Stories

MSH works with the Global Drug Facility to help laboratory staff in Congo-Brazzaville improve tuberculosis detection Tuberculosis (TB) is a public health emergency: 8 million people worldwide develop active TB each year. Diagnosing patients with TB, by examining their sputum under the microscope to detect tuberculosis bacteria, is pivotal to the control of this disease. This relatively simple, but labor-intensive laboratory test requires great concentration and attention to detail.

Provincial Planning Coordinating Committees meet monthly to monitor health conditions and review performance throughout the province. {Photo by Steve Sapirie 2004.}Photo by Steve Sapirie 2004.

War and conflict over the past 25 years have had dire consequences for the health of the Afghan people, particularly women and children. The health system was decimated, hospitals and health clinics were destroyed, and many trained health personnel fled the country, all contributing to some of highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world.

In need of health care and medicines, many rural Tanzanians have to trek long distances to their nearest public health facility. Once there, they often find the medicines they need are out of stock, generally having to turn to private drug outlets, or duka la dawa baridi, to buy their prescribed medicines—and often paying more money for drugs of uncertain quality. This is the plight of many in Tanzania, where life expectancy had fallen to 44 years in 2001, from 50 years in 1990 (World Bank 2003), and infant mortality is 107 deaths per 1,000 and rising.

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