shows his most recent test results from Indonesia’s National Procurement Officer Training exam. Top out of 69 test-takers from Indonesia. 

Made, who works on Health Promotion at the Provincial Health Office (PHO) in Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), is one of 71 civil servants in the province supported by the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Maternal and Neonatal Health Program (AIPMNH) to become a nationally certified Procurement Officer. He is also now one of four certified Procurement Instructors in NTT.

Made is one of 71 Certified Procumrent Officers trained with support from AIPMNH. The Program has also supported him to become a certified Procurement Instructor, where he trains other civl servatns in Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) and beyond. 

Procurement of health equipment and services for hospitals and health facilities in NTT has its share of challenges. Frequently, health staff with little or no knowledge of Indonesia’s regulations on Procurement are put in charge of purchasing equipment and consultancy services worth up to 500,000 AUD. This lack of technical knowledge of procurement procedures and regulations, combined with a lack of oversight, can open the door for error and improper practices. 

That’s why the Partnership believes that management of resources according to defined standards is a critical component of good governance – and essential to improving accountability to local communities and strengthening NTT’s health system.

“The biggest challenge is that those who procure goods and services don’t have a solid understanding of the regulations on procuring health equipment,” Made explained.  

“The training has given me – and other participants – better knowledge and understanding of these regulations and their application,” he said. 

“In my case, it motivated me to become a certified Trainer of Trainers, so that I can help spread this knowledge and improve the system throughout the province” Made said.

Made, along with three other certified procurement instructors in NTT and three from outside, have conducted a series of procurement training workshops in nine districts involving 235 provincial and district participants. Local governments outside of NTT have even invited Made to conduct training on procurement for them as well. 

This capacity building translates into a growing cadre of trained health staff throughout NTT with a higher level of technical expertise and knowledge of current regulations and best practices in the procurement of health equipment. And since the Government of Indonesia changed its Procurement laws in 2010, the 71 certified staff have been trained on the most current national regulations. 

AIPMNH aims to create a more competitive environment through its work with government partners in Procurement. By connecting them with outside suppliers, the Program helped one district save 50% on the printing of the Buku KIA, NTT’s main health promotion tool for pregnant women and mothers.  Government partners also work alongside AIPMNH’s Procurement Team in reviewing bids for consultancy services to the Partnership. 

As part of the same effort, AIPMNH has also provided training in electronic-procurement (E-procurement) to 20 staff from NTT’s E-procurement Services Department, LPSE, in the Provincial Secretariat for Development Administration, which reports to the Governor’s Office. E-procurement, which automates the submission of bids, is the Government of Indonesia’s new approach to Procurement to help combat corruption and implement good governance. 

Four of the 20 staff trained in E-procurement have passed the National Procurement Examination and been certified as Procurement Officers.  Caroline (Olin) Waito is one of them. She is part of the team supported by AIPMNH that has helped train 287 staff from 41 government departments in the Province and 6 districts of NTT specifically on E-procurement.

“The main benefit I see is how much E-procurement can help us economize our budget and make the process of procurement much more efficient, “ Olin said.

By the end of 2010, five District Health Offices had established websites with functioning E-procurement systems with support from AIPMNH. In fact, the LPSE website (www.lpse.nttprov.go.id) has been using E-procurement specifically for the health sector for nearly a year. AIPMNH also has its own E-procurement website to set an example of using an electronic tendering system to create more transparent procurement of goods and services. 

“E-procurement really helps build a healthy, competitive atmosphere, because we can attract and connect with contractors from all over Indonesia,” explained Alex Koroh, a Senior Staff member in the LPSE and another E-procurement trainer supported by AIPMNH.

“Overall, the quality of contractors has definitely improved,” he said.  

AIPMNH, along with Australia Indonesia Partnership for Decentralisation (AIPD) Program, will continue to support NTT as it strives towards province-wide implementation of E-procurement in 2012.  “You really need the commitment of the local government for E-procurement to be fully implemented,” Alex said. 

“We saw this in action in other provinces like West Java,” he said. “Implementation will be challenging, but I can say that we are conceptually strong in this area now.”

AIPMNH is managed by Coffey on behalf of the Australian Government

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