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Effective pharmacy services improve patient outcomes and satisfaction by ensuring that life-saving products are available and providing care that helps patients use products safely and appropriately.

Strengthening a country’s capacity to lead its own development is a cornerstone of the United States Government’s foreign assistance efforts. As a prerequisite to receiving direct funding assistance, donors, such as USAID, must assess an organization’s management and systems readiness for the responsible stewardship of funds.

In February 2019, the Bangladesh National Tuberculosis Program and its implementing partners approved the Action Plan for Strategic Roadmap for Zero TB Cities Bangladesh (ZTBCB), which identifies key actions to be taken between 2019 and 2020 for the Government of Bangladesh to achieve its target of halving the urban TB incidence rate by 2025.

Please download to read the USAID Safe, Affordable, and Effective Medicines for Ukrainians (SAFEMed) Activity in Ukraine News Digest, August 2020 edition. 

The Government of Tanzania, through its Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC) and President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government, understands the value of using data and strategic information to achieve effective health service delivery planning and decision making. Despite this, there is limited data use within the health sy

Many low-income and middle-income countries lack the capacity to effectively and efficiently regulate medical products in their countries. To support countries in strengthening their capacity, WHO has developed the Global Benchmarking Tool (GBT) as the global standard for objectively assessing regulatory capacity for medicines and vaccines. The GBT is a game changer because it is the first globally accepted tool for assessing and strengthening national regulatory authorities. The inclusion of an institutional development plan in the GBT methodology provides context-specific actionable steps countries can take to advance their system’s functionality and maturity. The GBT facilitates coordination and improves the effectiveness of regulatory strengthening efforts. The tool also facilitates regulatory reliance and harmonisation, which helps to improve timely access to quality-assured medicines, and creates incentives for trade, particularly in countries and regions with a strong pharmaceutical manufacturing base. 

AbstractBackgroundTo strengthen appropriate medicine use (AMU) including the prescribing and dispensing quality at public sector health facilities in Uganda, the Ministry of Health introduced a multipronged approach known as the Supervision, Performance Assessment, and Recognition Strategy (SPARS).

This study was undertaken to explore childhood malnutrition problems that are associated to household wealth-related and mother’s educational attainment in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Secondary data from birth histories in 35 SSA countries was used. The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data of 384,747 births between 2008 and 2017 in 35 countries was analyzed. Based on the results, Burundi (54.6%) and Madagascar (48.4%) accounted for the highest prevalence of stunted children. Underweight children were 32.5% in Chad and 35.5% in Niger. Nigeria (16.6%) and Benin (16.4%) had the highest burdens of wasted children. The test for differences between children from urban vs. rural was significant in stunted, underweight, overweight, and anemia for household wealth status. Also, the difference in prevalence between children from urban vs. rural was significant in stunted, underweight, and wasted for mother’s educational attainment. Reduction in malnutrition could be achieved by socioeconomic improvement that is sustained and shared in equity and equality among the populace. Interventions which target improvement in food availability can also help to achieve reduction in hunger including communities where poverty is prevalent.

It has been widely confirmed that by implementing appropriate evidence-based practices, ANC can save lives. The new guidelines set by the World Health Organization 2016 recommended increasing contacts with health providers from four to eight contacts. The present study aims to determine the frequency, determinants, and socioeconomic inequalities of ANC utilization based on the eight or more contacts in Benin. This will provide information for policy makers to improve ANC utilization. We used population-based cross-sectional data from Benin Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS)—2017–2018. The outcome variable considered for this study was coverage of ≥ 8 ANC contacts. About 1094 women of reproductive age who became pregnant after the new guideline of ≥ 8 ANC contacts was endorsed were included in this study. The coverage of ≥ 8 ANC contacts was 8.0%; 95%CI 6.5%, 9.7%. Women’s enlightenment, early ANC initiation, and socioeconomic inequalities determined the coverage of ≥ 8 ANC contacts. The findings bring to light the need to enhance women’s enlightenment through formal education, exposure to mass media, and other channels of behavior change communication. Health care programs which encourage early antenatal care initiation should be designed or strengthened to enhance the coverage of ANC contacts in Benin.

Skin-to-skin contact (SSC) between mother and the newborn brings many benefits including its potential to promote the survival of the newborn. Nevertheless, it is a practice that is underutilized in many resource-constrained settings including The Gambia where a high rate of maternal and child mortality has been reported. In this study, we examined the prevalence and determinants of mother and newborn SSC in The Gambia. We used secondary data from The Gambia Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS)—2018. Data from 9205 women between 15-49 years who gave birth within 5 years of the survey was extracted for the analysis. The results of this study showed that the national prevalence of mother and newborn SSC was 35.7%. Based on results from the logit model, normal weight (at least 2.5 kg) children were 1.37 times as likely to have mother and newborn SSC, compared with the low birthweight (< 2.5 kg) children (OR = 1.37; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.78). In addition, there was 38% increase in the odds of rural women who reported mother and newborn SSC, compared with urban women (OR = 1.38; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.79). Women who delivered at health facility were 3.35 times as likely to have mother and newborn SSC, compared with women who delivered at home (OR = 3.35; 95% CI: 2.37, 4.75). Furthermore, women who initiated antenatal care (ANC) after the first trimester had 21% reduction in the odds of mother and newborn SSC, compared with women who initiated ANC within the first trimester. There is a need to promote institutional based delivery using skilled birth attendance, promote early ANC initiation and healthy fetal growth.

In India, only 62% of children had received a full course of basic vaccines in 2016. We evaluated the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI), a campaign-style intervention to increase routine immunization coverage and equity in India, implemented in 2017-2018. We conducted a comparative interrupted time-series analysis using monthly district-level data on vaccine doses delivered, comparing districts participating and not participating in IMI. We estimated the impact of IMI on coverage and under-coverage (defined as the proportion of children who were unvaccinated) during the four-month implementation period and in subsequent months. During implementation, IMI increased delivery of thirteen infant vaccines by between 1.6% (95% CI: -6.4, 10.2%) and 13.8% (3.0%, 25.7%). We did not find evidence of a sustained effect during the 8 months after implementation ended. Over the 12 months from the beginning of implementation, IMI reduced under-coverage of childhood vaccination by between 3.9% (- 6.9%, 13.7%) and 35.7% (-7.5%, 77.4%). The largest estimated effects were for the first doses of vaccines against diptheria-tetanus-pertussis and polio.

The objective of this study was to examine the prevalence and individual-, household- and community-level factors associated with HIV infection among women of reproductive age in Mozambique. We used nationally representative cross-sectional data from the 2015 Survey of Indicators on Immunization, Malaria and HIV or AIDS in Mozambique. A sample of 4726 women of reproductive age was included in this study. The seroprevalence of HIV among women in Mozambique was 10.3% (95% CI 9.2%, 11.6%). Furthermore, women who had two, three and four or more total lifetime number of sex partners were 2.73, 5.61 and 3.95 times as likely to have HIV infection when compared with women with only one lifetime sex partners, respectively. In addition, women of Islam religion had 60% reduction in HIV infection when compared with Christian women (adjusted odds ratio, AOR = 0.40; 95% CI 0.16, 0.99). Female headship and wealth quintiles were associated with HIV infection at household level. Community illiteracy, intimate partner violence, poverty and geographical region were associated with HIV infection at community level.

Please download to read the USAID Safe, Affordable, and Effective Medicines for Ukrainians (SAFEMed) Activity in Ukraine News Digest, September 2020 edition. 

The Government of Tanzania aims to improve the performance of the health systems as advocated in the Tanzania Development Vision 2025.

The USAID-funded, KNCV-led Challenge TB (CTB) project operated from 2014 to 2019 in 24 countries and two regions.

The number of new TB cases has been declining steadily worldwide in recent years. However, the burden remains high among low-income and marginalized populations.

Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and led by the Women and Health Initiative (W&HI) at the Harvard T.H.

Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and led by the Women and Health Initiative (W&HI) at the Harvard T.H.

Please download to read the USAID Safe, Affordable, and Effective Medicines for Ukrainians (SAFEMed) Activity in Ukraine News Digest, October 2020 edition. 

From 2011 to 2018, 142,797 bacteriologically confirmed TB cases were diagnosed in Afghanistan. The number of household members eligible for screening was estimated to be 856,782, of whom 586,292 (81%) were screened for TB and 117,643 (20.1%) were found to be presumptive TB cases. Among the cases screened, 10,896 TB cases (all forms) were diagnosed, 54.4% in females. The number needed to screen to diagnose a single case of TB (all forms) was 53.8; the number needed to test was 10.7. Out of all children under five, 101,084 (85.9%) were initiated on IPT, and 69,273 (68.5%) completed treatment. The study concluded that program performance in contact screening in Afghanistan is high, at 81%, and the yield of TB is also high—close to 10 times higher than the national TB incidence rate. IPT initiation and completion rates are also high as compared to those of many other countries but need further improvement, especially for completion.

To assess study feasibility and key implementation outcomes for the Tika Vaani model, a new approach to educate and empower beneficiaries to improve immunization and child health, a cluster-randomized pilot trial was conducted in rural Uttar Pradesh, India, in 2018. A total of 387 households (184 intervention and 203 control) with children aged 0 to 12 months in 26 villages (13 intervention and 13 control) were included and randomized. Interventions used strategies adapted to disadvantaged populations: (1) mobile health (mHealth): entertaining educational audio capsules (edutainment) and voice immunization reminders via mobile phone and (2) face-to-face: community mobilization activities The trial showed that those interventions could strengthen the delivery of immunization and universal primary health care. Social and behavior change communication via mobile phones proved viable and contributed to standardization and scalability. Face-to-face interactions remain necessary to achieve equity and reach, suggesting the need for ongoing health system strengthening to accompany the introduction of communication technologies.

This study in the Amhara and Oromia regions of Ethiopia assessed the outcomes of tuberculosis (TB) treatment among children younger than 15 years. Retrospective data were collected on treatment outcomes and their determinants for children with TB for the cohorts of 2012-2014 enrolled in 40 hospitals and 137 health centers. Chi-square tests, t-tests, and logistic regression were used for the analysis. Of 2,557 children registered, 1,218 (47.6%) had clinically diagnosed pulmonary TB, 1,100 (43%) had extrapulmonary TB, and 277 (8.9%) had bacteriologically confirmed TB. Among all cases, 2,503 (97.9%) were newly diagnosed and 178 (7%) were HIV positive. Two-thirds of the children received directly observed treatment (DOT) in health centers and the remaining one-third, in hospitals. The treatment success rate (TSR) was 92.2%, and the death rate was 2.8%. The childhood TSR was high compared with those reported in focal studies in Ethiopia, but no national TSR report for children exists for comparison. Multivariate analysis showed that being older-5-9 years and 10-14 years-enrolled in DOT in a health center, and HIV negative were predictors of treatment success, whereas underdosing during the intensive phase of treatment was negatively correlated with treatment success. We recommend more research to determine if intensive monitoring of children with TB, dosage adjustment of anti-TB drugs based on weight changes, and training of health workers on dosage adjustment might improve treatment outcomes.

The Tika Vaani intervention, an initiative to improve basic health knowledge and empower beneficiaries to improve vaccination uptake and child health for underserved rural populations in India, was assessed in a pilot cluster randomized trial. The intervention was delivered through two strategies: mHealth (using mobile phones to send vaccination reminders and audio-based messages) and community mobilization (face-to-face meetings) in rural Indian villages from January to September 2018. We assessed acceptability and implementation fidelity to determine whether the intervention delivered in the pilot trial can be implemented at a larger scale. Findings demonstrated high (86.7%) implementation fidelity. A total of 94% of the target population benefited from the intervention by participating in a face-to-face group meeting or via mobile phone. The participants felt that the strategies were useful means for obtaining information. The clarity of the intervention theory, the motivation, and commitment of the implementers as well as the periodic meetings of the supervisors largely explain the high level of fidelity obtained. Geographic distance, access to a mobile phone, level of education, and gender norms are contextual factors that contributed to heterogeneity in participation. Although the intervention was evaluated in the context of a randomized trial that could explain the high level of fidelity obtained, this evaluation provides confirmatory evidence that the results of the study reflect the underlying theory. The mobile platform coupled with community mobilization was well-received by the participants and could be a useful way to improve health knowledge and change behavior.

The world is facing an unprecedented crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic with many unknowns, which has led to much confusion and anxiety. Public health measures have for centuries been the cornerstone of the response to epidemics. Among them, physical distancing measures aim to reduce contact between infected and uninfected people. As part of the global COVID-19 response, they have been widely used to slow down the spread of the virus in several countries. Despite their overall acceptance, they have been poorly documented, particularly in Africa, and debates persist on their appropriateness and practicality in the context of low-income countries. This article describes the implementation of these measures in four West-African countries—Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Guinea—and discusses people’s willingness to comply with them. We describe these measures and discuss the importance of considering the socio-cultural, economic and political context to choose the most appropriate and effective measures and propose ways to explore strategies that are potentially better adapted to the African context.

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