Women & Gender

 {Photo credit: SIAPS Program/MSH.}Workshop participants discuss how local procurement practices affect access to quality maternal health medicines at the district level in Bangladesh.Photo credit: SIAPS Program/MSH.

Expanding access to essential maternal health medicines saves mothers’ lives. Access to life-saving maternal medicines requires an effective supply chain that delivers the right medicines to the right people at the right times. In many countries, weak pharmaceutical management systems are unable to meet the challenges of providing access to these essential medicines. While efforts to date have been focused on providing support to strengthen national level programs and procurement practices, there is growing evidence that suggests that local procurement (at the district, or hospital level) of these essential medicines is common in many countries.

 {Photo credit: Jafary Liana/MSH.}Gates Foundation delegates visit an Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlet in Tanzania.Photo credit: Jafary Liana/MSH.

Dr. Trevor Mundel and other senior staff of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation traveled to Tanzania this summer to see first-hand the successes of Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlets (ADDO). The ADDO program, which began in 2001, grew out of the need to transform the duka la dawa biridis—unlicensed retail drug shops—into profitable, government-accredited drug dispensing outlets that supply quality medicines and services to underserved populations in Tanzania.

Dr. Mundel, Gates Foundation's President of Global Health, was hosted by Management Sciences for Health’s (MSH) Sustainable Drug Seller Initiatives (SDSI) team along with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) and the Pharmacy Council (PC). The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided generous funding to support Tanzania’s health sector—including the piloting, sustainability, and maintenance of the ADDO program.

 {Photo credit: Barbara Ayotte/MSH.}Michel Sidibé of @UNAIDS speaking at the AIDS 2014 opening ceremony.Photo credit: Barbara Ayotte/MSH.

From a somber beginning to a closing ceremony calling for “Stepping Up the Pace on HIV & AIDS,” health, and human rights (PDF), the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) provided insight, inspiration, and imperative for the critical work ahead. Here are our top eight takeaways from AIDS 2014.

{Photo credit: Todd Shapera.}Photo credit: Todd Shapera.

This post originally appeared on LMGforHealth.org in celebration of International Youth Day (August 12).

The current generation of 1.8 billion adolescents is the largest in history. These 1.8 billion people have a tremendous impact on all parts of the health system. Here are 10 reasons why young people can lead us to a healthier future:

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

MSH welcomes the news that Uganda's anti-homesexuality law has been annulled by the country's Constitutional Court. President Yoweri Museveni signed the law into effect in February.

According to BBC News Africa (August 1, 2014):

[The Ugandan Constitutional Court] ruled that the bill was passed by [Members of Parliament] in December without the requisite quorum and was therefore illegal.

Homosexual acts were already illegal, but the new law allowed for life imprisonment for 'aggravated homosexuality' and banned the 'promotion of homosexuality'.

Several donors have cut aid to Uganda since the law was adopted.

Read MSH's statement on the anti-homosexuality law (March 3, 2014).

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}(Mothers in the Democratic Republic of Congo)Photo credit: Warren Zelman

Although the global community has had significant success in reducing maternal and child deaths in the past two decades, they continue to die of preventable causes at an alarming rate. This is especially pronounced for the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations. Universal access to maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) commodities and services remains a major challenge, even among countries that are on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for reducing maternal and child mortality. Last week, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) concluded a social media campaign to increase awareness of the ongoing need and enhanced efforts to end preventable maternal and child deaths: 20 Days of Action for . Through a pharmaceutical systems strengthening approach, the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program is working to improve access to quality MNCH commodities.

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

MSH is one of 52 finalists in USAID's Grand Challenge to pitch an idea that will accelerate substantial and sustainable progress against maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths at the community level.

The idea: Piloting a model that uses mobile phone decision-support tools by small accredited drug dispensing outlets (ADDOs) in Tanzania to

 

  • counsel and provide needed medicines to pregnant women
  • identify and rapidly refer at-risk pregnant and postpartum women and their newborns to health facilities
  • provide family planning counseling, dispensing, and referral

 

The name: Innovative mHealth Approach to Improving the Quality of Maternal and Newborn Care in Tanzanias Private Sector Drug Shops

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

On the eve of the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014), Rachel Hassinger, editor of MSH’s Global Health Impact Blog, spoke with Dr. Scott Kellerman, global technical lead on HIV & AIDS, to discuss his latest research on prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and pediatric HIV & AIDS. Kellerman and colleagues will be attending AIDS 2014, July 20-25, in Melbourne, Australia. (Read more about the conference.)

RH: What is the state of HIV & AIDS globally?

[Scott Kellerman]Scott KellermanSK: We are at the threshold of a sea change. In the beginning, our HIV prevention tool box was sparse. We could offer extended counseling and condoms, and impart information, but not much else. Behavioral change was the cornerstone of tackling the epidemic. It worked sometimes, but, not consistently.

Now biomedical advances are propelling treatment as prevention—even what I call “treatment IS prevention”.

Guess who's coming to the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne, Australia, July 20-25?

President Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the US and founder of the Clinton Foundation; activist Sir Bob Geldof; Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS; and Ambassador Deborah Birx, US Global AIDS Coordinator of US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), are among confirmed high-level speakers.

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

With United Nations (UN) member states continuing to negotiate recommendations on the post-2015 development process, stakeholders met last Thursday in New York to discuss the potential of universal health coverage (UHC) to drive improvements in women’s health.

The event coincided with the 12th session of the Open Working Group of UN member states, whose working draft recommendations had included targets on UHC, maternal and child survival, and reproductive healthcare access; panelists and audience members spanned UN missions, civil society, private sector, foundations, and academia.

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