SIAPS

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

Azmara Ashenafi, a 35-year-old woman from the Amhara region of Ethiopia, was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) and placed on treatment. She was fortunate. Many people with TB are missed by health systems altogether. But Azmara’a treatment wasn’t helping. Despite taking medicine for months, her symptoms persisted and became more severe.

In many places, her story would have a sad ending—TB is one of the top three leading causes of death for women 15 to 44 in low- and middle-income countries.

But Azmara went to the Muja Health Center—one of over 1,600 supported by USAID's Help Ethiopia Address Low TB Performance (HEAL TB) program, and where MSH has been training health workers to screen patients for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

MDR-TB cannot be treated with the two most potent first line anti-TB drugs and infects 6,000 Ethiopians each year. To help curb the spread of the disease, health workers learn how to screen people in close contact with MDR-TB patients. All of Azmara’s family members were tested and both she and her three year old son Feseha were found to have MDR-TB.

"At the Duka" tells the story of a Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services Program (SIAPS) project to increase early detection of tuberculosis in Tanzania.

SIAPS partnered with the Tanzanian National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program to train drug dispensers on the symptoms of TB, so that they could refer clients with these symptoms to TB diagnostic and treatment centers for follow up.

The video is narrated by David Mabirizi (SIAPS Principal Technical Advisor), and features Gabriel Daniel (SIAPS Principal Technical Advisor), Edmund Rutta (SIAPS Senior Technical Advisor), and Salama Mwatawala (SIAPS Senior Technical Advisor).

Watch video

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

MSH's Principal Technical Advisor for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH) ">Beth Yeager has been named Chair of the Maternal Health Caucus of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. The Coalition, a prestigious global organization with members from the public, private, and non-governmental sectors, works to ensure access to affordable, high quality reproductive health supplies worldwide. The Maternal Health Caucus serves as a forum for addressing the challenges of access to reproductive health commodities, particularly magnesium sulfate, misoprostol, and oxytocin.

 {Photo credit: MSH.}USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah (right) is welcomed to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by Minister of Health Dr. Felix Kabange.Photo credit: MSH.

Last month, I had the honor of welcoming United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during a visit that took place December 15-18, 2013.

 {Photo provided by Ayyaz Kiani of DEV-NET.}(Left to right): Dr. Khalid Saeed, President of the Pakistan Pharmacists Association; Dr. Sania Nishtar, Founder and President of Heartfile; Dr. Ejaz Qadeer, NTP Manager; Dr. Azhar Hussain, Director of Pharmacy, Hamdad University, Islamabad; and Dr. Gul Majeed Khan, Chairman of the Department of Pharmacy, University Quaide Azam, Islamabad.Photo provided by Ayyaz Kiani of DEV-NET.

A version of this post originally appeared on the SIAPS program blog.

"Health care is not about what doctors and nurses do in hospitals," said Dr. Sania Nishtar. "There are a range of different stakeholders that need to play their parts."

" href="https://twitter.com/SaniaNishtar">Dr. Nishtar, keynote speaker at the "Engaging Pharmacists in TB Care and Control in Pakistan" stakeholders' meeting last week in Islamabad, Pakistan, highlighted the importance of involving all care providers in tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and treatment. The meeting of key stakeholders included representatives from the Ministry of Health, universities, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, among others.

The Supply Chain Management Subgroup of the Community Case Management (CCM) Taskforce is organizing a webinar series, beginning May 15, 2013.

Hosted by the CORE Group, the May 15 webinar will "provide an overview of the common pitfalls and bottlenecks of the CCM supply chain and potential solutions to these challenges."

Jane Briggs, principal technical advisor for USAID's Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) at MSH, and Sarah Andersson, a country technical advisor for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Supply Chain for Community Case Management (SC4CCM) at John Snow, Inc. (JSI), will present.

Visit the CORE Group website for the webinar link, or (if you miss it) to watch the recording.

Mildred shares her story of surviving XDR-TB at an event honoring "TB Champions" in DC; Ambassador Goosby listens. {Photo: E. Delmotte/MSH.}Photo: E. Delmotte/MSH.

Mildred Fernando lives and works in the Philippines for the USAID-funded, MSH-led, Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program. Mildred spoke at several World TB Day events in Washington, DC, including at a senate briefing and an event honoring TB survivors and advocates (watch video). The interview below first appeared on the SIAPS blog.

It all began in November 2001 for Mildred Fernando when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), a preventable and curable disease which caused the death of 1.4 million people in 2011. She was only 19 years old, working on completing her last semester in college when she contracted TB from her father who sadly succumbed to it two years later.

Patients wait in a well-ventilated area outside the TB clinic in Homa Bay, Kenya. {Photo credit: A. Kwiecien and A. Salakaia / MSH.}Photo credit: A. Kwiecien and A. Salakaia / MSH.

The state of tuberculosis (TB) is in a tug-of-war as current challenges threaten to undo past successes. One of the primary hurdles currently facing TB prevention and cure is the emergence of strains that are resistant to at least two of the most effective medicines (rifampicin and isoniazid).

So-called drug-resistant (DR)-TB arises when patients are unable to complete a full-course of appropriate, high quality anti-TB medicines. As compared with the 6 month treatment regimen for drug-sensitive (DS)-TB, DR-TB requires 18-24 months of treatment with medicines that are less effective, can cause sometimes severe side effects, and can cost up to 300 times more.

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