South Africa

Alime, a patient featured in MSH's Medicine Movers

by Devex's Noa Gutterman and Management Sciences for Health

This summer, Devex partnered with Management Sciences for Health (MSH) to host Access to Medicines (), a conversation that has analyzed and amplified the discussion on global access to medicines.

Over the last three weeks,  has examined major questions including: 

 Cynthia (left) cares for her grandson, Alime, orphaned to AIDS and living with HIV, in East London, South Africa.

This post is an excerpt from "Medicine Movers," written by Daphne Northrop, and videos by Emily Judem

EAST LONDON, South Africa -- Nine-month-old Alime and his grandmother Cynthia sit at a table piled with pill bottles, cardboard cartons, and syringes. There are 19 items in all. 

The squiggly Alime, who traveled that morning on his grandmother’s back to the hospital, happily munches on a cookie while the pharmacist counsels his grandmother on when he should take each of his medicines and how much to give him. It’s hard to believe such a tiny boy needs so many pills to survive.

Alime has been HIV-positive since birth. His treatment seems to be working. His weight has doubled, and as he smiles and gurgles quietly in Cynthia’s arms, he looks like a healthy toddler. He rarely takes his eyes off his grandmother, and he reaches out to touch her face as she talks.

Medicine Movers: South Africa from Management Sciences for Health on Vimeo.

{Photo credit: MSH staff, South Africa}Photo credit: MSH staff, South Africa

This post, first published on The Huffington Post, is part 5 in the MSH series on improving the health of the poorest and most vulnerable women, children, and communities by prioritizing prevention and preparing health systems for epidemics. Join the conversation online with hashtag .

Struck with a prolonged and worsening illness, Faith, a 37-year-old Nairobi woman raising her two children, sought help from local clinics. She came away each time with no diagnosis and occasionally an absurdly useless packet of antihistamines. Finally, a friend urged her to get an HIV test. When it came back positive, Faith wanted to kill herself, and got hold of a poison.

All epidemics arise from weak health systems, like the one that failed to serve Faith. Where people are poor and health systems are under-resourced, diseases like AIDS, Yellow Fever, Ebola, TB, Zika, Malaria, steadily march the afflicted to an early grave, decimating families, communities and economies along the way.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

Medicines are a critical component of quality health care. In fact, most of the leading causes of death and disability in low- and middle-income countries could be prevented or treated with the appropriate use of affordable, effective medicines.

Yet, about two billion people—one third of the world’s population—lack consistent access to essential medicines. Fake and substandard medicines exacerbate the problem. When these people fall ill and seek treatment, too often they end up with small quantities, high prices, poor quality, and the wrong drug. This leads to prolonged suffering, and even death.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) is a global leader on pharmaceutical management and universal health coverage (UHC). 

{Photo credit: Susana Galdos/MSH, South Africa}Photo credit: Susana Galdos/MSH, South Africa

Just a few months ago, the province of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, captured the world’s attention for unfortunate reasons: xenophobic attacks on foreign African nationals. This week, from June 9 to 12 in Durban, the same province is hosting the 7th South African AIDS conference, a gathering expected to bring together thousands of activists from within the country, the Southern African region and, indeed, the rest of the continent and the world, to “reflect, refocus, and renew” efforts in response to HIV and AIDS.

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

MSH's May 2015 newsletter highlights the global health impact of pharmaceutical management: Ensuring access to affordable, quality medicines saves lives (subscribe).

Introduction

by Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH

Health care is largely dependent upon essential medicines for preventing infection, reducing pain, and treating illness. The development of effective medicines, however, is only the beginning.

Quality care means getting the right medicine, in the right dose, at an affordable price, for all the people who need it.

Accessible, affordable, and properly used medicines save lives. Major childhood killers like diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, and even HIV, are preventable or treatable with essential medicines. But for many children, where they live means the difference between life and death: some 30,000 children in developing countries die every year from diseases treatable with basic essential medicines.

South African poster encouraging appropriate use of antimicrobials, developed for Pharmacy Week 2014.

Antimicrobial resistance is a major threat to the long-term security of public health and has the potential to negatively impact our society. It is a serious and growing global health security risk, which needs to be prioritised at local and international levels.

-Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, South African Minister of Health

Last May, the World Health Assembly called for global action to address the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program in South Africa (SIAPS-SA), understanding the need for a coordinated national response, worked closely with the National Department of Health (NDoH) on the development of the National Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy Framework 2014-2024 and the institutionalization of a self-assessment and continuous quality improvement approach to enhance infection prevention and control (IPC) programs.

 {Photo credit: Bright Phiri/MSH}Delegates learn about pharmaceutical management from Systems for Improving Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program staff while visiting Mokopane Hospital in Limpopo Province, South Africa.Photo credit: Bright Phiri/MSH

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) sponsored a Congressional Staff Study Tour to South Africa and Zambia in February 2015 to examine the local impact of US funded health capacity strengthening in Southern Africa. During the trip, site visits and meetings highlighted the impact of local health capacity building efforts in pharmaceutical management of essential medicines and HIV & AIDS drugs and technical and managerial development opportunities for community workers.  

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

This post originally appeared on the Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program blog.

Does antimicrobial resistance mean the end of modern medicine as we know it? Not quite yet. However, in a report recently released on global surveillance of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that "a post-antibiotic era–in which common infections and minor injuries can kill–is a very real possibility for the 21st century."

 {Photo credit: Jennifer Acio/MSH.}Last year, a group of community members queued up to register for different services at Budaka Health Center IV on International Women's Day 2013.Photo credit: Jennifer Acio/MSH.

MSH staff and projects participated in International Women's Day celebrations in dozens of countries around the world. We share some of our stories with photos and excerpts from South Africa, Uganda, and Afghanistan.

Uganda Celebrates

STRIDES for Family Health joined the Ugandan government to commemorate International Women's Day in Kumi district. This year’s theme was “In partnership with men and boys for empowerment of women and girls in Uganda.” STRIDES supported village health teams’ participation in the celebration and distributed TOMS shoes before the event to motivate mothers to access services at health facilities.

[Women leaders access health information provided by STRIDES during the International Women's Day event in Kayunga district.] {Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH}Women leaders access health information provided by STRIDES during the International Women's Day event in Kayunga district.Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH

 

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