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The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) was launched in February 2014 to help build countries’ capacity to help create a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats and elevate global health security as a national and global priority. Find out more about the GHSA, visit: https://www.ghsagenda.org/ 

Over half a billion people have died in epidemics over the last century and most experts agree another epidemic is not a matter of if, but a matter of when. Are you ready? This one page summary of Ready Together was presented at the 2017 Conference on Epidemic Preparedness held at Harvard Medical School.  

Between May and July of 2015, South Korea experienced an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, that lead to 38 deaths and seriously affected the country's economy. 

The No More Epidemics campaign held its final event on November 13, 2017—the Ready Together Conference on Epidemic Preparedness, hosted in partnership with Harvard Medical School, Georgetown University’s Center for Global Health Science and Security, Harvard Global Health Institute, and the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation.

  Although international guidelines for tuberculosis (TB) control are standardized, country TB programs are often unable to properly manage the data needed for following the guidelines, resulting in poorly timed interventions.  

In his new book, 'The End of Epidemics: The Looming Threat to Humanity and How to Stop It,' Dr. Johnathan D. Quick, a Harvard Medical School faculty member and Chair of the Global Health Council, examines the eradication of smallpox and devastating effects of influenza, AIDS, SARS, and Ebola.

Since adopting Option B+ in 2011, Malawi has made significant progress in identifying and treating pregnant women living with HIV, thereby reducing vertical transmission. During the same time period, follow-up, diagnosis, and care of babies born to HIV-infected mothers also improved.

Malawi has a population of 18 million, with an adult HIV prevalence of 10.6%. The country has made remarkable progress toward achieving the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals, achieving the first goal remains a challenge. The Malawi HIV program estimated Malawi’s progress on achieving the 90-90-90 goals at 88-78-86 by June 2017.

Malawi adopted the 90-90-90 strategy as part of the National Strategic Plan to end HIV/AIDS by 2030 which calls for: identifying 90% of people living with HIV (PLHIV); initiating and retaining on antiretroviral therapy (ART) 90% of PLHIV identified; and achieving 90% viral suppression for ART patients.

Malawi is among the countries hardest hit by the HIV pandemic. The country has a national HIV prevalence rate of 10.6% of the adult population aged 15–64 years (12.8% women vs 8.2% in men). With 85% of Malawians living in rural areas, access to health services is difficult because of long distances, poverty, and other social factors.

HIV has been a global challenge over the past several decades, particularly in developing countries such as Malawi, where adult HIV prevalence is about 10.6%.

Malawi has a significant youth and adolescent population, with nearly two-thirds of the country’s estimated 17.2 million people under the age of 24. Youth and adolescents, aged 10-24, account for about 50% of new HIV infections in Malawi.

Cervical cancer affects an estimated 527,624 women worldwide each year, killing more than half of them. About 85% of the global disease burden occurs in developing countries, and Southern Africa is one of the highest-risk regions in the world.

Since the 1990s, the Inter-agency field manual on reproductive health in humanitarian settings (IAFM) has provided authoritative guidance on reproductive health service provision during different phases of complex humanitarian emergencies. In 2018, the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises will release a new edition of this global resource. In this article, we describe the collaborative and inter-sectoral revision process and highlight major changes in the 2018 IAFM. We conclude with an outline of plans for releasing the 2018 IAFM and facilitating uptake by those working in refugee, crisis, conflict, and emergency settings.

In 2011 the Help Ethiopia Address the Low TB Performance (HEAL TB) Project used WHO or national TB indicators as standards of care (SOC) for baseline assessment, progress monitoring, gap identification, assessment of health workers’ capacity-building needs, and data quality assurance. In this analysis we present results from 10 zones (of 28) in which 1,165 health facilities were supported from 2011 through 2015. The improvement in the median composite score of 13 selected major indicators (out of 22) over four years was significant. The proportion of health facilities with 100% data accuracy for all forms of TB was 55.1% at baseline and reached 96.5%. In terms of program performance, the TB cure rate improved from 71% to 91.1%, while the treatment success rate increased from 88% to 95.3%. In the laboratory area, where there was previously no external quality assurance (EQA) for sputum microscopy, 1,165 health facilities now have quarterly EQA, and 96.1% of the facilities achieved a ≥ 95% concordance rate in blinded rechecking. The SOC approach for supervision was effective for measuring progress, enhancing quality of services, identifying capacity needs, and serving as a mentorship and an operational research tool.

Between December 2014 and September 2016, we conducted a prospective cohort study in eight health facilities in Ethiopia. Eligibility criteria included age 3 months-14 years; being on ART for not more than a month. Of 309 children, 304 were included, 52% were male. During 287.7 person-years of observation (PYO), 24 attritions were recorded, yielding an attrition rate of 8.3 per 100 PYO. Younger children, those from rural areas, and children with anaemia were at higher risk of attrition, especially during the early months of treatment, and therefore should be prioritized during treatment follow-up.

This was a retrospective study of TB data for Kampala City for the period 2011–2015. We extracted data from the TB registers in the 52 diagnostic and treatment units in Kampala. We report on data for children 0 to 14 years. We accessed 33,221 TB patient records, of which 2,333 (7%) were children. The proportion of children with pulmonary TB was 80%. The TB notification rate among children in Kampala City showed a large decline (from 105 to 74 per 100,000) during the period. There was a slight improvement in the treatment success rate among the children.

Clinical monitoring of pediatric HIV treatment remains a major challenge in settings where drug resistance genotyping is not routinely available. As a result, our understanding of drug resistance, and its impact on subsequent therapeutic regimens available in these settings, remains limited. We investigate the prevalence and correlates of HIV-1 drug resistance among 94 participants of the Ethiopia Pediatric HIV Cohort failing first-line combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) using dried blood spot-based genotyping. Overall, 81% (73/90) of successfully genotyped participants harbored resistance mutations. Strikingly, 42% of resistant participants harbored resistance to all four nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors recommended for second-line use in this setting, meaning that there are effectively no remaining cART options for these children. Longer cART duration and prior regimen changes were significantly associated with detection of drug resistance mutations. Replicate genotyping increased the breadth of drug resistance detected in 34% of cases, and thus is recommended for consideration when typing from blood spots. Implementation of timely drug resistance testing and access to newer antiretrovirals and drug classes are urgently needed to guide clinical decision-making and improve outcomes for HIV-infected children on first-line cART in Ethiopia.

Task-shifting mental health into general medical care requires more than brief provider training. Generalists need long-term support to master new skills and changes to work context are required to sustain change in the face of competing priorities. We examined program and context factors promoting and obstructing sustainability of a mental health task-shifting training for hospital-based HIV providers in Ethiopia.

Afghanistan has made remarkable improvements in health indicators since 2005. However, a wide range of barriers prevent rural communities in Afghanistan from accessing tuberculosis (TB) and other health services.

There are more than one million Malawians (HIV prevalence of 10.6%) living with HIV. Nearly 85% of people live in rural or hard-to-reach areas of the country and the sparsely located health facilities are unable to meet their needs.

In 2011, Malawi pioneered an ambitious test-and-treat approach for pregnant and breastfeeding women, known as Option B+. Under this strategy, all HIV-infected pregnant and breastfeeding women are provided with lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) regardless of their CD4 count or clinical stage.

In 2008, the USAID Mission invited the Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems (SPS) Program to provide technical assistance and support to the Government of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) to improve the pharmaceutical system.

Outbreaks can overwhelm weak or fragile health systems that lack the tools, infrastructure, policies, and systems to keep communities healthy and safe. Timely detection, preparedness, and appropriate response are essential for limiting both the loss of human life and crippling political and socio-economic impact of disease outbreaks.

A civil society organisation (CSO) perspective on how UHC can be reached by 2030 Universal Health Coverage 2030 (UHC2030) MSH is the secretariat for the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism of UHC2030, a global movement to build stronger health systems for universal health coverage.

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