Globalizing the Internet for Health Prevention

By Abraar Karan

To Save the Children, UK “Mummy Blogger” Journeys to AfricaImagine your 7-year-old son’s face, abdomen, and legs begin to mysteriously swell one morning. Your initial reaction as a parent would likely be to worry first. However, your second instinct is probably to rush to your computer and search the internet for what might be going on.

This is easy enough for the roughly 72% of people in America who have a computer with internet access in their homes.

Now, imagine you are no longer in America but in rural Mozambique. And, unfortunately, you are not part of the 3% of the population that has access to the internet. Even if you were able to get online, let’s say that you are also not part of the 47% of the population that is literate, rather the majority that would have no way of navigating a website like WebMD where most of us in America would within minutes find a list of possible causes and could begin to guess that a doctor’s visit was necessary.

Spending a day on the pediatric ward in a public hospital in Mozambique, I began to think about what it is like to be one of the many mothers accompanying their children for treatment of what are often life-threatening conditions. For the most part, the women have no idea what is going on with their sons and daughters, and the cases arrive at the hospital in extremely advanced states, almost the opposite of the US where anxious parents regularly bring their children in for relatively harmless coughs and colds. I saw several swollen faces, abdomens, and legs that day, many of them cases of childhood nephrotic syndrome, a condition that responds well to steroid treatment but can be dangerous if left untreated for too long.

Cross Post: We Need the Private Sector

By Christopher Purdy, Executive Vice President of DKT International. This originally appeared on The Broker blog.

If we want to increase jobs and reduce poverty, we must emphasize markets and the private sector, and include them in the post-2015 development discussion. Failure to engage the private sector in development is like trying to swim from New York to Amsterdam; you can do it but everyone else will have already arrived before you.

There is little doubt about the influence the private sector has on economies and societies. According to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the flow of foreign private investment into the developing world dwarfs official development assistance (ODA) by about 4 to 1, even in the aftermath of the global economic recession.

Like the public and NGO sectors, the private sector is far from perfect. And the underlying motive of generating profits does not always align well with humanitarian principles of development. However, there are an equal number of positive examples of how the private sector is helping to improve lives in the developing world. Indeed, broad development is severely impeded without active participation from a vibrant private sector. InterAction, the US consortium of international NGOs, echoed this sentiment in a 2011 policy paper which encouraged the US government and other donors to engage private sector actors not only in fundraising but also in the innovation and creativity that can promote better development.

 

Can we measure advocacy efforts?

RulerPSI uses the DALY as a way of showing how our work is improving lives. It is a valuable tool for us because it shows progress and whether programs are actually working. It is valuable for our funders and supporters because we can communicate success in a simple set of numbers.

We are wondering if there is something similar for advocacy. PSI and other NGOs actively support policies that benefit the lives of the world’s poor. When you get a policy changed (like us seat belt laws) you positively affect millions of lives.

But there is no tool that counts that. For organizations and governments that are measurement focused are we dis-incentivizing advocacy efforts that could have great health impact for funding only things that can be easily measured.

We are turning to you for ideas. What is already out there and what can be done to measure advocacy efforts in a way that provide feedbacks and show how advocacy can have widespread impact?

Share your thoughts below.

Reader Survey: how can we better communicate with you?

As a member of the PSI community, you have a lot to tell us. Your thoughts and opinions are tremendously valuable and we’d like to hear about why PSI is important to you.

Today we are inviting you to take a special community survey. Our goal is to be able to communicate better with supporters like you.

The survey should take no more than 7 to 10 minutes to complete. Please be assured that your name and contact information will never be sold, shared or traded with any other organization. No solicitations will result from your participation in this research.

This survey will only be open for a short period of time. Complete the survey below or go here to fill it out on SurveyMonkey. (Note: If you received the survey via email, please complete it there.)

It is because of committed supporters like you that PSI is able to carry out its mission to improve the health of poor and vulnerable people in the developing world.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

The years of healthy life you helped us save in 2012

We are proud to share with you PSI’s 2012 health impact, derived from products and services provided across 69 countries last year. These interventions represent 35.2 million years of healthy life that, without your support, would have been lost to death and disability.

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PSI addresses serious challenges like lack of family planning, HIV and AIDS, barriers to maternal health, and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. You have helped us empower millions of people to lead healthy lives.

Click here to read the report

Weigh In: Is overhead a good or bad measure of an effective charity?

A group of the leading charity watchdogs and raters want donors to stop worrying so much about overhead rates. They do not dismiss the importance of tracking how much charities spend on things other than programs, rather they say that numbers do not tell the whole story. Overhead, is another way of characterizing what it costs for a charity to run from day to day.

Are overheads a good or bad measure of an effective charity?

We want to know what you think. Read their letter below and share your thoughts in the comments section of this post or on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #OverheadMyth.

To the Donors of America:

We write to correct a misconception about what matters when deciding which charity to support.

The percent of charity expenses that go to administrative and fundraising costs—commonly referred to as “overhead”—is a poor measure of a charity’s performance.

We ask you to pay attention to other factors of nonprofit performance: transparency, governance, leadership, and results. For years, each of our organizations has been working to increase the depth and breadth of the information we provide to donors in these areas so as to provide a much fuller picture of a charity’s performance.

Alice Lin Fabiano: To Reach Scale, Build Trust

By Alice Lin Fabiano, Senior Program Officer and Advisor at Johnson & Johnson

Frozan Admadi places her ear on one end of a pinard horn. She holds the other end of the stethoscope on the belly of her pregnant client, smiling as she hears the fetus’ steady heartbeat. Frozan is the only midwife in Marabad, a rural community in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, which is in the southern part of the country and has a population of 17,000.

“There was no full-time midwife here before me,” she recalls. “Some used to come to the village for one or two weeks at a time.”

As one of 3,000 newly trained midwives in Afghanistan, Frozan travels to the homes of pregnant women in her community to check on their health. It’s a routine with a single purpose – to ensure a healthy and safe delivery.

Frozan checks their blood pressure for any indications of preeclampsia, a potentially fatal pregnancy-related hypertensive disorder. She educates her clients about the signs of labor, provides iron pills to ward off anemia, and helps craft birth plans to get to a health facility in time.

“Many women are unable to get to the hospital if they were having problems. I try and treat them in the health center and encourage them to come there to give birth. If I think they are going to have a complicated delivery, I refer them to the provincial hospital so they get there in time.”

Can demographic growth drive society forward?

By Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of PSI

rtr238hd.34207af05ae2b510307d72e41c1b0d0eDemography is a powerful thing. Only two years ago, the UN projected a “medium variant” global population in 2050 of 9.3 billion; just recently the UN upped this projection by 300 million people to 9.6 billion. What’s striking about this upward drift in the UN’s projections is that the growth comes from a surprisingly small set of countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. These include Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as Niger, which currently has the world’s highest fertility rates.

Elsewhere the world has recorded general declines in fertility. Family size is falling and incomes are rising. And the relationship between those two trends is the subject of ongoing debate over whether one causes the other, and if so, which way the causality flows.

The experience of some emerging economies demonstrates that what’s most important to general societal health and well-being is not necessarily how rapidly the population is growing, but rather what policies are in place to leverage these additional brains into productive uses for society. The demographic dividend that India has reaped, for example, means that even though huge social challenges remain, the growing Indian population has been able to power middle class economic growth and social progress. Population matters, but so do policies.

Are we falling behind against drug resistant malaria?

Credit: Yannick Tylle/ CorbisThe Guardian Development Professionals Network hosted a conversation this morning on the progress and missteps against malaria drug resistance. PSI deputy director of the malaria and child survival department Angus Spiers joined other experts for a conversation about the present challenges and what is being done to slow down resistance. Here is an excerpt of the conversation:

Introductions

AngusSpeirsPSI: Hello, this is Angus Spiers from PSI. Very happy to be part of this discussion. Prudence, (I hope you’re well, it’s been too long), you make a number of very pertinent points, particularly the need for rapid identification of resistance foci and measures to effectively target them.

We have been focusing on a number of areas in the Mekong region to help combat artemisinin resistance, particularly with case management in the private sector where a large proportion of people seek treatment (see ACTwatch) but receive little in the way of effective diagnosis and are often treated with sub-standard monotherapies which only help drive resistance.

Resistance and Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT)

PrudenceHamade: I know PSI is working in Myanmar to try to replace monotherapies with ACTs as well but I am afraid it might be too little too late.

ACTs still cure patients with malaria but they are taking longer to do so allowing the ‘resistant parasite’ which remains when all the non-resistant parasites are cleared to be transmitted to others Being positive 72 hours after treatment ( Day 3) is only a proxy measure of resistance how can we better determine resistance and when we do what can be done to make sure the resistant parasites are not passed on to others.

Ensuring a Healthy and Safe Delivery

By Dr. Leslie Mancuso, PH.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., President and CEO, Jhpiego Frozan Admadi places her ear on one end of a pinard horn. She holds the other end of the stethoscope on the belly of her pregnant client, smiling as she hears the fetus’ steady heartbeat. Frozan is the only midwife in Marabad, a rural community in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, which is in the southern part of the country and has a population of 17,000. “There was no full-time midwife here before me,” she recalls. “Some used to come to the village for one or two weeks at a time.” As one of 3,000 newly trained midwives in Afghanistan, Frozan travels to the homes of pregnant women in her community to check on their health. It’s a routine with a single purpose – to ensure a healthy and safe delivery. Frozan checks their blood pressure for any indications of preeclampsia, a potentially fatal pregnancy-related hypertensive disorder. She educates her clients about the signs of labor, provides iron pills to ward off anemia, and helps craft birth plans to get to a health facility in time. “Many women are unable to get to the hospital if they were having problems. I try and treat them in the ... Read more