UNGA Week Roundup: MSH Hosts Health Systems Strengthening Events

UNGA Week Roundup: MSH Hosts Health Systems Strengthening Events

Femi Oke, international journalist and emcee (L) and Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, president and CEO of MSH (R) toast to health systems heroes on September 20 in New York. (Photo credit: David Neff)

One year ago, the UN General Assembly adopted an ambitious new agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 3 of the SDGs requires a focus on health systems strengthening to meet targets for universal health coverage and primary care. MSH and partners hosted many lively discussions on stronger health systems for women and children, epidemic prevention, and prevention of chronic diseases during the 71st UN General Assembly week. Here are some highlights from New York.

A Toast to Health Systems Heroes

Left to right: Health Systems Hero Annette Widmann-Mauz, Parliamentary State Secretary, Germany; Presenter Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director General, Health Systems and Innovation, WHO; Health Systems Hero Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare, Japan; and Health Systems Hero Michael Myers, Managing Director, The Rockefeller Foundation, at "A Toast to Health Systems Heroes." (Photo Credit: David Neff)

MSH recognized 10 leading public health professionals for their unique contributions to strengthening health systems worldwide at "A Toast to Health Systems Heroes." The honorees and presenters included people at all levels of the health system—from governments, to the private sector, community health workers and civil society—who are working to save lives and improve the health of some of the world's most vulnerable populations. The event, hosted by international journalist and television host Femi Oke, was held at Manhattan's Riverpark Restaurant on September 20 in conjunction with the 71st United Nations General Assembly. Event partners included IHP+ for UHC2030, The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), and the No More Epidemics campaign.

"A strong health system relies on many interconnected parts: people, medicines, information, facilities, well-trained personnel, and committed partners and funders who are providing maternal and child health, disease prevention and eradication, training and leadership, advocacy, and resources," said Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, MSH President and CEO. "Tonight we celebrate and honor the lifesaving work of inspiring global health heroes working all across the globe, who are achieving remarkable improvements in health for people and communities."

The 2016 Health Systems Heroes awards lauded innovators and visionaries, such as Dr. Bernice Dahn, a world renowned minister of health who faced down one of the greatest scourges of the 21st century: the Ebola epidemic in Liberia; Elizabeth Shekalaghe of Tanzania's Pharmacy Council, a woman whose work is making it possible for the people of her country to get the right medication to people at the right time; Susana Chavez of Peru, a civil society advocate striving to ensure equitable access to sexual and reproductive health services for disadvantaged people, particularly youth and LGBT; Rhudnie Angrand, a nurse whose work helped achieve near universal immunization coverage among children in her state in northeastern Haiti; and many more leaders and partners in the public and private sectors who are bringing forward ideas and action to expand health coverage, provide health services, and prevent epidemics.

Read more about our Health Systems Heroes

View photos from the event

Watch a video recording of the event


Shaping Accountability for Success: Achieving the Global Strategy and the SDGs

Event speakers from left to right: Emanuele Capobianco, Flavia Bustreo, Carmen Barroso, Richard Horton, Zulfiqar Bhutta, and Cesar Victora. (Photo Credit: J. Cook Photography)

Upon the opening of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, world experts in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH) came together to share ideas for better data, citizen- and youth-led accountability, and strategies for unified accountability initiatives during the Sustainable Development Goals era. The September 18 event was convened by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), the Independent Accountability Panel for Every Woman Every Child (IAP) and Countdown to 2030 — with coordination support from the FCI Program of MSH. 

"This is the group of pioneers," said David Nabarro, special advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. "You're in the laboratory where we will test out new ideas."

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Global Launch of the Lancet Maternal Health Series 

Amy Boldosser-Boesch, senior director of the FCI Program of MSH, emphasized the importance of integrating maternal and newborn health initiatives, addressing social determinants, and improving access to respectful, high-quality care. (Photo Credit: J. Cook Photography)

The Lancet launched its new maternal health series, which reviews the last decade of evidence on maternal health globally and champions urgent action to guarantee that every woman and every newborn can access high-quality care.

Amy Boldosser-Boesch, senior director of the FCI Program of MSH, co-authored a comment on “quality, equity, and dignity for women and babies” for the series. Boldosser-Boesch joined international maternal health experts at the launch of the series — along with Professor Oona Campbell, series co-lead, and Professor Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine — for a discussion of the series and its implications for improving maternal and newborn health.

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Youth Voices for Young Lives: How Young People and Governments are Partnering to Improve Adolescent Health

 Anoyara Khatun, a youth champion from Save the Children India, speaks about working in her community to end human trafficking and child marriage. Also pictured (left to right): Patrick Mwesigye, Yemurai Nyoni, and Michalina Drejza. (Photo Credit: J. Cook Photography)

Addressing health ministers, a panel of youth advocates called for youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health programs, the end of child marriage and trafficking, and efforts to collect better data on adolescent and youth SRH.

In response, health ministers and secretaries from India, Mozambique, Argentina, and Nigeria agreed that collaboration with youth is necessary. They offered ideas for engaging other ministries and working with youth on national health plans to maximize impact on adolescents’ lives.

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From Overwhelmed to Resilient: Strengthening Health Systems to Better Serve Vulnerable Women and Children

Liberia's Minister of Health Dr. Bernice Dahn addresses the audience (Photo Credit: MSH Staff)

This discussion, held at the Population Council on September 19, explored the new challenges countries’ health systems face, how they impact the health of women and children, and solutions for mitigating those risks. Each panelist briefly discussed women and children's health challenges in a crisis region and then provided solutions for mitigating those risks and improving maternal and child health despite the circumstances. We were honored to have Liberia's Minister of Health Dr. Bernice Dahn provide the keynote address titled “After Ebola,” in which she shared how her ministry is leading national efforts to rebuild Liberia's devastated health system. 

 


 

From Dollars to Deeds: Leadership in Global Health Financing

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ethiopia's former minister of health and current minister of foreign affairs, gives the keynote address. (Photo Credit: MSH Staff)

This discussion, held September 20, highlighted the role of financial leadership in achieving the sustainable development goals. The panel aimed to enhance understanding of the future of global health financing, domestic resource mobilization, and ongoing partnerships and assistance from donors and the private sector. Featuring Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ethiopia's former minister of health and current minister of foreign affairs, the diverse group of panelists stimulated discussion about the pathways to success and how to ensure the poor and most vulnerable are not left behind. In his keynote speech, Dr. Tedros shared best practices from the experience that transformed Ethiopia's health system by investing in infrastructure, building the health workforce, and developing innovative ways to direct resources where they were most needed. Stakeholders representing government, civil society, NGOs, and the private sector from many countries participated in the talk-show style discussion, co-sponsored by MSH, Dentons, Princeton University, Rabin Martin, and the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention.

 


NCD Alliance: Leveraging Solutions to Improve Access to Health Care for People Living with NCDs

Panelists discussed efforts to strengthen health systems for improved prevention, care, and treatment of non-communicable diseases. (Photo Credit: Adam Watt)

Moderated by Catharine Taylor, vice president of the health programs group at MSH, this session examined the complex dimensions of access to health services for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and discussed efforts to strengthen health systems for improved prevention, care, and treatment of NCDs. Beyond medicines and technologies, the difficulties in access to health care for NCDs highlight a number of complexities that can arise at multiple levels across the patient's health care ecosystem, including prevention, early detection, treatment, and disease management. The discussion, held September 20, highlighted evidence-based solutions and lessons learned in the fight against NCDs, provided powerful patient perspectives on barriers to health care access, and focused on opportunities and approaches to improved access to services for people living with NCDs. The diverse group of panelists shared perspectives, lessons, and opportunities that universal health coverage provides, and recommendations for improved implementation across the world. Speakers called for increased political and financial commitments to strengthen health systems that can improve care and treatment of NCDs. 


Revolutionizing Primary Health Care: How Technology and New Investment Models Can Revolutionize Reach, Access, and Quality

Dr. Jonathan Quick (L) with Nana Kuo (M) of Every Woman, Every Child and Niraj Singh (R) of Vodafone (Photo Credit: MSH Staff)

MSH President and CEO Dr. Jonathan D. Quick participated in this thought leaders event hosted September 22 by Devex and Philips and moderated by Raj Kumar, president and editor-in-chief of Devex, exploring the role of the private sector in transforming primary health care and achieving universal health coverage. He was joined by Nana Kuo, senior manager, Every Woman, Every Child; Niraj Singh, global head, international public sector at Vodafone Global Enterprise; and Ronald de Jong, chief market leader, executive vice president, and member of the executive committee of Royal Philips. Dr. Quick emphasized that the revolution in primary care is taking care closer to home, utilizing technology and incorporating more self-care. He talked about how mHealth technologies have galvanized primary care around the world and how the private sector in Liberia includes the trained, licensed and accredited drug shops, primarily owned by women, who improve child health and nutrition for thousands. All panelists talked about silos still existing in primary health care, the "culture clash" that often exists between the development community, public and private sectors, and how to overcome this divide.

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