Exclusive: USAID chief 'angry' about agency's largest health project

A regional warehouse by the Global Health Supply Chain – Procurement Supply Management project in Mozambique. Photo by: GHSC-PSM

In response to a Devex report, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green said he is “angry” that USAID’s largest-ever contract, a health supply chain project that coordinates lifesaving commodities, is performing well below expectations — and that it has increased his resolve to review how the agency spends its money.

“This is not the reason I wanted to reform procurement, but it certainly doesn’t push me away from wanting to reform procurement,” Green said in an exclusive interview with Devex.

“I’m angry about it — not the story. I’m angry about the substance underlying the story,” he added. “I’ll be watching very closely. I know that steps have already been taken, but we’re going to watch this like a hawk.”

Exclusive: Documents reveal largest USAID health project in trouble

A global health supply chain project that coordinates lifesaving deliveries has run into serious problems, putting vital treatments and health services at risk. A Devex exclusive report.

The Global Health Supply Chain – Procurement Supply Management contract is a $9.5 billion effort, implemented by Chemonics International. The project coordinates a global health supply chain for lifesaving health commodities such as HIV tests and treatments, malaria drugs, and high-tech laboratory equipment. It supports the U.S. government’s largest and most important global health initiatives, including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the President’s Malaria Initiative, and population and reproductive health programs.

In its latest published quarterly report, Chemonics disclosed that only 7 percent of shipments delivered through the GHSC-PSM project arrived on time and in full, marking a precipitous performance decline in each of the past three quarters.

“Part of what I want to do is to jealously guard taxpayer dollars. I come from the Midwest, and I am always impressed with the generosity of the American people,” said Green, in one of his first extended interviews since taking charge of USAID three weeks ago.

“The American people are willing to give of their resources to lift lives and do good things, but they want to make sure their money is being spent wisely, and our job is — and we will — make sure that the money is spent wisely and efficiently,” Green said.

Devex will publish more soon from our exclusive interview with Administrator Green — and from our investigation of U.S. global health supply chains.

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About the author

  • Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.