health systems

L to R: MSH staffer Niniola Soleye and her aunt, Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh

My aunt, Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, identified and contained the first case of Ebola in Nigeria.  She paid with her life because the health system was not ready to deal with Ebola.  The system has since caught up, and is today a model for other countries.  But the loss of such a gifted doctor and family anchor is incalculable.

Ebola arrived in Nigeria at a time when doctors at all federal government hospitals were on a labor strike (my aunt worked in a private hospital).  After ongoing negotiations with the government failed to meet their demands, the doctors – desperate to see significant changes in the health system and seeking improved salaries, positions, and titles – reached their breaking point.  So they went on an indefinite strike.

Patrick Sawyer – the index case – left quarantine in Liberia and collapsed at the airport in Lagos, Nigeria.  He was trying to travel to a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Calabar, Nigeria.

 {Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH.}Ayanda Ntsaluba (right) Executive Director of Discovery Health and Former Director-General of Health for South Africa, welcomes participants to the Third Global Governance for Health Roundtable.Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and a consortium of partners lead the US Agency for International Development's (USAID's) Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project. These posts originally appeared on LMG's blog as two posts (Day 1 and Day 2). They also appeared on MSH's Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research conference blog (Day 1, Day 2).

MSH President & CEO Jonathan D. Quick says "investment in health systems, including epidemic preparedness, is the only way to ensure rapid containment of the next disease outbreak," in today's The New York Times.

"Developing strong health systems will ensure the collective well-being for all over the long term," said MSH President & CEO Jonathan D. Quick in a Letter to the Editor, published October 3, 2014, in The New York Times.

In the letter responding to Nicholas Kristof's Sept. 25 column, “The Ebola Fiasco”, Dr. Quick wrote:

Nicholas Kristof rightly states that early action on Ebola could have saved lives and money. The early investment should have been in bolstering the health systems for the long term—not as a quick fix after Ebola had re-emerged. ...

Steady international and national investment in health systems, including epidemic preparedness, is the only way to ensure rapid containment of the next disease outbreak—which surely will come—and to avoid the human and financial cost of an epidemic out of control.

Read Dr. Quick's Letter to the Editor in today's The New York Times (print edition or online).

{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: <a href="http://www.kwibuka.rw/">Kwibuka 20</a>}The #Kwibuka20 Flame of Remembrance burning bright at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, Rwanda.Photo credit: Kwibuka 20

Twenty years ago, the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi began in Rwanda. Nearly a million people were slaughtered from April through July, 1994.

In 2003, the UN General Assembly designated April 7 as International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. This year, to mark the 20th anniversary, the Republic of Rwanda launched Kwibuka20 (“Remember20”), a series of events commemorating the tragedy and honoring the nearly one million Rwandans who lost their lives.

The theme of Kwibuka20, “Remember, Unite, Renew”, also celebrates the remarkable story of resilience and hope of the Rwandan people, who are building a new, prosperous, and cohesive society. Kwibuka20 calls on the global community to stand together against genocide in three key ways:

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

Addressing NCDs is critical for global public health, but it will also be good for the economy; for the environment; for the global public good in the broadest sense… If we come together to tackle NCDs, we can do more than heal individuals–we can safeguard our very future.

- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in his remarks to the UN General Assembly in 2011

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the LIVESTRONG Foundation (LIVESTRONG) are proud to sponsor a Congressional staff study tour to Uganda and Rwanda examining the key elements of the countries' health systems with a particular focus on how the countries are addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases.

Strong health systems are the most sustainable way of improving health and saving lives at large scale. For a health system to address the needs of its people it must:

Dr. Jonathan Quick, President and CEO of MSH, tours with Dr. Christian Nzitimira, director of Kibagabaga Hospital in Rwanda. {Photo credit: Jon Jay/MSH.}Photo credit: Jon Jay/MSH.

In a postoperative ward of Kibagabaga Hospital, the district hospital serving Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali, Eric Bizimana sits up in bed. Bizimana, 25, had sought care after severe pain in his right leg forced him to stop work as a barber. He was diagnosed with a bone infection called osteomyelitis. Antibiotics alone couldn’t clear the infection. Without an operation to remove the diseased bone, Eric faced the possibility of losing his leg.

Eric was one of the 40 patients who enter Kibagabaga for surgery every day. In Rwanda’s tiered healthcare delivery system, patients are referred from local health centers up to the district hospital when their conditions require more complex care. Most babies are delivered at health centers, for example, but a woman suffering complications or who was expected to need a C-section would be referred to the district level.

K4Health Knowledge Management/Health Systems Strengthening Conceptual Framework. {Image credit: MSH.}Image credit: MSH.

Cross-posted from the K4Health blog

No matter which health system building block you are trying to improve, you need specific data, information, and knowledge to inform your decision-making process—this is where good knowledge management comes in handy.

The Intersection of Knowledge Management and Health Systems Strengthening: Implications from the Malawi Knowledge for Health Demonstration Project” provides an interesting case study of the connection between improved knowledge management and health systems strengthening.

Health for All.Health for All.

The October edition of MSH's Global Health Impact newsletter (subscribe), features stories of people, communities, and countries on the road toward universal health coverage (UHC).

The vital role of the essential package for health impact

On the Road to Universal Health Coverage: The Vital Role of the Essential Package for Health Impact

Devex interviews MSH President & CEO Dr. Jonathan D. Quick at the Clinton Global Initiative 2012. {Photo credit: Devex.}Photo credit: Devex.

Devex interviews MSH President & CEO Dr. Jonathan D. Quick at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting.

"The last decade has been a stunning decade for global health. If you look at what's been achieved in AIDS, TB, malaria, --- less so in family planning, but still progress --- it's been an amazing decade," says MSH President & CEO Dr. Jonathan D. Quick in an interview with Devex.

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