Rwanda

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman

Impact. Scale. Sustainability. As public health professionals, we are dedicated to high-impact and high-coverage interventions that significantly improve the health of large human populations. We also hope that the benefits become part of the timeless fabric of their families, communities, and the health system.

This triple expectation—impact, scale, and sustainability—has accompanied global health for decades and especially during the last  generation. In 1990, Dr. Thomas Bossert reported that, among five US government-funded health programs in Africa and Central America, a project’s capacity to show results was the most important factor to ensure the sustainability of its benefits.

{Photo credit: Todd Shapera, Rwanda}Photo credit: Todd Shapera, Rwanda

Rwanda is one of the "biggest success stories" of countries improving child survival since 2000, the BBC World News reported April 29, 2015, linking to a podcast on BBC's The Inquiry.  

Randy Wilson, Principal Technical Advisor, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), spoke with BBC The Inquiry's Helena Merriman about MSH's role supporting Rwanda's efforts, including training community health workers with RapidSMS to saves lives. Said Wilson:

We helped to introduce RapidSMS within the districts, training 45,000 community health workers, many of whom who had never touched a cell phone in their life.

Wilson continued: "If there's even the slightest evidence" of a health concern, RapidSMS "encourages the community health worker not only to refer, but also to accompany, the mother to a facility where they get proper care."

{Screenshot, BBC, April 29, 2015}Screenshot, BBC, April 29, 2015According to the BBC:

{Photo credit: Katy Doyle}Photo credit: Katy Doyle

Members of the global health community commemorated International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 by celebrating recent advances in women and girls’ health and indeed there was much to celebrate: maternal deaths have declined 45% worldwide, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has distributed over 450 million bed nets, and over 1 million babies have been born HIV-free thanks to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); but there is still work to do.  What happens once the day is over? How do we turn that attention into action? How are these issues going to be addressed? After awareness is raised, we still need concerted global action every day of the year if we are to make truly sustainable, impactful improvements in the lives of women and girls’ around the world. Here are a few things I think we can do at the global, US and local level to keep the spirit of IWD alive:

Globally: Elevate women and girls in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

{Photo credit: Rui Pires}Photo credit: Rui Pires

 {Photo credit: MSH}Colin Gilmartin, Dr. San San Aye, Uzaib Saya, and David Collins present at HSR 2014.Photo credit: MSH

This post originally appeared on the MSH at the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research conference blog.

On September 30 – October 3, 2014, nearly 3,000 researchers, program managers, and policy makers convened in Cape Town, South Africa for the Third Health Systems Research Symposium (HSR2014) to review evidence and research focused on improving people-centered health systems and service delivery. A key component to strengthening health systems and improving health outcomes is through health care financing mechanisms.

 {Photo credit: MSH/#ToastUHC photo booth/RH}Yvonne Chaka Chaka (center) with members of the UN Mission from Japan (including Toshihisa Nakamura and Masaki Inasa), and Sumie Ishii of JOICFP.Photo credit: MSH/#ToastUHC photo booth/RH

Experience "A Toast to Universal Health Coverage" () through photos and tweets in this Storify story . (Storify is a social media tool for curating digital content, such as photos, videos, links, and tweets.) You can also view the complete Photo album: " Photo Booth" on Facebook. (Share and tag these photos via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or your favorite social media channel, using hashtag .)

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman.

Universal health coverage (UHC) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are high priorities in global health—just look at the proposed post-2015 development goals. The increasing burden of NCDs is widely recognised, and a growing list of countries have joined the UHC movement. But what’s less widely understood is why a UHC approach is necessary for an effective NCD response.

 {Photo credit: <a href="http://www.kwibuka.rw/">Kwibuka 20</a>}The #Kwibuka20 Flame of Remembrance burning bright at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, Rwanda.Photo credit: Kwibuka 20

Twenty years ago, the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi began in Rwanda. Nearly a million people were slaughtered from April through July, 1994.

In 2003, the UN General Assembly designated April 7 as International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. This year, to mark the 20th anniversary, the Republic of Rwanda launched Kwibuka20 (“Remember20”), a series of events commemorating the tragedy and honoring the nearly one million Rwandans who lost their lives.

The theme of Kwibuka20, “Remember, Unite, Renew”, also celebrates the remarkable story of resilience and hope of the Rwandan people, who are building a new, prosperous, and cohesive society. Kwibuka20 calls on the global community to stand together against genocide in three key ways:

{Photo credit: Todd Shapera in Rwanda.}Photo credit: Todd Shapera in Rwanda.

Addressing NCDs is critical for global public health, but it will also be good for the economy; for the environment; for the global public good in the broadest sense… If we come together to tackle NCDs, we can do more than heal individuals–we can safeguard our very future.

- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in his remarks to the UN General Assembly in 2011

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the LIVESTRONG Foundation (LIVESTRONG) are proud to sponsor a Congressional staff study tour to Uganda and Rwanda examining the key elements of the countries' health systems with a particular focus on how the countries are addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases.

Strong health systems are the most sustainable way of improving health and saving lives at large scale. For a health system to address the needs of its people it must:

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman. DRC}Photo credit: Warren Zelman. DRC

MSH's current newsletter (November/December 2013) features stories about the people on the frontlines improving health and saving lives: health workers.

A Note from Dr. Jonathan D. Quick

My MSH colleagues Mary O'Neil and Jonathan Jay blog about what we can learn from the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, held this November in Recife, Brazil:

Recife Top Ten: Together Toward Health for All

 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera}Emanuel Bizimungu, a community health worker in eastern Rwanda, examines a girl.Photo credit: Todd Shapera

As the United Nations General Assembly kicks off general debate on the post-2015 development agenda this week, advocates of a universal health coverage (UHC) target are rallying other organizations to build and showcase support around UHC. These efforts include high-profile events on Monday and Tuesday, both hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation with partner support. On Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson hosted an event on the key role of frontline health workers to efforts like these. This post, which originally appeared on The Lancet Global Health Blog, is part of a "Rallying for UHC" series: MSH bloggers expanding on the themes raised by these events and considering the road ahead for UHC in post-2015 discussions. Readers can participate by adding comments on the blog posts, or joining the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag.  

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