Collaborating to support people with NCDs in Uganda

By Greg Paton, Technical Advisor, Uganda NCD Alliance.  Kampala, Uganda

“What could I have done to prevent my cancer?”

UNCD Premises

This question was posed to me by a mother living in a small hut on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda. The nurse informed me that the women had advanced colorectal cancer and was no longer responding to treatment. I found myself at a loss for words.

I was accompanying the mobile palliative care team at Hospice Africa Uganda on their weekly rounds to distribute free morphine. As the nurse shared key cancer prevention strategies – early screening, avoiding tobacco, eating healthy and regular exercise – the woman pledged to educate others in her village, offering hope that her experience with cancer could be used to empower and educate her peers.

Eight months after moving to Uganda, the overwhelming statistics that framed my perception of these conditions have been replaced by human stories. Poverty is the narrative of these stories, and the poor and vulnerable are the central characters.

Let Us Measure Up As Men

By The Elders

On November 25, we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is deeply saddening, though perhaps not shocking, to learn that around 70 percent of all women experience physical or sexual abuse during their lifetime. Despite the progress we have made, this world remains a cruel and arbitrary one for too many women and girls.

Do not be fooled, however: this is not some so-called “women’s issue”. After all, we know that more often than not, the violence suffered by women is inflicted by the men they share their lives with – their fathers, husbands, intimate partners. If the majority of women in this world have suffered at the hands of their men, how many millions of men must have hurt and abused women? How many millions of men have stood by and let it happen?

If men overwhelmingly brutalize women, then men are overwhelmingly brutal.

This is something I cannot accept. This is why I call on men and boys everywhere to take a stand against the mistreatment of girls and women. It is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we truly measure up as men.

Our Post-2015 Agenda: Women

By Caitlin Callahan

CC Headshot

Last month, more than 4,500 leaders from over 2,200 different organizations convened in Kuala Lumpur for the third Women Deliver conference – a meeting dedicated to the health and empowerment of women and girls. Panel discussions and plenary events reinforced the importance of investing in girls and women as catalysts for greater positive change within their families and their communities.

And for that reason, the post-2015 agenda, or the next global strategy for international development following the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), was a common framework for debate; ‘calls to action’ were mirrored by sessions to discuss the previous agendas in Cairo, Beijing, and Rio: the successes and the prospects for improvement to empower women and create opportunity for broader growth.

Contextually, the World Bank’s President Dr. Kim recently declared 2030 as the new deadline for eliminating all extreme poverty in the world, setting the universal $1.25/day income mark as the threshold for success. This may seem like an enormous goal, but we’ve seen unprecedented success in the past few decades that helps to inspire some hope. More specifically, in the past 20 years, the global poverty rate has been reduced by a full 50%: from 43% of the population living in extreme poverty in 1990, to 21% in 2010.1 In other words, Dr. Kim wants to replicate the success of the past 20 years in the next (less than) two decades.

Public-Private Partnerships Strengthen TB Response in Myanmar

By Regina Moore, Associate Manager, Advocacy & Communications, PSI

DSC00538The authors of “Shortages of Drugs Threaten TB Fight” in the Wall Street Journal on June 6 should be applauded for shedding light on important aspects of the tuberculosis burden both globally and in the U.S., but they focus almost exclusively on the government and public sector. To adequately address TB a close partnership between the public and private sector needs to be an important consideration.

I recently returned from a trip to Myanmar where I saw the importance of this public-private mix. Global health organizations, like PSI, work closely with the government’s National TB Control Program in-country, to strengthen both public and private healthcare.

In many developing countries, private clinics and pharmacies are the first places people visit to seek care because private providers are often perceived as friendly, local, open at convenient times and understanding of a family’s needs. Even in this article Reshma’s family turns to a private pharmacy when the public sector cannot help her. Unfortunately, private clinics and pharmacies such as these are often unregulated with varying degrees of quality.


One Year Later: From Promise to Action on Ending Preventable Child Deaths

By Nicole Schiegg, Former USAID Senior Advisor; Strategic Comms Consultant

2013-06-13-430045_10151726897765992_1502893062_n.jpgThis week we celebrate the one-year commemoration of the Child Survival Call to Action held in Washington, DC. Working at USAID at the time, I have a unique insight into the organization of this milestone event, and will always remember the experience fondly. Not only did the Call to Action unite and reenergize the global health and extended community towards a common goal — to end preventable child deaths — it catalyzed momentum at country-level that has been nothing short of extraordinary.

A few months before the Call to Action, USAID turned a conference room into a team room that became the center of the Agency’s activity – one wall was covered with hundreds of 5th birthday photos and the other was entirely dry eraser depicting ideas, logistics, and anything else that was the task of the day. About 6 of us virtually lived in this room, but it packed in 30 staff when we had our all-hands meetings. What inspired me about the team is that it consisted of people who had worked in development for their careers and folks who were brand new to the field. Everyone had a laser-like focus towards June 14-15 and what it represented. No one was committed more to this goal than USAID Administrator Raj Shah who frequented the team room for meetings and updates.

The Call to Action was a special and surreal experience when it finally arrived. A few days after it ended, I had to re-watch the webcast to grasp the enormity of what had transpired. Over 70 countries signed a pledge to accelerate action towards ending preventable child deaths. Private sector leaders committed to new partnerships – as did faith and civil society organizations.

Foreian Aid is Essential say Reps Crenshaw and Smith

Republican Ander Crenshaw of Florida’s 4th Congressional District, and Democrat Adam Smith of Washington’s 9th Congressional District make the case for foreign aid in an OpEd for Politico. The co-chairs for the Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance say that foreign aid is essential and cost-effective. They write:

Foreign assistance programs are important for spurring our economy, too. More than half of our exports go to the developing world now and that number is growing. The key to expanding our economy and creating jobs here at home lies beyond our shores, and reaching the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside the U.S. requires investment in these rapidly growing markets.

Careful attention must be paid to how we spend every taxpayer dollar. As the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance, our goal is to help ensure the global investments we make bring the best return possible to America.

Significant strides have been made over the past decade to make these programs more effective, and a new “Report on Reports” released by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition details areas of consensus on how we can do even better.

Why non-state education and why CEI?

By Nicholas Burnett, Managing Director for Education at Results for Development Institute, leader at the Center for Education Innovations

I was in Ghana earlier this year, where as many as two-thirds of the children living in slum areas outside the capital of Accra are estimated to attend private schools, quite a few of which I visited.  Though some think it unfortunate, the poor are increasingly enrolling in non-state schools in Africa and in South Asia, as they have for many decades in Latin America.  These non-state schools include those run by non-government organizations and those owned and operated by private proprietors.

Why do I say some think it unfortunate? We believe far too many people come to the table with preconceived notions about what works and what doesn’t work in education, all too often based on labels such as “public” and “private,” and too rarely based on evidence and results. But, as we move toward 2015 with the Education for All and Millennium Development goals clearly not going to be met, in terms of either enrolment or quality, it is time to move beyond ideology and focus pragmatically on harnessing all parts of the education system and on what works in practice.

Making Girls and Women a Priority Every Day

By Dr Fred Sai

As we convene in Malaysia for Women Deliver’s third global conference, we have much to celebrate. In the past year alone, we have made tremendous strides in women’s health and equality: the United Nations adopted a historic resolution to end female genital mutilation; global leaders convened at the London Summit on Family Planning to make $2.6 billion in new financial pledges and a series of unparalleled policy commitments to family planning; and together, we celebrated the first-ever International Day of the Girl Child.

Individual countries have also made remarkable headway toward improving women’s health and equality. I have witnessed progress in reproductive and maternal health in my home country of Ghana. Thanks to improved care and services, the country’s maternal mortality rate decreased by approximately 40 percent between 1990 and 2010. Although these are strong steps forward, they can and should be accelerated.

Why “Partnerships” Were All the Buzz at Women Deliver

This is a special guest post from Jill Filipovic

Does the private sector have a role improving health systems? According to some participants at this year’s Women Deliver conference on maternal health, absolutely.

The conference, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, brought together thousands of health care providers, advocates, politicians, journalists, activists and human rights workers to discuss the challenges, victories and potential solutions in the maternal health field. One of those solutions: Private sector involvement.

Most people who work in the maternal health field are there for one reason, said Jennifer Pope, Director of Support for International Family Planning Organisation at PSI, in a Women Deliver panel on the private sector and health care. They’re working for “Sara.”

Senator Frank Lautenberg, Global Health Champion

By Elizabeth Petoskey, Advocacy & Policy Consultant, PSIMy Approved Portraits

The global health community lost a champion today.  We are saddened by the passing of New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who was one of America’s greatest advocates for women’s health and reproductive rights around the world.

In his powerful role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Lautenberg fought to protect access to family planning services for women internationally. He worked hard to, despite never succeeding, permanently repeal the Mexico City Policy, a policy better know as the “Global Gag Rule” which prevents foreign NGOs from receiving federal funding if they provide abortion services with private funds.

Senator Lautenberg tirelessly advocated to protect and expand the U.S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and to integrate family planning services in other global health and development programs.

In times of proposed severe cuts to malaria, the Global Fund and bilateral HIV/AIDS funding, Senator Lautenberg called on U.S. leadership to step up and protect these vital, life-saving programs.

One of the final bills Senator Lautenberg introduced on the floor of the Senate in April demonstrated his lasting commitment to reproductive rights and strong global health legacy that he leaves behind.  The “Peace Corps Equity Act of 2013” would provide Peace Corps Volunteers with access to the same standard of health care that most women with federal health care coverage already receive, including coverage of abortions in instances of rape, incest or when the life of the woman is endangered.

Senator Lautenberg faithfully served the people of New Jersey and fought for the voiceless globally for almost 30 years. PSI extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Senator Lautenberg.