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 #Action2015.

More mothers and children under five are surviving, but progress is "uneven across regions and countries, leaving significant gaps", the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirmed today, July 6, launching the final Millennium Development Goals Report (2015). Child under-five mortality has been cut in half since 1990 (reduced from 90 to 43 deaths per 1,000 live births) and maternal mortality has been reduced 45 percent -- with much of the reduction occuring since 2000.

According to the UN press release:

Targeted investments in fighting diseases, such as HIV/AIDs and malaria, have brought unprecedented results. Over 6.2 million malaria deaths were averted between 2000 and 2015, while tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment interventions saved an estimated 37 million lives between 2000 and 2013.

Worldwide, 2.1 billion have gained access to improved sanitation and the proportion of people practicing open defecation has fallen almost by half since 1990.

{Photo credit: Glenn Ruga}Photo credit: Glenn Ruga

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) is pleased to announce the availability of the 2014 edition of the International Drug Price Indicator Guide. The Guide provides a spectrum of prices from 25 sources, including pharmaceutical suppliers, international development organizations, and government agencies.

Use the Guide to determine the probable cost of pharmaceutical products for programs, compare current prices paid to prices available on the international market, assess the potential financial impact of changes to a medicines list, and to support rational medicine use education.

 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera}Antibiotics on the shelves of a pharmacy in Rwanda.Photo credit: Todd Shapera

In May 2015, the World Health Assembly discussed and endorsed a global action plan on antimicrobial resistance. The action plan sets five strategic objectives to promote better understanding of the threat of antimicrobial resistance, and to ensure the proper use and conservation of existing antimicrobials.

{Photo credit: Katy Doyle/MSH, West Africa}Photo credit: Katy Doyle/MSH, West Africa

The following blog post is a web-formatted version of MSH's Global Health Impact newsletter (June 2015 edition), Good Governance Strengthens Health Systems. We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments. Get Global Health Impact in your inbox

Notes

by James A. Rice, PhD

What do we mean by governance? Governance is a structured process used by a group of people—often referred to as a governing body, board, or council—to make decisions about policy, plans, and rules of collective action for an organization or system. For health organizations, the focus of this collective action is strengthening health systems to expand access to quality health services and achieve sustainable gains in health outcomes.

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

While at the World Federation of Public Health Associations meeting in India earlier this year, I met with a district health manager from Nigeria. He asked,

What is the value of having a District Health Council? It takes a lot of time to work with them; so what is the return on that invested time?

My Nigerian colleague is not the only one struggling to support the role of governing bodies. For years, governing bodies -– from district and provincial health councils to executive boards -– have been overlooked as valuable players in strengthening health systems.

“There are many examples of how investments in good governance lead to better health outcomes,” I said, “and many opportunities for supporting the under-supported leaders who govern through district health councils, hospital boards, or other governing bodies.”

We talked about how in the journey to stronger health system performance and greater health outcomes, it is not enough to have good leaders and managers to enable the talents of good health workers.

Strong health systems also need strong trustees serving on the organization’s governing body.

We determined that a good district health council -– or any good governing body –- amplifies the investment of time in at least three ways:

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

The benefits of good health governance are far-reaching: Leaders who govern facilitate the work of health managers. Health managers facilitate the work of health service providers.
- Management Sciences for Health

On May 11-13, 2015, the USAID-funded Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), conducted an online seminar on LeaderNet titled Unleash the Power of Good Governance. Over the three-day seminar, 93 participants representing 75 organizations in 36 countries discussed challenges to good governance among public and civil society organizations, and how to overcome them. The seminar was offered in three languages: English, French and Spanish, and encouraged learning through source materials, the facilitators, and one another.

Three themes emerged from among the online discussion threads:

 {Photo by: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/nyayahealth/7157522726/">Possible</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY</a>}A female health volunteer surveys women to gather data in Nepal. Better health information is vital to achieving health goals.Photo by: Possible CC BY

In many developing countries, true life-and-death decisions hinge on information that’s old, unreliable or both.

Without strong national capacity for data collection, health officials are left in the dark when monitoring outbreaks of diseases like Ebola or trying to improve care for cancer patients. Many countries are unable to produce an accurate picture of their progress toward universal health coverage (UHC) or even assess their starting point.

Meanwhile, the global health community has rallied behind ambitious sustainable development goals for the post-2015 era, an agenda that adopts new priorities like achieving UHC and addressing noncommunicable diseases alongside updated targets for the health-related Millennium Development Goals. Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health foresees countries’ taking increased ownership over health priority-setting and program implementation.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}A woman and child visit an accredited dispenser in Tanzania.Photo credit: MSH staff

There are ways to make informal outlets fit for quality care in poor areas, say Jafary Hassan Liana and Martha Embrey.

{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: MSH staff/Haiti}Photo credit: MSH staff/Haiti

Multisector perspectives on achieving resilience in global health

Recent events, such as the Haiti and Nepal earthquakes and West Africa Ebola outbreak, have demonstrated, now more than ever, that a resilient health system is vital to ensuring stability and well-being in society. With this in mind, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the USAID-funded, MSH-led, Leadership, Management, and Governance project in Haiti (LMG/Haiti), partnered with Johnson & Johnson to host a high-level panel event during the 68th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The event, entitled Building and Maintaining Resilience to Address Global Health Challenges, examined how the global health community can move beyond typical public-private partnerships to achieve a model of true country stakeholder engagement. This model would include and leverage the strengths of all actors to build systems capable of addressing long-term global health issues like non-communicable diseases while maintaining resilience to outbreaks like Ebola.

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