After more than 15 years working on women’s health and development issues, I feel hopeful as the growing movement for women’s rights brings us closer to a breakthrough. Everyday, more women around the world -- from Madagascar to Mexico -- are emerging as leaders. They are organizing and demanding justice, equality, and the full realization of their fundamental human rights. In the halls of the United Nations, at the policymaking tables of country ministries, and in the local health clinics, women and girls are calling for health policies and services that meet their needs, and those of their families and communities.

On International Women’s Day, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) joins women worldwide to press for progress. Our work is grounded in the fundamental view that safeguarding women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health is a core health system function. It is time we listen to all women and girls, because they are the health system.  

 {Photo Credit: Rhiana Smith}Aziz Abdallah, DHSS Project Director, MSH, greets guests at end-of-project eventPhoto Credit: Rhiana Smith

The District Health System Strengthening and Quality Improvement for Service Delivery (DHSS) Project shared its achievements on Wednesday, March 7, after five years of work to reduce the burden of HIV/AIDS in Malawi. Guests gathered at the Bingu International Conference Center in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, for an end-of-project event that featured speakers from DHSS, the Ministry of Health, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Management Sciences for Health (MSH), which led the DHSS Project,  

{Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina}Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Poliomyelitis, or polio, was a greatly feared scourge of the industrial world. It would paralyze hundreds of thousands of children every year. Once effective vaccines were introduced in the 1950s the number of cases of polio dropped dramatically and the virus was eliminated in many countries, but in some places, it still remains a real threat.

Polio is an infectious viral disease that is transmitted from person to person and can lead to paralysis, respiratory failure, even death. The polio virus easily spreads in areas with poor sanitation. Vaccination is the most reliable way to prevent polio and to protect children under five, who are the most vulnerable.

The virus was wiped out in Madagascar 2005 but reappeared in 2014. Since then, Madagascar’s government and health partners, including the World Health Organization, United Nations Children's Fund, and the United States Agency for International Development, have held multiple vaccination campaigns across the country.

Photo: From left: Johnnie Amenyah of JSI, Gladys Tetteh, Francis Aboagye-Nyame, Dinah Tjipura, and Kwesi Eghan of the SIAPS Program attending the End-of-Program event on March 1, 2018 in Arlington, VA. (Santita Ngo/MSH) On Thursday, March 1, 2018, MSH held an end-of-program event for the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program.

Members of the Bangladesh study tour visit an ADDO in Tanzania. Photo Credit: Jafary LianaMembers of the Bangladesh study tour visit an ADDO in Tanzania. Photo Credit: Jafary Liana

In recent years, global health stakeholders have begun to recognize the profound potential that drug shops have to advance public health goals, such as those related to malaria diagnosis and treatment, child health, and family planning. These outlets, for reasons of convenience and cost, are the first choice of care for millions of people - and until recently, they have largely been ignored.

“Drug shops and pharmacies are important sources of health care, particularly in rural areas or urban slums with few public clinics. They are often the first stop for women and men who seek FP information or services.”  - World Health Organization

This is why, in 2003, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) helped launch the Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlet (ADDO) Program in Tanzania to address the important role of these informal drug sellers by creating certain standards that, when met, increase the quality of medicines and services in the community. Tanzania’s successful ADDO Program provides a model that other countries in Africa—and now Asia—have adapted and made their own.

Pharmacy staff at Felege Hiwot Hospital in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Photo Credit: Tsion Issayas/MSHPharmacy staff at Felege Hiwot Hospital in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Photo Credit: Tsion Issayas/MSH

This story was originally published by SIAPS.

Over its six years working in dozens of countries, SIAPS has carried out a vision for health system strengthening that USAID developed and has supported for more than two decades. In partnership with countries and organizations, the agency has led pharmaceutical systems strengthening interventions that have helped countries deliver affordable, quality-assured medicines and related products and services.

SIAPS has had the privilege of carrying out significant tasks under the USAID mandate. Through this project and its predecessors–SPS, RPM Plus and RPM–we’ve been following a systems strengthening framework, digging in with activities that address governance, human resource capacity, information management, financial strategies, and effective services.

Arlington, VA— A new compendium released today by the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, implemented by Management Sciences for Health, offers an in-depth look at 12 innovative and promising efforts to strengthen pharmaceutical systems. Released via a new website, Case Studies in Pharmaceutical Systems Strengthening documents the lasting effect of interventions on the people, processes, and structures that comprise a pharmaceutical system and includes actionable lessons and recommendations.

Ebola health care workers at a home during the October 2014 outbreak. Photo Credit: Fred Hartman/MSHEbola health care workers at a home during the October 2014 outbreak. Photo Credit: Fred Hartman/MSH

 Arlington, VA—Management Sciences for Health (MSH) stands with the global health community, and with the millions of people we serve across the globe each day, to urge the U.S. government to reconsider planned reductions to programs that are essential to health and national security, and to focus on continuing to invest in strengthening health systems in the world’s poorest countries.

Photo Credit: Warren ZelmanPhoto Credit: Warren Zelman

This story was originally published on the SIAPS Program homepage

To be fully effective, health system strengthening projects should have sustainable impact and lay the groundwork for future progress. Here’s how SIAPS’ work supported health system reform in Ukraine.

SIAPS worked in Ukraine for four years, from 2013 through 2017. Ukraine has the most severe HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the second highest TB burden in Europe. Ukraine has the highest mortality rate from infectious diseases in the WHO/Euro region, with TB, HIV, and AIDS accounting for 90% of all deaths.

However, the country’s health system was poorly equipped to cope. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited a centrally controlled health system that funded about half of health expenditures as of 2014. Out-of-pocket payments accounted for more than 46% of the rest, and a third of that was for medicines, which are expensive. That meant affordable medicines were out of reach for many people, as well as the medicines essential to treating these diseases.

{Photo Credit: Liza Talukder}Jahidul Hasan works on the adverse drug event report.Photo Credit: Liza Talukder

The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA)—with technical assistance from the USAID-funded SIAPS program, implemented by MSH—officially launched Bangladesh’s national pharmacovigilance (PV) program in 2013. After being first introduced at 20 private and public hospitals, and 13 pharmaceutical companies, the DGDA and SIAPS have organized trainings for focal persons to build their skills and knowledge on PV and increase adverse drug event (ADE) reporting.

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