December 2013

Mildred Fernando shares her story of surviving XDR-TB at a symposium in Japan.

I never thought that being sick with tuberculosis (TB) for a decade would lead me to this purpose: being an advocate to fight and eliminate this disease--not just in my country, the Philippines, but all over the world.

I was recently invited by RESULTS Japan to represent TB patients' perspectives in the call for continuous funding from the Japanese government to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund). The advocacy activities, led by Results Japan, were in support to the Global Fund Fourth Replenishment which aims to secure financing for the years 2014-2016.

The Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health convened in Recife, Brazil from November 10-13, 2013.The Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health convened in Recife, Brazil from November 10-13, 2013.

The Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health (HRH Forum) brought together some 2,000 representatives of government, academia, professional associations, and civil society from 93 World Health Organization (WHO) Member States. Participants took stock of the current state of the global health workforce and committed to working toward universal health coverage (UHC), culminating in adoption of the Recife Declaration (PDF). "Country after country has outlined actions that will ultimately transform and improve the landscape for health workers, and prioritize their needs in a world with ever growing demands being placed on them," said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation and Executive Director a.i. of the Global Health Workforce Alliance.

 {Photo credit: Eric Miller}Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, accepts the offer to wear an HIV-Positive T-shirt.Photo credit: Eric Miller

(Also see MSH's official statement mourning the death of Nelson Mandela. —Eds.)

I am only one of thousands of young South Africans who left our country in our teen years, fleeing persecution for our political beliefs and actions, and believing that by leaving our country we would regroup and come back to contribute to the overthrow of the apartheid, racist regime.

Did we really believe that would happen?

I must say that the overwhelming urge for us to go on with the struggle and belief was the specter of Nelson Mandela addressing us in “Freedom Square” one day soon. What was most amazing about Madiba is that, for decades, we led protest marches all over the world without even knowing what he looked like, for the regime had banned all pictures of him and all we had was an artist’s impression of what he should have looked like.

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

“Please just cut to the chase! What do I need to know?” my son Jack asked.

As the mother of a 13-year-old boy, I’m witnessing firsthand how Jack and his buddies are adopting cultural male norms that neither one of us fully understands or endorses.

I’m also dealing with my own emotional dichotomy. Since my teens I’ve worked fervently to support women and girls equality, while more recently I find myself sympathizing with my son’s feelings: being left out of the conversation when it is focused solely on giving girls support. Imagine my surprise when said son (Jack) asked me about the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” campaign.

This was a teachable moment that I knew I had to seize.

You need to know some numbers, I said, how widespread the problem is, and why this campaign matters:

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

MSH's current newsletter (November/December 2013) features stories about the people on the frontlines improving health and saving lives: health workers.

A Note from Dr. Jonathan D. Quick

My MSH colleagues Mary O'Neil and Jonathan Jay blog about what we can learn from the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, held this November in Recife, Brazil:

Recife Top Ten: Together Toward Health for All

 {Photo credit: Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH).}Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, chief of party of MSH Nigeria (right), and Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist (left), participate in the family planning discussion in Washington, DC.Photo credit: Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH).

On December 3, Management Sciences for Health participated in an event organized by Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) on the importance of family planning for reducing maternal deaths and improving child survival. The informative Capitol Hill panel discussion (Where Do Christians Stand on Family Planning? Voices from the Global South) dispelled several misconceptions about Christian views on family planning and examined the under-reported role that many Christian organizations play in this sector. Panelists addressed two key myths.

Myth: Family planning equals abortion

Reverend Richard Cizik, the President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, said this myth is the most persistent and inaccurate. In fact, family planning encompasses a range of health interventions ranging from healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, counseling and education, breastfeeding, and contraceptive use.

Happy holidays from MSH!

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 {Photo credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH}MSH commemorated World AIDS Day with a special panel event on Capitol Hill on December 2, 2013.Photo credit: Brigid Boettler/MSH

To commemorate World AIDS Day, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) recently teamed up with Save the Children and ONE in conjunction with the Office of Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) to co-host an event on Capitol Hill entitled Getting to an AIDS-Free Generation: Overcoming Remaining Challenges.

{Photo credit: Rui Pires. Uganda.}Photo credit: Rui Pires. Uganda.

The world needs more girls like "Alana".

Alana is one of the "lucky" ones. Just five years ago in Uganda, a child had more than a 1 in 10 chance of dying before she reached her fifth birthday. Today the odds have improved slightly, but Uganda remains among the top countries with some of the highest rates of death for children under-five. As the father of three daughters myself, I simply can’t accept that a child’s chance of surviving depends upon where in the world she happens to have been born.

When I see a photo like this, of a bright-eyed girl from a village in Uganda accessing the health care she needs and getting well, I’m reminded why Management Sciences for Health (MSH) works every day to further our vision of a world where everyone has the opportunity for a healthy life.

We’ve come a long way: we’ve reduced child mortality by nearly 70 percent in just 50 years. But a child born in a low-income country is still 18 times more likely to die before the age of five than a child born in a wealthy country.

The tragedy is that we already know how to prevent most child deaths through low-cost, high-impact interventions.

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