{Photo credit: MSH staff.}Journalists raise their hands in solidarity to support AMR advocacy and containment at the close of a SIAPS-supported workshop organized by the Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration and Control Authority of Ethiopia in June 2012.Photo credit: MSH staff.

Achieving universal health coverage (UHC) won’t be possible without paying close attention to one of our most pressing global health threats: drug-resistant infections.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microorganisms develop resistance to a medicine that was originally intended to disable or kill them. While microbes naturally develop resistance to antimicrobials over time, excessive or inappropriate use of antibiotics speeds up AMR. The issue is a big challenge to UHC, jeopardizing the effectiveness of surgical procedures and threatening the treatment of many infectious diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS.

According to estimates from The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, a report commissioned by the U.K. government and the Wellcome Trust, the financial burden from AMR could be as much as USD 100 trillion and the global gross domestic product could decrease 3.5% by 2050. AMR also causes immense loss of life—700,000 people die from drug-resistant infections each year, and this number is expected to grow to 10 million by 2050 if AMR is not contained.

{Photo credit: Brooke Huskey / MSH}Photo credit: Brooke Huskey / MSH

Tanzania’s Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly, and Children (MOH) recently approved a health sector task sharing implementation plan with support from the Tanzania Technical Support Services Project (TSSP), led by Management Sciences for Health.The plan will assist public health institutions to improve human resources for health (HRH), which will help increase essential HIV service coverage through improved service delivery. Implementation will begin in July 2017.

 {Photo Credit: Geoffrey Ddamba.}A peer educator mobilizes clients for outreach services in the Kawempe area of Kampala, Uganda.Photo Credit: Geoffrey Ddamba.

Many civil society organizations (CSOs) play an essential role as service providers and advocates in health systems around the world. They can connect policymakers and providers to the communities they serve, promote smarter decision-making, and foster local ownership. If countries are going to make Universal Health Coverage (UHC) a reality, it will be side-by-side and in partnership with civil society.

Delivering essential health services

Although many low- and middle-income countries lack public sector healthcare infrastructure and human resources for health, civil society can help fill in the gaps. Governments can partner with CSOs through mechanisms such as grants and contracts to leverage these organizations’ capacities to avoid duplication, reduce inefficiencies, and increase access.

For example, the USAID-funded Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project, led by Management Sciences for Health, worked with the Honduran Ministry of Health from 2012 to 2016 to contract with NGOs to provide HIV/AIDS services to key populations. In total, the LMG Project helped the ministry sign 25 contracts with NGOs to provide education, prevention, and rapid testing services for nearly 40,000 people over three years.

{Photo Credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH}Photo Credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH

How US Foreign Assistance is Making A Difference Uganda has made great progress in controlling the HIV epidemic and increasing access to critical HIV and health services in recent years. Under the Government of Uganda’s leadership and with the support of development partners, such as MSH, Uganda has reached the second of UNAIDS global 90-90-90 goals: 90% of people living with HIV who know their status are on treatment. 

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Jhpiego

Jhpiego is an international, non-profit health organization affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University. For 40 years and in over 155 countries, Jhpiego has worked to prevent the needless deaths of women and their families.

Jhpiego works with health experts, governments and community leaders to provide high-quality health care for their people. Jhpiego develops strategies to help countries care for themselves by training competent health care workers, strengthening health systems and improving delivery of care.

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