community health workers

 {Photo credit: MSH.}MSH representatives attend the iCCM Symposium. From left to right: Jean Fidele Ilunga Mubay (DRC Ministry of Health), David Collins, Pascaline Hareimana (MSH/Burundi), Papy Luntadila (MSH/DRC), Ciro Franco, Jane Briggs, Naia Embeke Narcisse (MSH/DRC), Colin Gilmartin, Zina Jarrah, Uzaib Saya.Photo credit: MSH.

In the absence of effective treatment and access to quality health services, diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia remain the leading causes of child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa and cause nearly 44 percent of deaths worldwide in children under five years old. To improve access to life-saving treatment among children, many African countries have begun implementing and scaling-up integrated community case management (iCCM), a strategy that focuses on the delivery of timely and low-cost interventions at the community level by community health workers.

Understanding the potential impact and the importance of iCCM as an effective means to reduce child mortality, more than 400 researchers, donors, government, implementers, and partners representing 35 sub-Saharan African countries convened on March 3-5 in Accra, Ghana for the 2014 Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) Evidence Review Symposium.

The objectives of the Symposium were to review the current state of the art and evidence of iCCM implementation and to assist African countries to integrate and take action on key iCCM findings presented during the evidence symposium. Among those in attendance were 10 Management Sciences for Health (MSH) representatives from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the United States.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}A community health worker uses a mobile phone for health information while caring for a sick child in Salima, Malawi.Photo credit: MSH staff

Natalie Campbell and Elizabeth McLean of MSH and colleagues co-authored a new journal article, "Taking knowledge for health the extra mile: participatory evaluation of a mobile phone intervention for community health workers in Malawi," in the latest issue of Global Health: Science and Practice.

This post originally appeared on the K4Health blog.

 {Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.}Teberih Tsegay, Almaz Haile, Jember Alemayehu, and Yeshi Derebew, of Korem Town, Ethiopia.Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.

Knowledge is power, so the saying goes.

No one understands that more than Teberih Tsegay, Almaz Haile, Jember Alemayehu, and Yeshi Derebew, of Korem Town, Ethiopia, who have used their knowledge to save the lives of babies in their community. "Some years back there was no one to teach us, so we gave birth to HIV-positive children. But now we can teach others so no child will be born with the virus," said Jember.

Seeing the toll HIV had taken on their communities—but empowered with knowledge and skills to stop its further spread—the four women began working with the Korem Health Center as Mother Mentors in 2010. They teach HIV-positive pregnant women and their husbands about the steps necessary to keep their babies safe from the virus.

Remarkably, since they began their work three years ago, only one child has been born HIV-positive in Korem Town.

{Photo credit: Rui Pires. Uganda.}Photo credit: Rui Pires. Uganda.

The world needs more girls like "Alana".

Alana is one of the "lucky" ones. Just five years ago in Uganda, a child had more than a 1 in 10 chance of dying before she reached her fifth birthday. Today the odds have improved slightly, but Uganda remains among the top countries with some of the highest rates of death for children under-five. As the father of three daughters myself, I simply can’t accept that a child’s chance of surviving depends upon where in the world she happens to have been born.

When I see a photo like this, of a bright-eyed girl from a village in Uganda accessing the health care she needs and getting well, I’m reminded why Management Sciences for Health (MSH) works every day to further our vision of a world where everyone has the opportunity for a healthy life.

We’ve come a long way: we’ve reduced child mortality by nearly 70 percent in just 50 years. But a child born in a low-income country is still 18 times more likely to die before the age of five than a child born in a wealthy country.

The tragedy is that we already know how to prevent most child deaths through low-cost, high-impact interventions.

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

Today, November 12, is World Pneumonia Day. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children under five, killing more children annually than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. About 1.1 million children under five died of pneumonia last year, 99 percent in developing countries.

No child should die from pneumonia. Usually caused by bacteria or virus, pneumonia most often manifests in children as a cough and difficulty breathing. The global child health community has proven strategies to prevent and treat pneumonia including vaccines, immediate exclusive breastfeeding, handwashing with soap, access to sanitation, oral rehydration solution with zinc, safe water, amoxicillin, and vitamin A.

{Photo credit: Rui Peres, Uganda}Photo credit: Rui Peres, Uganda

The Guardian's Global Development Professionals Network organized an online conversation with experts on improving child health through community-based care, namely integrated community case management (ICCM).

"ICCM is a key investment because many children and families live too far from a viable health center to reach needed basic care in time that could save the child’s life," said MSH's Global Technical Lead on Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Ciro Franco, MD, MPH, during the September 12 discussion. "ICCM should start with the full consensus of the communities and an assessment of the support system behind it that will enable the community health workers to do their job in an efficient and effective way."

In addition to Dr. Franco (of ), the expert panel included:

 {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.  

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

This post originally appeared as part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the NGO alliance InterAction around the United Nations General Assembly's 68th session and its general debate on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  

Thirty years ago, I was a young physician practicing family medicine in rural Talihina, Oklahoma. We saw unusual cases, including snakebites and a man who survived a gunshot through the heart. But what I loved most was delivering babies – bringing new lives into the world and great joy to parents. Sadly, my most vivid memory from those years is of a baby girl who didn’t make it. Her parents, first-time pregnant, didn’t recognize the warning signs. When they reached the hospital, our team was too slow.  Too late.

 {Photo credit: MSH/Filmona Hailemichael}Dr. Florence Guillaume, Minister of Health of Haiti.Photo credit: MSH/Filmona Hailemichael

On June 7, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and partners hosted Dr. Florence Guillaume, the Minister of Health of Haiti, and panelists for a Capitol Hill luncheon on community health workers in fragile states. The day before, MSH hosted Guillaume in Cambridge, MA, for a town-hall style event on improving maternal and child health. Revisit the two events through a "Storify" story of photos, text, and tweets.

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