MNCH

{Photo credit: Todd Shapera, Rwanda}Photo credit: Todd Shapera, Rwanda

Rwanda is one of the "biggest success stories" of countries improving child survival since 2000, the BBC World News reported April 29, 2015, linking to a podcast on BBC's The Inquiry.  

Randy Wilson, Principal Technical Advisor, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), spoke with BBC The Inquiry's Helena Merriman about MSH's role supporting Rwanda's efforts, including training community health workers with RapidSMS to saves lives. Said Wilson:

We helped to introduce RapidSMS within the districts, training 45,000 community health workers, many of whom who had never touched a cell phone in their life.

Wilson continued: "If there's even the slightest evidence" of a health concern, RapidSMS "encourages the community health worker not only to refer, but also to accompany, the mother to a facility where they get proper care."

{Screenshot, BBC, April 29, 2015}Screenshot, BBC, April 29, 2015According to the BBC:

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

In the Geita District in Tanzania’s Lake Zone, some 10 kilometers from the nearest health facility, a one-year-old girl child wakes up crying with a severe fever. “We used to walk more than 10 kilometers to present our sick children to Geita Regional Hospital,” says Joyce Bahati, the girl’s mother.

Access to proper diagnosis and medicine is critical when a child develops a severe fever. A long journey can delay treatment, or for some, discourage seeking care altogether. In rural sub-Saharan Africa, where the nearest fully-functional health facility may be, at best, a three-hour journey on foot, women and children often turn first to community-based caregivers and medicines sellers or small health dispensaries as first providers of primary health care, including severe fever.

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

Currently, there is strong interest in global women and children’s issues on Capitol HIll, with several Members of Congress declaring bipartisan interest in introducing maternal, newborn, and child survival (MNCS) legislation on Mother’s Day 2015.  MSH is actively engaged in supporting this effort and using our technical expertise to help ensure any proposed legislation is evidence&;based.

To this end, MSH's Policy & Advocacy Unit recently joined the newly&;formed MNCS Working Group, a coalition of like-minded NGOs that are trying to build broader congressional support and education around the importance of MNCS issues.

We look forward to seeing Congress introduce and pass legislation that prioritizes MNCS in US foreign policy and establishes bold leadership from the US on reaching the global goal of ending preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths within a generation.

 {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.

Photo credit: Warren Zelman

Every year, pneumonia kills approximately 936,000 children under the age of five, accounting for 15 percent of all deaths within this age group. One of the worst affected countries is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where pneumonia took the lives of nearly 50,000 children in 2013, including almost 7,000 newborns.

For the sixth year, people around the global are bringing awareness to this critical—and solvable—problem by commemorating World Pneumonia Day today, November 12th. This year’s theme is: “Universal access to pneumonia prevention and care”.

[CDC: World Pneumonia Day 2014]CDC: World Pneumonia Day 2014

 {Photo credit: Jon Jay/MSH.}FROM LEFT: Joanne Manrique, Center for Global Health and Diplomacy; Sheila Tlou, UNAIDS (Eastern and Southern Africa), Former MOH Bostwana; Irene Kiwia, Tanzania Women of Achievement; Catharine Taylor, MSH; Kate Gilmore, UNFPA; Raymonde Goudou Coffie, MOH, Cote d'Ivoire; Language interpreter.Photo credit: Jon Jay/MSH.

Experience the 69th UN General Assembly (UNGA) and Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting as we take you through some of the key events in photos, videos, and tweets. More than a dozen Management Sciences for Health (MSH) representatives led or participated in UNGA and CGI activities in New York City, New York, last week.

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: 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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