The Lancet

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

Universal health coverage (UHC) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are high priorities in global health—just look at the proposed post-2015 development goals. The increasing burden of NCDs is widely recognised, and a growing list of countries have joined the UHC movement. But what’s less widely understood is why a UHC approach is necessary for an effective NCD response.

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

This post originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) Blog as part of a series celebrating the one-year anniversary of The Lancet publishing “A Manifesto for Maternal Health post-2015,” co-authored by Ana Langer, Richard Horton, and Guerino Chalamilla.

In celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Manifesto for Maternal Health, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) congratulates our global community, including ministries of health, their partners, and the women we serve and work with, on the progress made toward creating a healthier world for mothers and their babies.

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

“A world where everyone has the opportunity for a healthy life.” This is MSH’s vision, guiding our efforts every day to save lives and improve health among the poorest and most vulnerable populations. In 2014, universal health coverage (UHC) will play a pivotal role in helping us attain this vision.  MSH has vigorously supported UHC because we’re committed to the human right to health, deeply embedded in UHC, and because it’s the only approach that transforms health systems to mobilize all available resources towards the affordable, quality health services that people need.

 {Photo: MSH Staff}Participants at a senior leadership training in Rwanda discuss best practices for country ownership.Photo: MSH Staff

This post originally appeared on the LMGforHealth Blog.

In discussions around the importance of country ownership of health-related activities and initiatives, both Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project are committed to making sure that the role of civil society is taken into consideration and promoted, in line with USAID Forward’s drive to engage and strengthen local capacity.

Frieda Komba, a licensed drug dispenser in Tanzania. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Each year over 10 million men, women, and children in developing countries die as a result of our collective failure to deliver available safe, affordable, and proven prevention and treatment. A recent analysis of innovations in products and practices for global health, from the Hepatitis B vaccine to use of skilled birth attendants, revealed virtually none of these life-saving interventions reaches much more than half their target population—even after as many as 28 years of availability. This reflects a vast gap between knowledge and action in global health.

Successful Health Systems Innovations

Low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) benefit from continued innovations in health products and health practices, such as use of misoprostol to prevent post-partum hemorrhage, and technologies such as internet-based mHealth applications to protect the poor from catastrophic health expenditures.  To ensure such innovations achieve large-scale, widespread coverage, they must be accompanied by much more effective health systems innovations.

Only one in twenty cancer patients in Africa receives needed chemotherapy. This is unacceptable. Much needs to be done, much can be done, and much must be done to close the cancer divide.

Mother and children, Salima, Malawi, April 2011

Malawi leads the developing world as the first to propose an approach to prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV that addresses the health of the mother. Recently my MSH colleague Erik Schouten and his colleagues in Malawi wrote a commentary in the Lancet about Malawi’s innovative, public health approach to PMTCT. Malawi calls its model “B+” because it complements the World Health Organization’s (WHO) B option, whereby a mother’s CD4 cell count, a measure of the volume of HIV circulating in her blood, determines her eligibility for lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART).

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