HIV & AIDS

{Photo credit: Rui Pires.}Photo credit: Rui Pires.

In the beginning of my medical career during the early 1990’s, I witnessed the devastating effects of HIV & AIDS.  Nearly 60 percent of the hospital beds I attended were filled with AIDS patients, many of them my close friends and colleagues. At the time, little was known about the AIDS epidemic; no effective treatments were available; and as a physician, I watched helplessly as day after day those closest to me suffered until their death.  

Today, almost three decades later, thanks to increased prevention and access to care and treatment for HIV, most of these hospital beds have emptied of HIV & AIDS patients.  Now, these same beds are filled by those suffering from preventable chronic diseases, including vaccine-preventable cancers.

Today, February 4, we commemorate World Cancer Day, joining the global community to raise awareness about the global cancer epidemic, and renew our commitment to address cancer in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs).

{Photo credit: Rui Pires.}Photo credit: Rui Pires.

This special January 2014 edition of the Global Health Impact Newsletter (subscribe) features 12 stories from 2013 highlighting how MSH is saving lives by strengthening health systems at all levels--from the household to the community to the health facility to national authorities. The stories were selected through an internal storytelling contest (available in print soon).

We are also pleased to share a post from President and CEO Jonathan D. Quick outlining our vision for 2014.

A Note from Dr. Jonathan D. Quick

Vision 2014: UHC and the Opportunity for a Healthy Life

 {Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.}Teberih Tsegay, Almaz Haile, Jember Alemayehu, and Yeshi Derebew, of Korem Town, Ethiopia.Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.

Knowledge is power, so the saying goes.

No one understands that more than Teberih Tsegay, Almaz Haile, Jember Alemayehu, and Yeshi Derebew, of Korem Town, Ethiopia, who have used their knowledge to save the lives of babies in their community. "Some years back there was no one to teach us, so we gave birth to HIV-positive children. But now we can teach others so no child will be born with the virus," said Jember.

Seeing the toll HIV had taken on their communities—but empowered with knowledge and skills to stop its further spread—the four women began working with the Korem Health Center as Mother Mentors in 2010. They teach HIV-positive pregnant women and their husbands about the steps necessary to keep their babies safe from the virus.

Remarkably, since they began their work three years ago, only one child has been born HIV-positive in Korem Town.

 {Photo: MSH Staff}Participants at a senior leadership training in Rwanda discuss best practices for country ownership.Photo: MSH Staff

This post originally appeared on the LMGforHealth Blog.

In discussions around the importance of country ownership of health-related activities and initiatives, both Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project are committed to making sure that the role of civil society is taken into consideration and promoted, in line with USAID Forward’s drive to engage and strengthen local capacity.

{Photo credit: Rui Pires.}Photo credit: Rui Pires.

Every year, billions of US dollars’ worth of medicines are purchased by or through international procurement agencies, NGOS–such as UNICEF, UNITAID, The Global Fund, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)–and governments for use in developing countries. The World Health Organization’s (WHO's) PreQualification of Medicines Programme (PQP) helps ensure that these medicines meet acceptable standards of quality, safety and efficacy.

The US government’s procurement of quality, generic drugs through the US President’s Plan for Emergency AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has saved millions of lives and led to enormous cost savings.

According to a new research paper, published January 16 in Journal of Public Health Policy:

 {Photo credit: Jimmy Felix/SCMS in Haiti.}“John” is a healthy 2-year-old, thanks to HIV medication for his mother.Photo credit: Jimmy Felix/SCMS in Haiti.

SCMS and MSH at the forefront of efforts to remove supply chain barriers to the scale up of HIV/AIDS treatment programs

For many of us in the developed world, it is easy to overlook the critical role that well-functioning supply chains play in effective healthcare. When supply chains are operating as they should, we take for granted that the medicines we need will be in stock and available. Yet throughout the developing world, most patients’ access to critical health commodities is much more tenuous; linking medicines to the health professionals that provide treatment and the people who receive care remains a central challenge facing national health systems.

Ensuring that supply chains are sustainable and can tap into high-quality, low-cost medicines, presents an even greater challenge.

{Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).}Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Yesterday, January 9, President Obama nominated Dr. Deborah Birx as the next United States Global AIDS Coordinator -- a move MSH celebrates with others in the global AIDS and global health communities.

Dr. Birx, a renowned national and international expert in the field of HIV & AIDS, would lead the US strategy for addressing HIV globally and implementation of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

“MSH looks forward to working with Dr. Birx and hopes to see continued progress in the US fight against AIDS,” said our President and CEO, Dr. Jonathan D. Quick.

As proud supporters of PEPFAR, we are eager for strong US leadership in the global movement to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

 {Photo credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH}MSH commemorated World AIDS Day with a special panel event on Capitol Hill on December 2, 2013.Photo credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH

To commemorate World AIDS Day, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) recently teamed up with Save the Children and ONE in conjunction with the Office of Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) to co-host an event on Capitol Hill entitled Getting to an AIDS-Free Generation: Overcoming Remaining Challenges.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman. DRC}Photo credit: Warren Zelman. DRC

MSH's current newsletter (November/December 2013) features stories about the people on the frontlines improving health and saving lives: health workers.

A Note from Dr. Jonathan D. Quick

My MSH colleagues Mary O'Neil and Jonathan Jay blog about what we can learn from the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, held this November in Recife, Brazil:

Recife Top Ten: Together Toward Health for All

 {Photo credit: Eric Miller}Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, accepts the offer to wear an HIV-Positive T-shirt.Photo credit: Eric Miller

(Also see MSH's official statement mourning the death of Nelson Mandela. —Eds.)

I am only one of thousands of young South Africans who left our country in our teen years, fleeing persecution for our political beliefs and actions, and believing that by leaving our country we would regroup and come back to contribute to the overthrow of the apartheid, racist regime.

Did we really believe that would happen?

I must say that the overwhelming urge for us to go on with the struggle and belief was the specter of Nelson Mandela addressing us in “Freedom Square” one day soon. What was most amazing about Madiba is that, for decades, we led protest marches all over the world without even knowing what he looked like, for the regime had banned all pictures of him and all we had was an artist’s impression of what he should have looked like.

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