We support health workers at all levels -- ministries of health, community volunteers, midwives, medicine shop owners, nursing officers, and more -- so that every woman and newborn, even in the most remote areas, has the opportunity for a healthy life.
Envision a world where everyone has the opportunity for a healthy life!
Delegates learn about pharmaceutical management from Systems for Improving Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program staff while visiting Mokopane Hospital in Limpopo Province, South Africa.Photo credit: Bright Phiri/MSH
Management Sciences for Health (MSH) sponsored a Congressional Staff Study Tour to South Africa and Zambia in February 2015 to examine the local impact of US funded health capacity strengthening in Southern Africa. During the trip, site visits and meetings highlighted the impact of local health capacity building efforts in pharmaceutical management of essential medicines and HIV & AIDS drugs and technical and managerial development opportunities for community workers.
Increasing access to essential medicines and supplies for maternal health requires a systems approach that includes: improving governance of pharmaceutical systems, strengthening supply chain management, increasing the availability of information for decision-making, developing appropriate financing strategies and promoting rational use of medicines and supplies.
A postnatal woman with her newborn and mother-in-law.Photo credit: Emily Phillips/MSH Afghanistan
Last month I represented Management Sciences for Health (MSH) at Oxfam India’s South Asia Consultation on Maternal Health in Kathmandu, Nepal. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss significant maternal health programming experiences in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and to suggest strategic directions for Oxfam India’s future maternal health programming. More than 30 representatives from governments, national and international universities, and nongovernmental organizations attended.
Currently, there is strong interest in global women and children’s issues on Capitol HIll, with several Members of Congress declaring bipartisan interest in introducing maternal, newborn, and child survival (MNCS) legislation on Mother’s Day 2015. MSH is actively engaged in supporting this effort and using our technical expertise to help ensure any proposed legislation is evidence‐based.
To this end, MSH's Policy & Advocacy Unit recently joined the newly‐formed MNCS Working Group, a coalition of like-minded NGOs that are trying to build broader congressional support and education around the importance of MNCS issues.
We look forward to seeing Congress introduce and pass legislation that prioritizes MNCS in US foreign policy and establishes bold leadership from the US on reaching the global goal of ending preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths within a generation.
“I started feeling this coughing… so I went to the health center and got tested. It was positive for TB,” says Grace*, a young Ugandan woman. She started on medicines, but after two months, she stopped adhering to treatment.
They told me to continue with the drugs for five more months, but I stopped.
I thought I was ok.
She started coughing again, went to the hospital, and was diagnosed with multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). MDR-TB cannot be treated with two of the most powerful first-line treatment anti-TB drugs. Her treatment regimen? Six months of injections and two years of drugs.
Members of the global health community commemorated International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 by celebrating recent advances in women and girls’ health and indeed there was much to celebrate: maternal deaths have declined 45% worldwide, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has distributed over 450 million bed nets, and over 1 million babies have been born HIV-free thanks to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); but there is still work to do. What happens once the day is over? How do we turn that attention into action? How are these issues going to be addressed? After awareness is raised, we still need concerted global action every day of the year if we are to make truly sustainable, impactful improvements in the lives of women and girls’ around the world. Here are a few things I think we can do at the global, US and local level to keep the spirit of IWD alive:
Globally: Elevate women and girls in the Post-2015 Development Agenda
As we reflect on lessons learned from the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and set strategies for improving global maternal health, it’s time to identify what has worked and what more is needed to not only avert preventable maternal deaths, but also provide quality health care for every woman.
In a paper published last month, Tamil Kendall, a post-doctoral fellow of the Maternal Health Task Force, summarizes priorities for maternal health research in low- and middle-income countries based on three broad questions she asked 26 maternal health researchers from five continents:
1. Critical maternal health knowledge gaps
“We know what to do. But the interactions between the interventions and the health system have not been studied”
Each year International Women’s Day energizes women and girls all over the world to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of women globally. Together, we celebrate both the spirit and the essence of women wherever they may be, in whatever role they have taken. Based on our own experiences as women, each of us must align ourselves in solidarity with movements that signify a moment in our lives where we have overcome challenges despite the obstacles faced.
For me, International Women’s Day represents the everyday successes that occur: when a mother delivers her baby safely in a health facility, the first day that little girl goes to school, and when she graduates from university. These moments of triumph are the result of the struggles of men and women who fought against the injustice of discrimination based on gender.
I want to acknowledge these great achievements of women and girls not only on March 8, but each and every day.