Women & Gender

{Photo credit: Center for Global Health and Diplomacy.}Photo credit: Center for Global Health and Diplomacy.

Join us as world leaders gather for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting and the 69th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, NY (US).

MSH President & CEO Dr. Jonathan D. Quick will address CGI participants this week to share our vision for scaling-up access to medicines to 70 million people in rural and underserved areas in Africa. Throughout CGI and UNGA, MSH also will highlight our work and vision for universal health coverage and improving women's health in the post-2015 development.

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

MSH spoke with Fabio Castaño, MD, MPH, global technical lead of family planning and reproductive health about MSH’s approach to family planning and what will define the future of family planning and global health. Below is part one of the conversation. 

What is MSH’s approach to family planning and reproductive health?

[Dr. Fabio Castaño.]Dr. Fabio Castaño.Fabio:

First of all, I have to tell you that MSH has been working on family planning [FP] for over 40 years. Our first-ever international program was working with Korea! We supported their successful story of making FP an essential part of public health activities. At that time, we worked on FP from a standpoint of population control. Then, to help improve the health situation, and also contributing to reducing poverty. So, that is an interesting piece of history for MSH.

 {Photo credit: Gwenn Dubourthoumieu.}Abuja National Hospital, Nigeria.Photo credit: Gwenn Dubourthoumieu.

In years to come we will look back on the summer of 2014 and recall the US Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths campaign as a turning point in our struggle to reduce maternal, newborn, and child mortality and morbidity. USAID announced this summer that it is realigning $2.9 billion of the Agency’s resources to refocus on high-impact programs with proven track records to save women, newborns, and children under five.

 {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

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