November 2014

 {Photo credit: Ian Sliney/MSH.}"Let's prevent Ebola together" billboard in Liberia.Photo credit: Ian Sliney/MSH.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) hosted an interactive, three-day, online seminar on the West African Ebola outbreak on LeaderNet.org, October 28-30, 2014. Edited summaries from seminar facilitators (MSH Global Technical Lead on Malaria and Communicable Diseases, A. Frederick Hartman, MD, MPH, Days One-Three, and co-authored by Independent Pandemic Planning Advisor, Lisa Stone, Day Two), appear below. You can access seminar archives, including resources for preparedness and response, by joining LeaderNet.org.

Day One (Oct. 28): Mobilizing community-based care

Many thanks to the 240 individuals from more than 50 countries who have signed on to participate in the LeaderNet Ebola seminar so far. I am very impressed with your interest and enthusiasm in discussing, and ultimately controlling, this massive Ebola outbreak.

 {Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.}A pharmacy in Kenya.Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.

Guaranteeing that patients have uninterrupted access to anti-tuberculosis (TB) treatment begins with national TB programs (NTP) making complex calculations about how many cases to expect in the future.  Vigilant stock management, accurate number of cases started on each type of treatment along with forecasting the expected number of patients that will be enrolled on treatment, are vital to ensure that medicines are available to all patients who need them.

To promote a systems-strengthening approach to TB medicines management, the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program developed QuanTB—a downloadable, desktop tool that transforms intricate calculations into a user-friendly dashboard displaying key quantification and supply planning information.

Photo credit: Warren Zelman

Every year, pneumonia kills approximately 936,000 children under the age of five, accounting for 15 percent of all deaths within this age group. One of the worst affected countries is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where pneumonia took the lives of nearly 50,000 children in 2013, including almost 7,000 newborns.

For the sixth year, people around the global are bringing awareness to this critical—and solvable—problem by commemorating World Pneumonia Day today, November 12th. This year’s theme is: “Universal access to pneumonia prevention and care”.

[CDC: World Pneumonia Day 2014]CDC: World Pneumonia Day 2014

 {Photo credit: Fred Hartman/MSH}Dr. Logan and two women Ebola survivors at Annex 3.Photo credit: Fred Hartman/MSH

Tuesday, November 4, was my first day back at MSH headquarters since returning from Liberia nearly three weeks ago on October 21. I volunteered to go to Liberia—one of three West African countries at the center of the Ebola outbreak—because MSH has a wealth of experience to offer to help resolve one of the great public health challenges of our time. 

I started my career in smallpox eradication, and through the years have worked on other outbreaks: hemorrhagic fevers, SARS, avian and pandemic influenza, and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (TB).  These diseases were—and are—highly infectious and carry significant mortality if proper infection control procedures are not followed.

[Photo credit: Jane Briggs/MSH}Photo credit: Jane Briggs/MSH

This post originally appeared on SIAPSProgram.org.

Accounting for more than one million under-five deaths each year, pneumonia is the leading killer of children under the age of five worldwide, claiming more lives than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. This year’s World Pneumonia Day (WPD) theme is “universal access to pneumonia prevention and care”.  In commemoration of WPD, child health advocates are calling for pneumonia control through proven interventions that protect against, prevent, and treat pneumonia. Through our work in community case management (CCM) and expanding access to amoxicillin, the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded, MSH-led Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program uses a systems-strengthening approach to expand universal access to pneumonia prevention and care.

Devex #Healthymeans graphic.
On October 27, Devex launched , a month-long online campaign to raise awareness about global health challenges and opportunities. Throughout the month of November, Devex and partners are encouraging discussion around the question: What does healthy mean to you?

Join Nov. 13, 1 pm EST with hashtags  and

On November 13, MSH () and partners are leading a Twitter chat from 1:00-1:30 pm EST on "Maximizing Global Health Synergies in Post-2015 Era". Led by Jonathan Jay (), guest-tweeting with , we'll discuss:
  1. What health target or outcome is your top priority for the post-2015 era?
 {Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}A health worker speaks with a woman and her baby outside a clinic in Ethiopia. Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman develops high blood sugar during pregnancy.Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

This post originally appeared on Devex on November 14, World Diabetes Day ().

During her third pregnancy, Eden Bihon visited the Mekelle Health Center in Tigray, Ethiopia. Although a routine prenatal visit, it held great importance for Eden, as she had recently lost her second child, who died from unknown causes at the age of just one year.

Unknown to her at the time, this visit would have lasting implications for Eden and her baby. A 23-year-old mother, Eden, like most Ethiopian women, had concerns about her pregnancy and well-being. But gestational diabetes was not one of them.

 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera}A 27-week premature baby in an incubator at Kibuye Hospital, Karongi District, western Rwanda.Photo credit: Todd Shapera

November is Prematurity Awareness Month in the US, and the 17th is World Prematurity Day. But I never need any reminders about the importance of access to medicines and services for premature babies. Every November, I celebrate the birthday of my own little preemie. On November 30, 1997, I went into labor just after reaching 32 weeks. I was terrified. I had had a healthy second pregnancy up to that point and my doctor did not believe me at first when I told her I was in labor. After a somewhat traumatic trip to the clinic and then the delivery, my tiny bundle of joy arrived, weighing in at a meager 1.5 kg (3.3.lbs). We were so very lucky to have access to excellent health services, not just for delivery and newborn care, but for his whole first year or so of life, when visits to the doctor to check on his heart, lungs, eyes and overall development were a weekly occurrence.

{Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH}Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH

Cross-posted with permission from the LMG Blog.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Leadership, Management & Governance Project (LMG), led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), is launching the East Africa Women's Mentoring Network. We are calling upon women leaders who have worked in family planning and reproductive health as service providers, midwives, program managers, policy makers, teachers, advocates, and other relevant positions to support the aspirations of younger women. We are seeking mentees interested in learning from seasoned professionals and mentors with experience, wisdom, and enthusiasm.

 {Photo credit: Morgan Wingard for USAID}Liberia.Photo credit: Morgan Wingard for USAID

The October/November issue of the Global Health Impact Newsletter (subscribe) focuses on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and MSH's response, including what is needed to save lives, contain Ebola (or any similar outbreak), and maintain essential health services: stronger health systems.

A Note from Dr. Jonathan Quick

[Dr. Jonathan D. Quick]Dr. Jonathan D. QuickThe Ebola outbreak in West Africa is unprecedented. Already, over 13,000 people have been affected and over 5,000 lives lost. What’s more, this outbreak was preventable.

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