September 2018

{Photo credit: MSH}Photo credit: MSH

This story was originally published by STAT News.

As the Democratic Republic of Congo works to contain the latest outbreak of Ebola, in what could be a test of the world’s ability to contain the disease since the calamitous outbreak in West Africa in 2014 and 2015, it’s a good time to think about the global infectious disease pandemic that happened in May.

In case you didn’t hear about it, that pandemic killed 150 million people around the world, including 15 million Americans, within a year and caused the U.S. stock market to crash. Fortunately, the deaths and economic cataclysm were just on paper — or in electrons — the result of a daylong simulation with a group of high-ranking U.S. government officials that was organized by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

The simulation revealed just how dangerously unprepared the U.S. and the rest of the world are for a pandemic and provided experiential learning for decision-makers in the Trump administration.

Improving Human Resources through Better Management Tools and Approaches

Dr. Shelemo Shawula, Senior Human Resources Management (HRM) Advisor for the Improved HRM Capacity component of the USAID-funded and Jhpiego-led Strengthening Human Resources for Health (HRH) Project in Ethiopia, led countrywide regional teams of HRM officers in improving the capacity of HR managers and their staff at all levels of the health sector. Through his strong leadership and management of the HRM component, the project surpassed targets and set the stage for further commitments and investments in HRH. MSH recently supported an assessment of HRM achievements under the project. Dr. Shawula discusses his work with the project and MSH’s work in Ethiopia.

Hello Shelemo, what is it that drives you?

{Program provides free reading and sunglasses in the most vulnerable regions of the country.}Program provides free reading and sunglasses in the most vulnerable regions of the country.

More than 1,800 Peruvians have benefited from "¡Qué bien te veo Perú!" – an MSH-Peru program that offers free reading glasses and sunglasses to people with limited resources improve their quality of life, help them re-enter the labor market, and prevent eye diseases.

In July and August 2018, MSH-Peru visited the Puno region to deliver spectacles in 16 communities in the province of Chucuito. The goal was to deliver 4,000 pairs of reading glasses to people over 40 who have trouble seeing up close.

This project was made possible by the generous support of RestoringVision, a nonprofit dedicated to distributing new reading glasses to people in need. Founded in 2003, RestoringVision has built a network of more than 1,400 partners that have collectively served more than 10 million people in 127 countries.

"Many years ago I stopped reading, but today I will read again," said Peregrino Mamani Peralta, 82, who lives in the community of Sutuca Urinsaya in the Province of Lampa, Puno, and suffers from presbyopia. Peregrino was an avid reader but when his vision deteriorated he could no longer enjoy this hobby. Now that he has spectacles, he can read again.

{Photo Credit: Warren Zelman}Photo Credit: Warren Zelman

A Conversation with Dr. Lal Sadasivan of PATH and Dr. Pedro Suarez of MSH

Last year, Tuberculosis claimed the lives of 1.6 million people, and it affects the lives and livelihoods of millions more. While early diagnosis and treatment can cure and prevent the spread of TB, underreporting and under-diagnosis remains a big issue. The 2018 Global TB Report found that of the 10 million who fell ill with TB in 2017, only 6.4 million were officially recorded by national reporting systems. More dangerous yet, growing drug resistance to first-line TB drugs threatens to undermine decades of progress and make treatment both more costly and complex. Still, TB can be eradicated if governments, donors and private sector actors work together to fund and execute an accelerated response to end the TB epidemic.  

Left to Right: Dr. Pedro Suarez, Senior Director, Infectious Disease Cluster at MSH, Dr. Khuat Thi Hai Oanh, Executive Director, Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI), and Alberto Colorado, Patient Advocate and Coordinator for the Americas TB Coalition. Photo Credit: Laura Hanson/MSH

This week, for the first time in its history, the United Nations hosted a high-level meeting on TB, where world leaders agreed on a global plan to step up the fight against TB. Although the final political declaration has won approval, it is now up to countries to take action.

Leading up to the high-level meeting, MSH and PATH co-hosted a side event, Putting Political Will into Action: Public-Private Partnership to End TB. This candid conversation with a diverse panel of experts and activists emphasized the urgent need to forge deeper government, community, and private sector engagement to make meaningful progress toward ending TB, the world’s largest infectious killer.

The panel included voices representing civil society, multilateral perspectives, and patient advocates who are dedicated to fighting the disease.