Women & Gender

 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.

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.

#HealthforAll. Everywhere. ]" width="200">. Everywhere. Post updated: December 9, 2014, 11:30 am EST

On Friday, December 12, 2014, a global coalition will launch the first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) and call for universal health coverage (UHC) to be a cornerstone of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and a priority for all nations. UHC Day encourages civil society organizations from around the globe to publicly display support of UHC and health for all on Friday. Over four hundred organizations have already joined the call.

 {Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/MSH}Participants and model wheelchair users on the last day of the WHO Wheelchair Service Training Package-Basic Level delivery in Manila, Philippines.Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/MSH

A version of this post originally appeared on the Leadership, Management & Governance Project Blog

Since 1992, the United Nations General Assembly has observed the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3. The annual observance aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. 

This year, the theme of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is "Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology".

{Photo credit: MSH staff, Afghanistan}Photo credit: MSH staff, Afghanistan

In 2013 diarrhea killed 578,000 children under the age of five, 9 percent of all deaths in this age group globally. The tragedy of these deaths is that they are avoidable at many levels. The risk of contracting diarrhea can be drastically decreased through basic hygiene measures, such as consistent and exclusive use of a latrine and washing one’s hands with soap. Once a child becomes ill with diarrhea, most cases can be managed with oral rehydration salts and zinc. But the gap between what is known in the public health community regarding prevention and treatment of diarrhea, and what is practiced in many settings, is wide and deadly.

In Afghanistan, diarrhea killed 13,000 children under the age of five in 2013 and was the third most frequent cause of mortality (after neonatal conditions and pneumonia) in the age group. Many organizations, including Management Sciences for Health (MSH), have worked to improve access to treatment for children with diarrhea, but less attention has been paid to prevention.

{Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH}Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH

Cross-posted with permission from the LMG Blog.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Leadership, Management & Governance Project (LMG), led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), is launching the East Africa Women's Mentoring Network. We are calling upon women leaders who have worked in family planning and reproductive health as service providers, midwives, program managers, policy makers, teachers, advocates, and other relevant positions to support the aspirations of younger women. We are seeking mentees interested in learning from seasoned professionals and mentors with experience, wisdom, and enthusiasm.

 {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: Mark Tuschman.}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.

This post originally appeared on the Community of Practice on Scale-up and Gender, Policy, and Measurement and US Agency for International Development (USAID)'s Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project Blog. Management Sciences for Health (MSH) leads the USAID-funded LMG project with a consortium of partners.

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