Women & Gender

{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.

The US Agency for International Development () and partners are hosting a Twitter relay today, June 24, from 9 am to 5 pm ET as part of the "20 Days of Action for " campaign.

We () are leading the conversation, from 12:30 to 1:00 pm ET, on "All levels, all functions, all places: Building local capacity for stronger health systems".

Follow or join us with hashtag " href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MomandBaby?src=hash">!

View the Twitter relay schedule

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

Supporting Stronger Health Systems for Healthy Mothers and Children

 {Photo credit: Amarachi Obinna-Nnadi/MSH}Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, MSH’s Nigeria Country Representative, speaking during the African Health Innovation meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.Photo credit: Amarachi Obinna-Nnadi/MSH

"Good leadership skills, flexible policies, and constant advocacy will improve health in Africa," said Dr. Zipporah Kpamor during her talk at the Africa Health Innovation meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, on May 7, 2014. As Management Sciences for Health (MSH’s) Nigeria Country Representative and project director for the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-funded US Agency for International Development (USAID) project, Community-Based Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CUBS), Zipporah is an expert on the conference’s theme: Leapfrogging development challenges to transform Africa’s health. 

Zipporah offered poignant insight on one of the meeting’s discussion topics: Leadership, policy, and advocacy for health in Africa:

 {Photo credit: MSH.}Women test their new eyeglasses received at The Luke Commission’s mobile clinic in Swaziland.Photo credit: MSH.

The Building Local Capacity for Delivery of HIV Services in Southern Africa (BLC) Project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), provided a grant to The Luke Commission (TLC) to deliver safe medical male circumcision to men and boys in Swaziland. The BLC Project also provides organizational capacity building support to TLC. A version of this post originally appeared on the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Regional Exchange (SHARE) blog.

Imagine the impact of a mobile clinic on your life if you lived in a rural area, did not earn an income, and could not afford to pay for transport to the clinic in the nearest city when you were ill. This situation results in some people waiting too long to access treatment for serious conditions—or putting off simple diagnostic tests for tuberculosis or HIV—and is why a mobile clinic is of such monumental importance to communities in Swaziland.

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

Editor's note, June 24, 2014: Chat with us (" href="https://twitter.com/MSHHealthImpact">) from 12:30-1:00 pm ET today, about building local capacity to strengthen health systems and end preventable child and maternal deaths, even in the most remote, rural, and fragile areas. Follow or join the Twitter relay today, led by and partners, with hashtag " href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MomandBaby?src=hash">.


The goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths is within reach.


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