{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: 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.

{Photo credit: Francies Hajong/MSH}Photo credit: Francies Hajong/MSH

This story was originally published by The Hill

During the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, scientists, policymakers, healthcare workers, advocates, and civil society shed light on the relationship between HIV and other urgent health crises, such as Tuberculosis (TB).

A less known, but critically important fact: TB is one of the leading causes of death among people with HIV/AIDS worldwide. To effectively address HIV, budget and policy responses must reflect the challenge of HIV-TB co-infection.

In June, as the House and Senate Appropriations Committees considered their fiscal 2019 foreign assistance funding bills, there was encouraging discussion about the importance of fully funding the International Affairs Budget to maintain American leadership through diplomacy and global development.

We have had this role since the establishment of the Marshall Plan after World War II, and for many good reasons. American investments in global development have proved to be beneficial to us as well.

{Violet and Godfrey Justin meet with an HIV counselor during a visit to Bvumbwe Health Center in Malawi. Photo credit: Moving Minds, Malawi.}Violet and Godfrey Justin meet with an HIV counselor during a visit to Bvumbwe Health Center in Malawi. Photo credit: Moving Minds, Malawi.

An innovative testing strategy helps more people living with HIV learn their status

“Life can deceive you when you think you feel strong and healthy,” says Godfrey Justin, whose wife, Violet, tested positive for HIV during a routine antenatal visit. After sharing her status with Godfrey, Violet asked that he be tested as well. Godfrey agreed, learned he was also living with HIV and the couple started antiretroviral therapy (ART).

While traditional methods of HIV testing (such as provider referrals and client-initiated testing) successfully reach millions of people each year, only 75 percent of those living with HIV know their status. Reaching the 25 percent who don’t yet know their status — roughly 9 million individuals globally — will require more targeted approaches.

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

This story was originally published by The Hill.

No sooner had one outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) been declared over than another broke out. The latest outbreak is particularly threatening as it is in North Kivu province, an area beset with violence between rival militia groups. On top of struggling with violent conflict that has lasted, in some areas, for more than 20 years, the DRC is one of the world’s poorest countries and lacks a well-developed infrastructure.

Infectious disease outbreaks are more dangerous in countries like the DRC because fragile or severely off-track countries have little health care infrastructure to support the necessary steps to contain the outbreak. Although the DRC has had many Ebola outbreaks and more experience containing the disease than any other country, the conflict environment exacerbates the threat.

A student from the center for educational activities of Sévaré reads of poem about female genital mutilation.

I do not agree with cutting I didn’t choose to be born a woman So why should I suffer By this removal that I have to endure?   On International Youth Day, communities around the globe will call for – and create – safe spaces for youth to express themselves, influence decision making, seek confidential care and information, and call out violations of their human rights. This year, youth highlighted the urgency of ending gender-based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), and child marriage in a very public space in central Mali.

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman

This story was originally published on Global Health NOW’s website.

It’s a public health nightmare: 250,000 doses of substandard vaccines for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus administered to children through a government health program. While China has had scandals over tainted food or drugs before, this recent debacle threatens to destroy already shaky public confidence in the country’s growing pharmaceutical industry.

Meet Andrew Etsetowaghan, Associate Director for Technical Services with the CaTSS project in Nigeria. Fueled by a passion to help others since childhood, Andrew was determined to find a way to fulfill his dreams. He decided to pursue medicine—otherwise becoming a priest or superhero—and dedicate his career to improving health systems in his community. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Describe your daily work briefly.

My work day starts quite early, usually by 7:30 a.m., where I review key tasks to be done or pending from the previous day. I meet frequently with thematic leads (ART, quality improvement, OVC, gender, supply chain systems, laboratory advisor) to track programmatic performance against achievements. And I work with field-based teams to improve service delivery and follow-up on all reporting deadlines as needed. One of the most enjoyable parts of my day is our daily communal breakfast meal, where the entire team comes together to have bean cake, usually between 7:30–8:30 a.m. It is a great bonding time—something I recommend for anyone visiting Nigeria.

How did you get to where you are today?

{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.

 {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).

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