{Photo credit: Stanley Stephanus for SIAPS Namibia}Pehovelo Ndahangoudja (left), a registered nurse documents feedback on CBART from Know your Status CASG member Julia Sheepo (2nd from right) and leader Marian Ndahafo Lilonga (right) at Ndamono clinic, Onandjokwe district.Photo credit: Stanley Stephanus for SIAPS Namibia

Health leaders in Namibia had a geographic challenge in delivering antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. The country is among the most affected by the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa, with an estimated HIV prevalence among adults of 16.9% as of 2014. Yet, in a vast country in which two-thirds of the people live in sparsely settled rural sites, how could these leaders make sure essential ARV treatment is accessible to those in need?

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

This story was originally published on Devex

The World Health Organization recently issued a statement calling on all countries to make three specific commitments to universal health coverage and be prepared to announce them at the World Health Assembly, which begins May 21.

UHC — the assertion that every person must have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without facing financial hardship — improves health. But that’s not all: It reduces poverty, creates jobs, drives economic growth, promotes gender equality, and prevents epidemics. It’s a momentous occasion and a great opportunity to start making real progress toward UHC.

But unless country commitments include efforts to strengthen pharmaceutical systems, communities will continue to struggle with inadequate health services and rising health costs that put their health and economic well-being in peril.

The objective of this study was to describe the conceptual and implementation approach of selected digital health technologies that were tailored in various resource-constrained countries. Drawing from our multi-year institutional experience in more than 20 high disease-burden countries that aspire to meet the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, we screened internal project documentation on various digital health tools that provide clarity in the conceptual and implementation approach. Taking into account geographic diversity, we provide a descriptive review of five selected case studies from Bangladesh (Asia), Mali (Francophone Africa), Uganda (East Africa), Mozambique (Lusophone Africa), and Namibia (Southern Africa). A key lesson learned is to harness and build on existing governance structures. The use of data for decision-making at all levels needs to be cultivated and sustained through multi-stakeholder partnerships. The next phase of information management development is to build systems for triangulation of data from patients, commodities, geomapping, and other parameters of the pharmaceutical system. A well-defined research agenda must be developed to determine the effectiveness of the country- and regional-level dashboards as an early warning system to mitigate stock-outs and wastage of medicines and commodities.

 {Photo Credit: MSH}Fire due to a power surge erupts at Mangochi District Hospital in Malawi, destroying critical vaccine supplies.Photo Credit: MSH

When a fire recently destroyed the Maternal and Child Health block of Mangochi District Hospital in Malawi, vaccines intended for the more than 45,000 children and an equal number of pregnant women that the hospital serves were destroyed. The vaccine depot housed in this block supports the distribution of vaccines to 44 fixed sites and 312 outreach sites for administration to children and pregnant women as part of the National Expanded Program on Immunizations (EPI).

 {Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH}A mother in Madagascar who has been sensitized on the use of bed nets.Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH

World Malaria Day: A Conversation with Dr. Bernard Nahlen

[Dr. Bernard Nahlen]Dr. Bernard NahlenThe theme for World Malaria Day this year is MSH’s newest Board Member, Dr. Bernard Nahlen, recently spoke with Thomas Hall, MSH’s Senior Principal Technical Advisor for Malaria, about reducing the malaria burden in developing countries most affected by the disease. Dr. Nahlen, Director of the University of Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health, has decades of experience in research and disease elimination programs worldwide. Prior to his recent appointment at the Eck Institute, Dr. Nahlen served as Deputy Coordinator of the US President’s Malaria Initiative from 2007 to 2017. From 2005 to 2006, he was Senior Advisor, Monitoring and Evaluation, at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  

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