Policy & Systems


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From Ferguson to Freetown, Black Lives Don’t Matter

By Drs. Sriram Shamasunder & Phuoc LeDecember 2014“We must name them and know their stories. They must not remain anonymous.” The bodies of Michael Brown Read More

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Big Data in Davos

Last week I was invited to speak at the Annual Conference of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  


Health systems (part III), finance and leadership

From This Week in Global Health. Health systems (part III), finance and leadership – YouTube.


Segregated, Single-Issue Health Targets Hold Back Progress On MNCH

Devex: The specter of segregation haunts global health Patrick Fine, chief executive officer of FHI 360, and Leith Greenslade, vice chair in the Office of the U.N. Special Envoy for Financing the health Millennium Development Goals and co-chair of Child Health at the MDG Health Alliance “…Could [the MDG targets for infant and maternal mortality]…More

Technical Working Group To Discuss Sustainable NCD Financing Models

Devex: Finding novel, sustainable ways to finance NCDs “…[A] group of technical experts … for the first time are meeting Feb. 23-24 in Geneva to discuss which of the different financing models that currently exist could fund the prevention, control, and treatment of NCDs — or if a new one is needed. These experts form…More

Cholera Vaccine Stockpile Usage Successfully Prevents Outbreaks

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists”: In South Sudan, Vaccine Stockpiles Save Lives Helen Matzger, senior program officer on the Vaccine Delivery Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes about the successful use of the cholera vaccine stockpile, “managed by World Health Organization, International Federation of the Red Cross and Crescent, Médecins…More

Senegal Celebrates Great Progress in Family Planning During National Review

According to some news reports I’ve read lately and discussions with my Senegalese colleagues, there are pockets of Senegalese society that remain deeply skeptical of family planning.The stories and conversations highlight resistance to, for instance, modern contraceptive methods, which can be used to space births and allow women to have healthier pregnancies and healthier children.But what I saw in the King Fahd Hotel in Dakar on February 5, 2015, told another story. It left me with no doubt that family planning is catching on in Senegal. I saw only great enthusiasm and celebration for the country’s achievements over the past three years.Senegal has witnessed a significant increase in modern contraceptive prevalence rate. The reason for this excitement and celebration was the national review of Senegal’s National Action Plan for Family Planning 2012-2015. The review spanned two days and involved over 100 people from all levels of the health system, donors, implementing partners—national and international—and visitors from Mauritania and Niger.Minister of Health and Social Action, Awa Marie Coll Seck, presided.Senegal developed its national plan in 2012 as a follow-up action from the Ouagadougou Conference in February 2011, and in preparation for the pivotal London Summit in July 2012.

WFP Begins Aid Delivery In Flood-Hit Malawi

U.N. News Centre: As Malawi reels from devastating floods, U.N. food agency delivers vital supplies “The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has announced the delivery of a first round of emergency supplies to more than 288,000 people in flood-affected Malawi, providing much needed relief amid continuing rains…” (2/23).

Innovation, Integrated Interventions Needed To Tackle NTDs

Devex: What not to neglect in tackling NTDs “…[Dirk Engels, head of WHO’s NTD department,] suggested turning to innovative financing streams such as development impact bonds or performance-based financing. … But he cautioned against limiting innovation to mobilizing resources. Further, the global health community shouldn’t fixate on targeting diseases individually, and instead focus on integrated…More

From Guinea: The Doors Shut by Ebola are Starting to Open

The culture in Guinea is vibrant and thrives on close-knit communities and personal relationships. When the largest-ever outbreak of Ebola started here in March 2014, it threatened not only the health of Guinea’s population but also the ties that bind its people together.Since then, there have been over 3,000 confirmed cases and over 2,000 deaths.At the turn of the year, the number of new cases started to drastically decrease, but since I arrived in Conakry in early February, the pendulum has swung and cases are sharply on the rise again.I came to Guinea to explore whether mHero—IntraHealth International and UNICEF’s mobile platform to for reaching the country’s far-flung health workers with two-way communication and critical information—could help the government combat the epidemic and help strengthen the health system after Ebola has ended.Ebola closed doors and ignited fear. But sitting down to enjoy a beautiful Conakry sunset with Diallo, a fellow public health worker and new Guinean friend, gave me the opportunity to get outside my day-to-day submergence in statistics and surveillance data and learn about how Ebola has affected everyday life. I asked Diallo what life was like here when Ebola arrived.He told me that life didn’t stop when Ebola happened. But Ebola closed doors and ignited fear

The impact of professional and organizational identification on the relationship between…

Background: Hospitals face increasingly competitive market conditions.

A Life of Service: Insight into the life of a community health worker

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The health sector in Zambia faces major human resources challenges, with a shortage of health care workers at practically every service delivery level. For example, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended establishment, Zambia faces a shortage of 9,271 nurses (a vacancy rate of 55%), 2,538 clinical officers (a vacancy rate of 63%), and 1,464 doctors (a vacancy rate of 64%) as of January 2010. To compensate for this critical shortage, like many developing countries with human resource shortages in the health sector, Zambia has utilized community health workers (CHWs) to alleviate the workload of delivering primary health care services for the few trained health care workers within the health care system, especially for the provision of basic preventive, health care promotion and curative health services in underserved rural areas. But how does one become a community health worker? Do they receive any formal training

Rescued Learning: New Loan Fund in Kenya Keeps Medical Students in Class

“When I received admission to Tenwek School of Nursing, my excitement overshadowed my family’s financial challenges,” says Caren Chirchir, a young woman in Kenya.Caren is the second of five children and she carries her family’s hope for a better future. Her older sister dropped out of school to get married.When Caren’s father heard about her acceptance he called her aunties and uncles to ask for help paying her tuition fees. “Sad as it may sound, they advised my father to marry me off,” she says.But her father told them his daughter would go to school even if he’d have nothing left.The high cost of medical training With training costing about 70,000 Kenya Shillings ($767) a year for most middle-level colleges like Tenwek, many students are unable to raise enough money and end up dropping out of their programs. So Caren’s father organized a fundraising event. Neighbors contributed enough for her to report to school. But the money didn’t last long and the fees kept coming.

The Vaccine Talk: A Crucial Moment for Parents, Children, and Health Workers

You can’t swing a subcutaneous injection syringe in the US right now without hitting a headline related to vaccines, or to the ongoing outbreaks they could have prevented.Take measles, for instance. It was eliminated in the US in 2000, but the viral infection made a disheartening comeback in 2014 with a record 644 cases. Now 2015 is shaping up much the same—reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 102 new cases in January alone.An outbreak of the mumps is making its way through the US’s National Hockey League, of all populations, leaving some the toughest athletes in the country prostrate and quarantined.When vaccines are not well understood, dangers abound. And even after decades of work to eradicate it, the world is still grappling with polio—a contagious, incurable, crippling, highly preventable disease. There were 350 cases in eight countries last year.

From Ferguson to Freetown, Black Lives Don’t Matter

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By Drs. Sriram Shamasunder & Phuoc LeDecember 2014“We must name them and know their stories. They must not remain anonymous.” The bodies of Michael Brown Read More

Bridging the Gap: Surgical Care in Low-Resource Settings

Seven years ago, young Mohammed Hussein was playing with friends near his home in Bangladesh when an accident occurred that would change his life forever.He and his friends were beside a road that was being paved, when Mohammed Hussein fell into a vat of hot tar. His right leg and both feet were severely burned, and without access to proper treatment for his injury, the skin on his leg began to scar and contract.The contracture of his skin became so severe that his calf became fused to the back of his thigh, leaving him disfigured and disabled.Approximately two billion people worldwide have no access to basic surgical care. When ReSurge’s Surgical Outreach Program director, Dr. Shafquat Khundkar, first met Mohammed Hussein six years later, he appeared to be an amputee. Dr.

Blog Post Discusses Recent WHO Decisions Potentially Affecting Global Health R&D

Global Health Technologies Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: WHO Executive Board agrees on set-up of pooled fund for global health R&D “In this guest post, Alexandra Heumber — head of policy affairs at the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative — discusses actions taken during the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Executive Board meeting which could impact financing for the…More

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