A mother from a rural community in Quiché, Guatemala, tells the story of how family planning and spacing more than three years among each child benefited her as a woman and mother.
USAID has supported family planning programs since 1965. As we move toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda, commitment to family planning must remain a key element of the global agenda.
"No action today, no cure tomorrow." World Health Day, 7 April 2011.
Picture a scenario where infections become totally untreatable because none of the available antimicrobial agents work.
This is not imaginary, but is likely to happen very soon if we don’t act urgently, intensely, and consistently to tackle the rising tide of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled AMR as one of the biggest global public health threats. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis and multidrug-resistant hospital infections are revealing examples of such a looming crisis. A recent report highlights the catastrophic consequences AMR will have wrought by the year 2050 if we don’t act now to contain it—about 10 million deaths a year and a cumulative cost of $100 trillion.
On November 5, the Steering Committee of the International Conference on Family Planning announced the difficult decision to postpone the conference. A nearby volcano has disrupted air travel and created potential health hazards at the conference site. No new date or location has been announced yet. But as Melinda Gates says, not even a volcano can stop the conversation about family planning.
Abstract Submission Deadline Extended to November 6, 2015
The East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community is a regional inter-governmental health organization that fosters and promotes regional cooperation in health among its ten member states.
Contribute to the health policy conversation! The East, Central, and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) has extended the deadline for submitting abstracts to its 62nd ECSA Health Ministers Conference, to be held from 30th November to 4th December, 2015, in Port Louis, Mauritius.
The theme of the Conference is Transitioning from Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals. The Conference will address the theme by examining four areas:
Enhancing universal health coverage through innovations in health financing for risk protection
Surveillance and control of emerging health conditions (NCDs and trauma)
Regional collaboration in the surveillance and control of communicable diseases
Innovations in health professional training using the College of Health Sciences model
The mHealth Working Group, facilitated and supported by USAID's Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project, is gearing up to host the second annual Global mHealth Forum, November 10-11. The Forum will be held in partnership with the HIMSS Connected Health Conference and the mHealth Summit, November 8-11, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington, D.C.
Here are just a few reasons to join us at the Forum:
Build your capacity to design, implement, and evaluate mHealth initiatives.
Explore emerging mHealth trends in low- and middle-income countries.
Discuss strategies to leverage mHealth in low- and middle-income countries.
Network with mHealth professionals and representatives from NGOs and ministries of health.
Photo by Prashant Panjiar/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
As we prepare for the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), the need for metrics and data to show progress towards family planning goals and country-level commitments is clear. But why are we passionate about family planning? For many, it’s more than the numbers that motivate us. It’s the human stories behind those numbers that give them meaning.
That’s why I’m thrilled that K4Health has joined with FP2020 to launch Family Planning Voices (FP Voices), a one-year initiative to document through text and photos the personal stories of people working to improve access to family planning around the world. We're inspired by how initiatives like StoryCorps and Humans of New York enable us to experience the raw emotions, harsh realities and personal triumphs of others. Stories highlight the depth of the human experience. They remind us that every person has a unique perspective to share—one that we may learn from, relate to, or disagree with. One that may inspire action.
Many low- and middle-income countries are following the lead of high-income countries by prioritizing improvement in the quality of care provided by their national and private health systems. Increasingly, we see a political will to develop national policies and strategies, but navigating the extensive array of approaches to improve quality can be daunting. Common approaches to improving quality range from training and supervision to standards and guidelines to comprehensive accreditation programs; all of these approaches have varied costs, results, appropriateness, and effectiveness. Often Ministries of Health receive conflicting advice about the best approaches for their countries. One of the most important things to understand is that no one approach solves all problems.
Earlier this month, the International Day of the Girl Child was celebrated to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face around the world. In a powerful TED Talk, former president Jimmy Carter specifically highlighted the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) among the grave mistreatments and human rights abuses of women. He noted, “Ninety-one percent of all the females that live in Egypt today have been sexually mutilated (WHO).”
Illustration of a typical discussion in a public hospital governing board. Source - MSH.
I struggled with the plateauing or even declining performance of a health service delivery organization I was supporting. I agonized over weaning another such organization away from relying on aid and becoming self-reliant. I spent sleepless nights wondering why yet another health sector organization was adrift, and how I could help it get onto a steady course and in a definitive direction. Increasingly, I am convinced that the answer lies in improving how these organizations are governed.
Last month, the United Nations launched the 15-year Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Building off of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs aim to make the planet a better place by outlining an agenda of 17 wide-ranging, aspirational goals. Health, climate change, and peace are bedfellows among these global goals.
We think it is important to step back to look at the whole picture of the SDGs, but to not lose sight of the trees for the forest.