{Photo Credit: Santita Ngo/MSH}Senior Technical Advisor for Supply Chain Management in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghislaine Djidjoho during an annual Leadership, Management, and Governance/National Malaria Control Program coordination meeting in November 2016.Photo Credit: Santita Ngo/MSH

In the global fight against malaria, National Malaria Control Programs (NMCPs) play a central role in leading national-level malaria control efforts. For NMCPs to fulfill this role, both the individual NMCP staff members and NMCPs as organizations must have the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes to successfully lead, coordinate, and manage malaria control efforts at all levels of the health system.

{Photo Credit: MSH}A nurse in Manika prepares to conduct a group education session on antenatal care, as part of the awareness campaign that helped Brigitte access the care she needed.Photo Credit: MSH

A campaign to promote antenatal care becomes a lifeline for a teenager in need.

We’re excited to bring you this month’s edition of Leading Voices, a series that features the incredible talent that makes up MSH.

We’re chatting with Degu Jerene, our project director in Ethiopia. Degu hails from Addis Ababa and has a passion for stopping the spread of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV. He’s responsible for leading the USAID-funded Challenge TB project in Ethiopia. Degu will be representing MSH this week at the Union World Conference on Lung Health in Guadalajara, Mexico.

What do you think makes MSH different?

Our expertise in health systems makes us unique. Others might be experts in childhood TB, for example, or research, or MDR-TB. But we have a comprehensive approach that looks at the health system as a whole and finds integrated solutions to very complex problems. At the same time, we are equally good or even better in disease specific areas.

What are you most proud of in your work?

Proving that our approach works. Gathering evidence and publishing it in peer-reviewed journals, which I’ve done dozens of times, is a contribution to the field I’m very proud of having made.

Finish this sentence: Health is _______.

A right, not a privilege.

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

The entire population of Madagascar is at risk for malaria, and severe malaria is among the top five causes of death in the country, especially among young children, for whom the disease is a major killer of Malagasy children under five years of age. In this age group the national mortality rate is 7 percent, though this rate varies throughout Madagascar’s 22 regions; ranging from less than 1 percent in the central highlands to almost 11 percent in the coastal regions.

 {Photo credit: Alison Corbacio/MSH}From left: Ugochi Daniels, UNFPA; Chunmei Li, Johnson & Johnson; Antoine Ndiaye, MSH; Lara Zakaria, Syrian American Medical Society; Irene Koek, USAID; Loyce Pace, Global Health Council.Photo credit: Alison Corbacio/MSH

Health systems strengthening was front and center in discussions held in New York on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. MSH hosted three events spotlighting how strong health systems are critical to resiliency and stability in fragile environments, at the core for global health security and essential for achieving universal health coverage. Here are some highlights from the week. See more on Twitter , and .

 {Photo Credit: Rui Pires}A pregnant woman is given an ultrasound.Photo Credit: Rui Pires

(This post originally appeared on the Next Billion website.)

Why Greater Ultrasound Availability Doesn’t Always Benefit Patients

Advances in health technologies have reshaped the lives of communities, families and individuals, undoubtedly contributing to better health outcomes around the world. For the most vulnerable populations, technology may significantly improve access to preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services and help increase demand for greater quality care. Yet, despite their potential, new technologies can also add new challenges, risking potential gains in quality, safety or cost. Particularly in settings where health systems are weak, the introduction of technological interventions requires thoughtful execution.

 {Photo credit: Patricia Forestal}Alyssa Leggoe of USAID/Haiti hands over LMG/Haiti project deliverables to Dr. Adrien Lauré, representing Haiti's health ministry.Photo credit: Patricia Forestal

An event celebrating the successful conclusion of the MSH-led, USAID-funded Leadership, Management and Governance Project in Haiti (LMG/Haiti) provided an opportunity to look back at the project's five years of effective work to strengthen the Haitian health system.

 {Photo credit: MSH-Perú staff}Women leaders at a fair in Bolivia share healthy eating tips to pregnant and breastfeeding women.Photo credit: MSH-Perú staff

A partnership with MSH-Perú and White Ribbon Alliance is promoting self-care in Bolivia

On a bright July day in San Ignacio de Moxos, Bolivia, 13 indigenous women leaders gathered in the central plaza around a long table decorated with bowls of beans, rice, plantains, corn, tomatoes, greens, and other foods. As part of an all-day fair to promote the health and nutrition of pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, these indigenous women leaders presented their dishes to over 150 community members and local officials, gathered in the plaza to celebrate the town’s anniversary, and offered ideas on how to cook with locally- grown ingredients provided by the national government’s food subsidy program.

Through the White Ribbon Alliance’s Self-Care Initiative, MSH-Perú is organizing workshops and other outreach activities, to motivate women in 11 indigenous Bolivian communities to actively care for themselves, especially during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, by practicing healthy behaviors, and preparing nutritious meals.

 {Photo credit: Kate Ramsey/MSH}Women learn about their pregnancies during a pregnancy club session in eastern Uganda.Photo credit: Kate Ramsey/MSH

Earlier this year we wrote about our ongoing experience reaching pregnant women in Uganda with a model that we called “pregnancy clubs” – an effort to improve the quality of health services women receive during pregnancy and after delivery by organizing them into groups to discuss their personal experiences and learn important self-care skills, guided by a healthcare provider. The region where we are working is particularly vulnerable because there are very high rates of adolescent pregnancy (30.6%), and younger women often find that services are unable to meet their specific needs – especially for the first pregnancy. It can be a lonely time for younger women, especially if they are in a new household and a new marriage, or if experiencing stigma from pregnancy outside of marriage.

 {Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina, MSH}Community health volunteers use a mobile phone app to guide their patient interaction in rural Madagascar.Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina, MSH

How community health volunteers are using mobile technology to provide better care in remote areas of Madagascar

In remote villages of Madagascar, people who live miles away from a health center largely depend on community health volunteers for basic health care, such as family planning services, or the diagnosis and treatment of simple childhood infections. These volunteers are identified and elected by the community, and are then trained and supervised by the head of the nearest health center. The country's national Community Health Policy places them at the foundation of the health pyramid, as they are serving the most isolated communities. However, ensuring the quality care provided by these volunteers can be challenging: one study reported that only 49% of health volunteers offer family planning in accordance with national standards, and only 53% of children under the age of five are correctly treated for diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia by health volunteers.

Being a community health volunteer is a tricky job. Among the many difficulties they already face, they are expected to report their activities by completing paper registers on a daily basis. But these paper tools, which are long and time-consuming, often result in delays and errors in the reporting process.

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