March 2014

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

The Millennium Development Goals, due to expire next year, have defined an era of global health. Since their adoption in 2000, the global AIDS response has scaled up massively; childhood immunization has become the norm in most settings; and many more women can access the family planning and reproductive healthcare they need. The MDGs coincided with, and perhaps helped to usher, a “Golden Age” of global health funding, which supported hard work and innovation that saved millions of lives.

International Women’s Day, March 8, signifies more than a single day can encompass. At MSH, International Women’s Day is a day for celebrating women health leaders who inspire change and an opportunity to recommit ourselves to another year of action toward gender equity.

We celebrate International Women’s Day with Drs. Suraya Dalil and Florence Guillaume, Ministers of Health from Afghanistan and Haiti.

Watch their video message to women around the world:

We pay homage to the women who have come before us; we stand on their shoulders. We acknowledge their courage, sacrifice, and commitment, allowing women today to dream of a future with more possibilities for next generations of women and girls.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}A community health worker uses a mobile phone for health information while caring for a sick child in Salima, Malawi.Photo credit: MSH staff

Natalie Campbell and Elizabeth McLean of MSH and colleagues co-authored a new journal article, "Taking knowledge for health the extra mile: participatory evaluation of a mobile phone intervention for community health workers in Malawi," in the latest issue of Global Health: Science and Practice.

This post originally appeared on the K4Health blog.

 {Photo credit: Juliette Mutheu/MSH}Dr John Masasabi, Director of Policy, Planning and Health Care Financing, Kenya Ministry of Health, giving the keynote address at the launch.Photo credit: Juliette Mutheu/MSH

As a government we cannot work alone. However, it is important that those contributing to achieving the government’s vision of a healthy Kenya be guided by standards that encourage them to provide a certain level of quality that is acceptable and desirable.

These were the words of Dr. John Masasabi, the director of policy, planning and health care financing in Kenya’s Ministry of Health, as he launched the Institutional Strengthening Standards for Kenyan Civil Society Organisations, organized by the USAID-funded FANIKISHA Institutional Strengthening Project, led by MSH in partnership with Pact, Danya International, and the African Capacity Alliance.

The event took place at the AMREF Headquarters & International Training Center Grounds in Nairobi, Kenya on February 18, 2014.

 {Photo credit: Jennifer Acio/MSH.}Last year, a group of community members queued up to register for different services at Budaka Health Center IV on International Women's Day 2013.Photo credit: Jennifer Acio/MSH.

MSH staff and projects participated in International Women's Day celebrations in dozens of countries around the world. We share some of our stories with photos and excerpts from South Africa, Uganda, and Afghanistan.

Uganda Celebrates

STRIDES for Family Health joined the Ugandan government to commemorate International Women's Day in Kumi district. This year’s theme was “In partnership with men and boys for empowerment of women and girls in Uganda.” STRIDES supported village health teams’ participation in the celebration and distributed TOMS shoes before the event to motivate mothers to access services at health facilities.

[Women leaders access health information provided by STRIDES during the International Women's Day event in Kayunga district.] {Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH}Women leaders access health information provided by STRIDES during the International Women's Day event in Kayunga district.Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH

 

 {Photo credit: Alison Corbacio.}A child in Rajasthan, India drinks from a public water source.Photo credit: Alison Corbacio.

Have you ever thought about water? I mean, really thought about the quality of the water you drink or use for your personal hygiene? Clean water is something many of us take for granted, but billions of people around the world lack access to a dependable source of fresh water and acceptable sanitation facilities.

This year, I joined a coalition of advocates from dozens of organizations to support HR 2901, otherwise known as The Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in August 2013 by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It has broad bipartisan support. This bill does not ask for any new funding from Congress; instead, it seeks to use existing funds to improve monitoring and evaluation of WASH projects, increase communication between agencies, and promote partnerships and cooperation among stakeholders.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff.}Dr. Jamie Tonsing, TB CARE I Project Director, preparing to release of balloons with the TB health education messages during 2013 WTD celebrations in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.Photo credit: MSH staff.

MSH staff are commemorating World TB Day through awareness-raising activities around the globe, including in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, and Nigeria. Here are photos (some from 2013) with activities this year.

Afghanistan - TB CARE I

During this year’s World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) celebration in Afghanistan, MSH’s TB CARE I project team will reach more than 21,000 individuals with tuberculosis (TB) advocacy and awareness activities. The project staff plans to distribute over 8,530 banners, notebooks, and posters on TB control to politicians, health workers, and community members. Additionally, the TB CARE I Afghanistan team will travel to the 13 project-supported provinces to help field-based staff plan and facilitate WTD celebrations at health centers in their communities. The project staff will also support staff from the National TB Program (NTP) and other stakeholders in planning and participating in WTD celebrations at 26 schools and 600 and communities.

"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.

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.

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