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: 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.

{Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina}Lynda Razafiharilalao, a Malagasy community health volunteer, shows various modules of the mHealth app to a fellow volunteer.Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina

In rural areas of Madagascar, community health volunteers (CHVs) are instrumental in improving maternal and child health services. Their activities include raising awareness on healthy behaviors, child growth monitoring, family planning counseling and services, and treatment of simple illnesses, such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. As CHVs are part of Madagascar’s health system, their activity reports feed into the national health information system.

{Photo Credit: MSH}Community members discuss plague response.Photo Credit: MSH

Bubonic plague is endemic in Madagascar. Typically, the country experiences 400 to 600 cases of the disease each year. However, in 2017 the plague also took the pneumonic form. Between August 1 and November 26 there were 2,417 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of plague, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than three-quarters of the cases were clinically classified as pneumonic.

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

On the fifth anniversary of the UHC movement, we reflect on a few key steps to reach UHC.

In the five years since the United Nations adopted the momentous resolution that established the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) movement—achieving equitable, affordable access to high-quality health services for all who need them—countries have made significant progress toward providing basic health services to large segments of the population. This year marks an important moment for advancing UHC, as the new Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has made it abundantly clear that UHC is a priority for his administration.

That is great news. We have seen more countries and institutions working toward practical interventions that will make UHC a reality. We have seen them make financial and managerial commitments that will be critical for the global health community to achieve this noble, oft-lifesaving goal. But more work remains.

 

Achieving UHC through governance and financing

 

{Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/USAID Mikolo Project}Photo Credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/USAID Mikolo Project

Management Sciences for Health (MSH), a non-profit global health organization dedicated to saving lives and improving the health of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, announced today its renewed commitment to Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) by pledging to utilize its network of global, regional, and country projects to plan, support, sustain, and advocate for family planning programs that will serve nearly 1.2 million women by 2020.

{Photo Credit: Mark Tuschman}Photo Credit: Mark Tuschman

There was an awkward silence and then soft giggling as the girls looked at each other. I had just finished talking about strategies for persuading sexual partners to use a condom. Laughter during these skills-building and girls empowerment sessions with 30+ secondary school students in Morogoro, Tanzania was not uncommon, particularly given the sometimes sensitive topics of discussion, but this time, the joke was lost on me.

I asked the student nearest to me, a confident teenager that I knew wouldn’t be too shy to respond, why everyone was laughing. She told me, “You speak about this as if we have a choice.” She wasn’t being sarcastic or combative, nor was she complaining - she was simply matter-of-fact about it, stating her truth.

 {Photo: Adama Sanogo/ Management Sciences for Health}An SGBV survivor arriving for medical and psychosocial care.Photo: Adama Sanogo/ Management Sciences for Health

(Crossposted from the FCI Program of MSH "Rights and Realities" blog).

Communities in the Mopti region of central Mali—which is home to several ethnic groups and to many people displaced by 2012 violence in the country’s northern region—continue to grapple with widespread sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), including forced and early marriage and other harmful practices. A majority of Malian girls are married by the time they reach 18, and 15% before the age of 15.  About 91% of women between 15 and 49 years old, as well as 69% of girls under 15, have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). And, as is true in so many conflict-affected areas, widespread sexual violence has been a tragic and infuriating effect of war, dislocation, and migration.

The Ebola epidemic was raging in West Africa. Management Sciences for Health’s staff in Liberia relayed that “treatment facilities are overrun with cases” and “whole parts of the health system are at a standstill.” Things got much worse before the epidemic was finally defeated. Over 11,000 people died horribly from the disease, leaving more than 16,000 children orphaned.

Once the world woke up to the crisis, there was a generous outpouring of assistance. As the response peaked, I was consumed by nagging questions: Where will we be four or five years from now? Will the world have gone back to sleep? What’s needed to protect the world from future outbreaks? To find the answers, I explored the lessons from epidemics over the last century – smallpox, AIDS, SARS, avian flu, swine flu, Ebola, Zika – and I drew on some of the best minds, experienced professionals and committed citizen activists in global health, infectious disease, and pandemic preparedness.

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