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

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 1 in 10 pharmaceutical products sold globally is falsified or substandard, with deadly effects and the situation is known to be far worse in certain regions of the world; in 2013 alone, falsified malaria medicines killed more than 120,000 children in Africa.  Meanwhile, WHO surveys in 2018 estimated that only about one-third of National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) had the capacity to effectively regulate medical products in their hospitals, pharmacies, and communities, with only one of those NRAs being in Africa.The WHO

{The USAID MTaPS Program is supporting the Philippines in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring the availability of quality health commodities in communities. Photo credit: MTaPS staff}The USAID MTaPS Program is supporting the Philippines in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring the availability of quality health commodities in communities. Photo credit: MTaPS staff

Andre Zagorski of the MSH-led, USAID-funded MTaPS Program talks about the program's urgent work to help contain the virus in more than a dozen countries.

{Andre Zagorski} Andre ZagorskiHow did you and MTaPS rally to support USAID’s call for a rapid response to COVID-19 in a dozen countries? What were the challenges? 

MTaPS is the USAID Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) go-to program for infection prevention and control (IPC), and we have been implementing activities to strengthen health systems for stronger IPC programs in 10 countries since the MTaPS award in 2018. We have offices and small but strong professional teams in these countries and have established productive working relations with national stakeholders and partners.

Story by Samy Rakotoniaina and Misa Rahantason

Malaria is one of the leading causes of mortality among children under five in Madagascar. Atsimo Andrefana is one of Madagascar’s regions most severely impacted by endemic malaria. More than half of the population in this region lives more than five kilometers from the nearest health facility, putting Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) on the front lines in the fight against malaria.

Retsilake is one of the 6,000 high-performing CHVs supported by the USAID-funded Accessible Continuum of Care and Essential Services Sustained (ACCESS) project. ACCESS is implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), in partnership with a consortium of international and local organizations, and alongside Madagascar’s Ministry of Public Health. The project is partly funded by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).

Retsilake diagnosed and treated nearly 2,000 children from his village and the surrounding area during a particularly severe malaria outbreak in 2015. He understands the impacts of malaria on children's health and this keeps him motivated to serve his community.

Guatemala, like many parts of the world, is on lockdown, with curfews put in place by the Guatemalan government in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Gatherings of any size are prohibited and these restrictions have affected MSH’s Strengthening Antenatal Care Project in the department of Quetzaltenango, which brings together pregnant Mayan women for group antenatal care (ANC) sessions.As of April 15, 2020, Guatemala has recorded 196 cases of COVID-19, including 5 deaths and 19 recovered patients.

The USAID MTaPS Program is supporting the Philippines in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The concerted effort is a partnership of USAID with the Philippines Department of Health (DoH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF.  MTaPS is assisting in two technical areas critical to managing and controlling the pandemic: infection prevention and control (IPC) and supply chain management of essential emergency commodities.

Photo credit: Amany AyubPhoto credit: Amany Ayub

The USAID MTaPS Program is supporting the Government of Bangladesh to manage and contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

{Photo credit: Christina Mchau}Photo credit: Christina Mchau

By Doris Lutkam, MD, MPHPreventing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases is key to protecting the health of both patients and health care workers (HCWs). This is an urgent need in Tanzania, and not only because of the threat of COVID-19, but also to make the country vigilant about stopping the spread of HIV, tuberculosis, and antimicrobial-resistant infections.

Photo credit: MSH

The USAID Medicines, Technologies and Pharmaceutical Services (MTaPS) Program, led by MSH, is working with the Government of Bangladesh and other stakeholders to develop an online reporting system that will strengthen supply chain management for commodities needed to prevent and treat COVID-19 at health facilities.Bangladesh’s COVID-19 objectives are to increase border security to curb the entry of COVID-19 patients, identify cases early, update the country’s laboratory capacity to test for the virus, and prepare the public health system to respond to an outbreak. Following th

{Raian Amzad in the Control Room. Photo credit: MSH}Raian Amzad in the Control Room. Photo credit: MSH

Raian Amzad, a technical advisor with the DFID-funded Better Health in Bangladesh (BHB) project, and her colleagues took time away from their regular work to help Bangladesh’s central response to COVID-19. Here’s how the project and the country are handling the pandemic threat. 

Can you tell me about your recent work assignment related to COVID-19? What did your typical day look like?

On March 17, the Directorate General of Health Services opened a temporary Integrated Control Room for COVID-19 response. Fifteen different groups are working there. I was in one with other developmental partners.

The control room guides, supervises, and monitors the entire country in responding to COVID-19; facilitating meetings with donors; disseminating awareness messages and myth busters for the public; developing guidelines for the health workforce; and coordinating logistics, commodities, and media outreach. I have been engaged in all sorts of tasks, and it was enlightening to work so closely with the government health system. 

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