Women & Gender

{Photo credit: Andrew Esiebo/MSH Nigeria}Photo credit: Andrew Esiebo/MSH Nigeria

I am a woman. I am a Nigerian. I am a mother. I am a leader. And, I am a daughter. As the Nigerian country representative, I guide Management Sciences for Health (MSH)’s efforts to ensure the people of my country have access to quality health services. Indeed, I am many things. Before all else:

I am a woman of Nigeria.

The Girl Child in Nigeria

From the beginning, our girl children are at a disadvantage.

Our culture (like many are) is strongly patriarchal. The boy child is given higher status than the girl child. If a family has to choose, the boy child is the first to go to school. The girl child is the first to be dropped from school.

No matter how young she is, the girl child feels that it is her responsibility to care for her siblings. She is expected to take on added responsibilities and earn money to keep the other children. This pressure frequently leads to early sexual activity, transactional sex, and sex with older men-- increasing her risk of getting HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections.

Then Boko Haram came to the North East Zone of Nigeria. They take our girls away. They abuse them. They rape them. They marry them off to older men.

{Photo: Dominic Chavez}Photo: Dominic Chavez

The key element of any health system is the people who run it. Nowhere is this more true than in countries in the midst of, or recovering from, conflict. Indirect or direct threats faced by health workers exacerbate a population’s challenges in seeking and receiving health care.

In conflict settings, health workers may be forced to flee to safe havens as refugees, internally displaced people, or leave the country as migrants—if they have the means to do so. Some of the most capable are absorbed into international agencies. Those who remain frequently have insufficient resources to perform their jobs and must carry on as best as they can under daunting circumstances.

This situation has worsened in recent years with a growing number of direct attacks on health workers in fragile states, such as those against polio vaccinators in Pakistan and Nigeria. These blatant violations of the Geneva Conventions inhibit an already difficult environment for the delivery of health services and the recovery or development of the health system.

When Mearege gets really sick, her husband leaves town. Bedridden and in the care of her parents, Mearege gets tested and learns she--and her daugther--are HIV-positive. Through the support of mother mentors, trained by the Ethiopia Network for HIV/AIDS Treatment, Care and Support Program (ENHAT-CS), Mearege finds solace, guidance, and healing -- and decides to have another child.

Mearege is one of many HIV-positive women in Ethiopia whose lives have been transformed, with the support of ENHAT-CS. Says Mearege:

I was able to have a healthy child because I followed up with the mentor mothers and applied their teaching...

Presented by ENHAT-CS in partnership with the National Network of Positive Women Ethiopians, this video is made possible by the generous support of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Watch video

 {Photo credit: Julie O'Brien/MSH}Haiti.Photo credit: Julie O'Brien/MSH

This post is part of MSH's Global Health Impact Blog series, Improving Health in Haiti: Remember, Rebuild. The post originally appeared on LMGforHealth.org, the blog of the US Agency for International Development (USAID)'s Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and a consortium of partners.

 {Photo credit: Dominic Chavez}Brissault Eunise (seated) watching over her daughter Kerwencia, after receiving breast feeding classes.Photo credit: Dominic Chavez

This post is part of MSH's Global Health Impact Blog series, Improving Health in Haiti: Remember, Rebuild.

As January 12, 2015 marked the fifth anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and its partner organizations, including the Leadership, Management & Governance Project/Haiti, brought together Haitian and US government officials and key global health stakeholders for two days of meetings and events highlighting health progresses made in Haiti since 2010.

Update, April 14, 2015:

Watch video recordings of the summit


Original post continues:

Haitian health leaders meet on Capitol Hill

{Photo: Mark Tuschman, Kenya}Photo: Mark Tuschman, Kenya

Not Beyond Us. This is the theme of World Cancer Day 2015. But how will we achieve it? Cancer can seem insurmountable. The global cancer burden is great. In 2012, 8.2 million people died from cancer-related causes—most of them in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, which experiences more cases and more deaths than anywhere else: 60 percent of the 14 million new cancer cases annually and 70 percent of all cancer-related deaths occur in the developing world. The same countries bearing the brunt of the cancer burden have the fewest resources to tackle it.

Still we know and remind one another today, the 4th of February: We can and must stop vaccine-preventable cancers and reduce preventable cancer deaths. We must reduce the cancer inequities.

Cancer, you are not beyond us.  

Among women, cervical cancer is one of the deadliest -- and most easily preventable -- cancers.  Women in the developing world account for 85 percent of the 270,000 deaths every year.  Yet we know that effective prevention, treatment and care are possible.

{Photo credt: Katy Doyle/MSH}Photo credt: Katy Doyle/MSH

For the third consecutive year, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) sponsored an internal storytelling contest, inviting staff to submit MSH's best examples of saving lives and improving health around the world.

Today, we share the top 12 stories of 2014, as selected by a cross-section of staff, in this special edition of our Global Health Impact Newsletter.

Click on each story to learn more about the people, projects, and partners who, together with MSH, make strong health systems happen. Visit 11 of the countries where we work and meet a few of the thousands of people whose lives have been transformed.

~ Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, MSH President & CEO

 {Photo credit: Maureen Taft-Morales/Haiti}A community health worker visits a family and records health data.Photo credit: Maureen Taft-Morales/Haiti

This post is part of MSH's Global Health Impact Blog series, Improving Health in Haiti: Remember, Rebuild.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) sponsored a Congressional Staff Study Tour in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in December 2014 to help staffers get a first-hand account of health progress in Haiti. The overarching focus of the trip was how US government funded health efforts in Haiti are being leveraged for health impact and the role of the Haitian government in that process. 

{Photo: Mark Tuschman, Kenya}Photo: Mark Tuschman, Kenya

This post originally appeared as part of the Woman-Centered Universal Health Coverage Series, hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) and USAID|TRAction, which discusses the importance of utilizing a woman-centered agenda to operationalize universal health coverage. To contribute a post to MHTF's series, please contact Katie Millar.

Who is accountable for the young woman dying during childbirth in a hospital in Lusaka, Zambia? For the woman in a health center in Bugiri in Uganda? For the girl child in a rural home in Uttar Pradesh, India? In a shanty town in Tegucigalpa, Honduras? Who is accountable for the women and adolescent girls in a thousand places everywhere?

 Improving Health in Haiti: Santé Pour le Développment et la Stabilité d'Haïti, final report cover photo.

People of Haiti: We remember your struggle. We applaud your success. We reaffirm our commitment to work, shoulder to shoulder, to support your efforts to improve health …

This year marks the 5th anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake (January 12, 2010) that devastated Haiti’s already-fragile health system. For the next several weeks, we are featuring Improving Health in Haiti: Remember, Rebuild, a blog series of retrospective and fresh content based on MSH’s thirty-plus years of working shoulder-to-shoulder in partnership with the people of Haiti to strengthen and rebuild the country’s health system.

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