Financing Health Services: Our Impact

 {Photo Credit: MSH Staff}Nurses from Nseke discuss collected data during their monthly monitoring meetingPhoto Credit: MSH Staff

In the vast, logistically challenging Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), health data are often incomplete, unreliable, or submitted too late to be of use to public health authorities. Health data for the Nseke health area (Kanzenze health zone) seemed at odds with what the health zone management team actually saw on monitoring and supervisory visits. On paper, it looked like the local health facilities were performing well. But community feedback and verification told a different story.

 {Photo Credit: Todd Shapera}Gisenyi District Hospital, RwandaPhoto Credit: Todd Shapera

Rwanda’s Community-Based Health Insurance (CBHI) scheme has greatly increased access to health care services and reduced the burden of health care costs, especially for the poor, according to a recent study from Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the University of Rwanda-College of Medicine and Health Sciences-School of Public Health (UR-CMHS-SPH, or SPH), supported by The Rockefeller Foundation.

 {Graphic: African Strategies for Health}Officials from nine African countries convened in Ghana to find solutions to common challenges of attaining universal health coverage (UHC) with sustainability and improved quality of care.Graphic: African Strategies for Health

by African Strategies for Health The goals of universal health coverage (UHC) can only be delivered when access to health services and financial risk protection are equitably addressed.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}South SudanPhoto credit: MSH staff

UNICEF has comissioned MSH to develop a cost modeling tool and methodology that will help countries structure, plan, and finance integrated community health services. UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, is a worldwide leader in promoting and supporting community health services as a key strategy to improve coverage of high-impact maternal, newborn, and child health interventions and reduce health inequities from pregnancy to adolescence and beyond.

{Photo credit: Carmen Urdaneta/MSH}Photo credit: Carmen Urdaneta/MSH

It is encouraging how much the world is focused on achieving universal health coverage, and the Sustainable Development Goals only add to that momentum. While much courageous leadership and thoughtful work have led to amazing progress toward UHC in many countries, there is still much to be done for all people have access to the quality, affordable health services they need. 

The Lancet reports today on the recent partnership of MSH and the Government of Gabon to help reform Gabon’s health sector, with a particular focus on improving maternal and child health outcomes.

 {<a href="http://siapsprogram.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Guatemala_CV_Afiche_FINAL_R1.pdf">USAID SIAPS</a>}Identifying, Treating, and Preventing Malaria: a poster for community volunteersUSAID SIAPS

In Guatemala, a network of community volunteers who diagnose and treat malaria in their communities are mainstays of the Ministry of Health’s malaria strategy to ensure timely access to appropriate treatment, a key strategy to eliminate malaria. However, an assessment identified weaknesses in the volunteers’ management of antimalarials and diagnostic supplies.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}Baby Rosemary and her parents in Onuk Essien Udim Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.Photo credit: MSH staff

Chief Victor Joseph Ntuen is village head of Onuk, Ukana clan in Essien Udim Local Government Area (LGA) in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. He and his wife Emem have five children. Their youngest, 11-month-old Rosemary, fell seriously ill in January. She constantly vomited and had diarrhea for over one week. Baby Rosemary was diagnosed with cholera. Chief Ntuen was devastated at the thought of losing his baby girl to the cholera outbreak ravaging the community. But, they had no money to take Rosemary to the hospital for treatment. He and Emem had just paid their older children’s school fees.

 {Photo credit: Colin Gilmartin/MSH}A community health volunteer in Madagascar demonstrates how to provide Depo-Provera.Photo credit: Colin Gilmartin/MSH

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, community health workers represent the foundation of the health system, addressing priority health areas ranging from maternal and newborn health to family planning and Ebola prevention. Not only do community health workers extend access to health services for the underserved and those living in hard-to-reach areas, they help countries accelerate certain health outcomes, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and related targets for universal health coverage.

 {Photo credit: Zina Jarrah/MSH, Tanzania.}A community health worker takes blood to check for malaria.Photo credit: Zina Jarrah/MSH, Tanzania.

Diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia are leading causes of child mortality, accounting for nearly 44 percent of deaths among children under five worldwide.

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