Universal Health Coverage

Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

 {Photo credit: MSH Ethiopia.}Panelists at the UHC symposium (from left): Jonathan D. Quick (MSH), Mr. Amsalu Shiferaw (WHO), Dr. Yayehyirad, (independent health scholar), Prof. Damen (Addis Ababa University).Photo credit: MSH Ethiopia.

It came as a surprise to many attending the symposium—health insurance in Ethiopia had been talked about in the media for a while, but most didn’t know the preparations had gone this far. It was at a high level session that the Acting Director General of the Ethiopian Health Insurance Agency, Dr. Mengistu Bekele, explained the work the government has been doing to start the implementation of the twin health insurance schemes. Dr. Mengistu indicated the government’s effort to introduce the health insurance scheme is part of its move towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). “Of course it can be done!” said Dr. Mengistu reaffirming the commitment and tying up his presentation with the theme of the symposium: “Achieving UHC in low- and middle-income countries: Can it be done?”

 {Photo credit: Morgan Wingard for USAID}Liberia.Photo credit: Morgan Wingard for USAID

The October/November issue of the Global Health Impact Newsletter (subscribe) focuses on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and MSH's response, including what is needed to save lives, contain Ebola (or any similar outbreak), and maintain essential health services: stronger health systems.

A Note from Dr. Jonathan Quick

[Dr. Jonathan D. Quick]Dr. Jonathan D. QuickThe Ebola outbreak in West Africa is unprecedented. Already, over 13,000 people have been affected and over 5,000 lives lost. What’s more, this outbreak was preventable.

 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera}A 27-week premature baby in an incubator at Kibuye Hospital, Karongi District, western Rwanda.Photo credit: Todd Shapera

November is Prematurity Awareness Month in the US, and the 17th is World Prematurity Day. But I never need any reminders about the importance of access to medicines and services for premature babies. Every November, I celebrate the birthday of my own little preemie. On November 30, 1997, I went into labor just after reaching 32 weeks. I was terrified. I had had a healthy second pregnancy up to that point and my doctor did not believe me at first when I told her I was in labor. After a somewhat traumatic trip to the clinic and then the delivery, my tiny bundle of joy arrived, weighing in at a meager 1.5 kg (3.3.lbs). We were so very lucky to have access to excellent health services, not just for delivery and newborn care, but for his whole first year or so of life, when visits to the doctor to check on his heart, lungs, eyes and overall development were a weekly occurrence.

 {Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}A health worker speaks with a woman and her baby outside a clinic in Ethiopia. Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman develops high blood sugar during pregnancy.Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

This post originally appeared on Devex on November 14, World Diabetes Day ().

During her third pregnancy, Eden Bihon visited the Mekelle Health Center in Tigray, Ethiopia. Although a routine prenatal visit, it held great importance for Eden, as she had recently lost her second child, who died from unknown causes at the age of just one year.

Unknown to her at the time, this visit would have lasting implications for Eden and her baby. A 23-year-old mother, Eden, like most Ethiopian women, had concerns about her pregnancy and well-being. But gestational diabetes was not one of them.

Devex #Healthymeans graphic.
On October 27, Devex launched , a month-long online campaign to raise awareness about global health challenges and opportunities. Throughout the month of November, Devex and partners are encouraging discussion around the question: What does healthy mean to you?

Join Nov. 13, 1 pm EST with hashtags  and

On November 13, MSH () and partners are leading a Twitter chat from 1:00-1:30 pm EST on "Maximizing Global Health Synergies in Post-2015 Era". Led by Jonathan Jay (), guest-tweeting with , we'll discuss:
  1. What health target or outcome is your top priority for the post-2015 era?
{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

Family planning is not abortion.

If this were understood, we could stop the discussion here. Decades of debate and wrangling over women’s access to contraceptives could end. But the myth that family planning equals abortion fuels policies and practices that block women’s access to health services.

One such policy is The Global Gag Rule (or Mexico City Policy). Coined by Population Action International as "The Policy That Never Dies", The Global Gag Rule bans organizations that receive US public or government funding from using non-US funds to provide (or even refer to) abortion services—even if those services are legal in those countries. When the Global Gag Rule was enforced, some of our partners struggled to provide life-saving services to women in need. These organizations could no longer receive US funding for providing any health services, because they were also providing abortion services that were legal in the country. 

In reality, family planning helps reduce abortion. And many women won't need to abort, if they have the family planning information and services they need.

 {Photo credit: MSH}Colin Gilmartin, Dr. San San Aye, Uzaib Saya, and David Collins present at HSR 2014.Photo credit: MSH

This post originally appeared on the MSH at the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research conference blog.

On September 30 – October 3, 2014, nearly 3,000 researchers, program managers, and policy makers convened in Cape Town, South Africa for the Third Health Systems Research Symposium (HSR2014) to review evidence and research focused on improving people-centered health systems and service delivery. A key component to strengthening health systems and improving health outcomes is through health care financing mechanisms.

 {Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesondorp/MSH.}2014 JWLI Fellows meet with Atsuko Fish (seated, in red coat) and Belkis Giorgis, MSH’s global technical lead on gender (seated at laptop). From right: Yuka Matsushima, Yumiko Nagai, Mito Ikemizu, Kozue Sawame (Fish Family Foundation), Megumi Ishimoto.Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesondorp/MSH.

“Japanese women could be a tremendous force for social change—in Japan and elsewhere,” said Atsuko Fish, Trustee of the Fish Family Foundation in Boston. “But, few have the confidence and skills to take on leadership roles.”

In 2006, three visionary women leaders, Fish; Mary Lassen, past president and Chief Executive Officer of the Women's Union in Boston; and Catherine Crone Coburn, former president of MSH, founded The Japanese Women‘s Leadership Initiative (JWLI). They created a pilot project designed to provide women from Japan four weeks of direct experience and training with successful nonprofit organizations in Boston. Training areas included domestic violence, elder care, child care, and women‘s leadership and empowerment. That same year, Simmons College became their academic partner.

 {Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH.}Ayanda Ntsaluba (right) Executive Director of Discovery Health and Former Director-General of Health for South Africa, welcomes participants to the Third Global Governance for Health Roundtable.Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and a consortium of partners lead the US Agency for International Development's (USAID's) Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project. These posts originally appeared on LMG's blog as two posts (Day 1 and Day 2). They also appeared on MSH's Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research conference blog (Day 1, Day 2).

MSH President & CEO Jonathan D. Quick says "investment in health systems, including epidemic preparedness, is the only way to ensure rapid containment of the next disease outbreak," in today's The New York Times.

"Developing strong health systems will ensure the collective well-being for all over the long term," said MSH President & CEO Jonathan D. Quick in a Letter to the Editor, published October 3, 2014, in The New York Times.

In the letter responding to Nicholas Kristof's Sept. 25 column, “The Ebola Fiasco”, Dr. Quick wrote:

Nicholas Kristof rightly states that early action on Ebola could have saved lives and money. The early investment should have been in bolstering the health systems for the long term—not as a quick fix after Ebola had re-emerged. ...

Steady international and national investment in health systems, including epidemic preparedness, is the only way to ensure rapid containment of the next disease outbreak—which surely will come—and to avoid the human and financial cost of an epidemic out of control.

Read Dr. Quick's Letter to the Editor in today's The New York Times (print edition or online).

Pages

Printer Friendly Version
Subscribe to RSS - Universal Health Coverage