May 2014

 {Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye Lemma/MSH.}Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia (left) and MSH President Jonathan D. Quick (right) sign the canvas pledge.Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye Lemma/MSH.

I felt like I had traded my mother’s health for my children’s schooling. It was a tough choice, and I cried every day.

This emotional remark was made by Lucy Njoki, a Kenyan mother and grandmother, at the Health for All Campaign Launch Event on April 28, 2014, in Nairobi. She had been forced to choose between paying for her children’s education or her mother’s urgently needed medical treatment. She could not afford both. Affordable and accessible health care remain an unrealized dream for many Kenyan citizens.  

Unfortunately, Lucy’s story is not uncommon. Lucy represents millions of people who are pushed into poverty due to catastrophic health expenditures in Kenya. The Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa is building awareness and advocating for universal health coverage (UHC) in Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Implemented effectively, UHC ensures that all people have access to the quality services they need, without suffering financial hardship.

 {Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH.}Youth Delegates arrive at the Magam Ruhunupura International Convention Centre (MRICC) in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH.

The World Conference on Youth (WCY2014) is bringing together over 1,500 youth delegates, ages 18 to 29, from May 6-10, 2014, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for thematic policy roundtables to create an outcome document ("Colombo Action Plan") that will state the position of mainstreaming youth in the post-2015 development agenda.

On May 7, the Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project will host a side event with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and the International Youth Alliance on Family Planning (IYAFP), titled, “Building Youth Leadership for Family Planning in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.”

The side event (18h30–20h00 in room C2) will support young people’s leadership potential, capacities, and abilities to address health issues that directly and uniquely affect them and contribute leadership skills for the next generation of family planning and global health leaders.

 {Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye/MSH.}MSH staff Grace Gatebi and Patrick Borruet at the MSH Kenya UHC Symposium photo exhibition.Photo credit: Anteneh Tesfaye/MSH.

The goal of universal health coverage (UHC) is to improve equitable access to health services while protecting households from impoverishing out-of-pocket health spending. In principle, UHC means that lifesaving services and medicines will be accessible and affordable for those who need them. To create deeper awareness of UHC in Kenya, Management Sciences for Health Kenya (MSH Kenya) country office organized a symposium on setting the national health agenda post 2015, called, “Achieving Universal Health Coverage through Stronger Health Systems”.

During the symposium, MSH Kenya organized a photography contest. MSH staff submitted photographs on the theme of “Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Kenya – Financing, Quality, Access and Essential Medicines” (with a focus on the most vulnerable populations). An independent jury selected 19 of the photos for an exhibition at the symposium.

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

For the mother who walks miles for health,

Carrying a near-lifeless child on her back,

We envision a world…

 

For the mother, living with HIV, who mentors others,

Helping to prevent transmission of the disease,

We envision a world…

 

For the mother who must choose

Improving the health of a parent or educating a child,

We envision a world…

 

For the mother who births, the mother who feeds,

And the mother who cares for a child,

We envision a world...

 

Where -- all mothers, all children -- everyone

Has the opportunity for a healthy life.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours!

 

 {Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH.}Youth delegates at the World Conference on Youth in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH.

Good governance is like a large elephant, Ahmed Adamu, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council, said. One person can touch the trunk, one the stomach, and one the tail, and they have had very different experiences with the elephant. Around the world, everyone has different experiences and different perceptions of good governance. With this anecdote, Adamu, a speaker at the plenary, “Achieving Good Governance and Accountability” at the 2014 World Conference on Youth, captures the challenges of defining good governance often cited in more academic terms. Though the concept of good governance is up for interpretation, there is consensus across countries, generations, and sectors that it is sorely needed. According to a consultation by Restless Development with young people in 12 countries , overall, governance is their most important issue that should be addressed in the post-2015 dialogue. And while good governance might be their most pressing concern, according to Subinay Nandy, Sri Lanka’s Resident Coordinator to the United Nations, it is young people themselves who are the most important tool international agencies can use to guarantee good governance.

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

Please join Management Sciences for Health (MSH) at the 67th World Health Assembly (WHA), May 18-23, 2014, in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHA is the supreme decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), and is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States.

This year, six MSH representatives will attend as part of the 60-plus-person Global Health Council (GHC) delegation.

MSH will co-host three side events focusing on the role of universal health coverage (May 20), chronic diseases (May 20), and governance for health (May 21) in the post-2015 framework.

UHC and Post-2015 Health Discussion

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
10h00 – 13h00 CET

Centre de Conventions de Varembé
Salle C, 9-11 rue de Varembé, Geneva

 {Photo credit: Rui Pires}An Accredited Drug Store in Uganda. MSH, through the Sustainable Drug Sellers Initiative, is helping scale-up access to medicines in Tanzania, Uganda, and Liberia.Photo credit: Rui Pires

Interested in a career in innovation and international development? You’re in luck, says Ingrid Ahlgren in Devex: “the need for new and improved development ideas isn’t going anywhere, and neither are the positions to facilitate them.”

Ahlgren of Devex shares advice on common innovation roles, what's required to land a position, and more from innovation and global development experts, including MSH President & CEO Jonathan D. Quick and Mac Glovinsky of UNICEF. Innovation, “is a big buzzword right now,” says Glovinsky. He says, donors wanting innovation embedded in key functions of development are a key driver of increased attention.

Innovation in development doesn’t mean only new technology, says Quick:

People tend to talk about product and technology innovation, but that’s only half the story.

 {Photo: Todd Shapera}Dr. Apolline Uwayitu, country director of MSH Rwanda.Photo: Todd Shapera

Cross-posted from LMGforHealth.org, this blog post post is part of a series leading up to the 67th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland from May 19–24, 2014. In conjunction with WHA, the Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project will host a side session with global health leaders titled, “Governance for Health: Priorities for Post-2015 and Beyond.” This series will offer insight on how good governance in the health system can result in stronger health impact as we move beyond the Millennium Development Goals.

Governing bodies of health systems and health institutions around the world are dominated by men. The lack of female leaders within these governance structures creates an unbalanced approach to how best to create meaningful health outcomes and why institutions are not being gender-responsive. Gender-responsive governance in practice, means ensuring that governance decision-makers respond to the different needs of their internal and external clients, based on gender.

 {Photo credit: Crystal Lander/MSH}Gloria Sangiwa (left), MSH Senior Director of Technical Quality and Innovation and Global Technical Lead on Chronic Diseases, talks with another delegate at the Global Health Council (GHC) welcome reception.Photo credit: Crystal Lander/MSH

This blog post is part of our Global Health Impact series on the 67th World Health Assembly in Geneva, May 18-24, 2014. MSH is co-hosting three side events focusing on the role of universal health coverage (May 20), chronic diseases (May 20), and governance for health (May 21) in the post-2015 framework. This year, six MSH representatives are attending WHA as part of the 60-plus-person Global Health Council (GHC) delegation.

Sunday was my first day in Geneva for the World Health Assembly (WHA). I attended WHA last year for the first time, and I am feeling a bit like a second-year college student.

As I prepared for this year’s meeting, a few colleagues asked me: Why is the WHA so important to global health policy? Who attends these things and why? I instantly responded to the questions somewhat defensively: "It’s the WHA--that’s why!"

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

Cross-posted with permission from WBUR's CommonHealth Blog.

A study released last week found that insurance is saving lives in Massachusetts. Expanded coverage will mean 3,000 fewer deaths over the next 10 years. We have state-of-the-art health facilities and are among the healthiest of Americans. Despite the fiasco of our failed enrollment website, the state maintains near-universal health coverage, and inspired the Affordable Care Act.

Our example is heartening not just for America, but for the many low- and middle-income countries around the world working toward universal health coverage. These countries aren’t just taking a page from our book, though — they have valuable lessons for us, too.

Here are four things Massachusetts could learn about health from developing countries:

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