August 2013

  • Health Innovations

    Jarret Cassaniti

    CCP | Program Officer

    A couple weeks ago I read about Project Loon, Google's efforts to bring the internet to rural areas of the planet, and shared my excitement on Yammer, CCP's internal social network.

    Clean energy used by health workers to educate mothers and women

    A health worker uses a laptop to educate a rural mother in Antipolo, Philippines.

    © 2012 SLR club, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Yesterday Facebook announced a project with a goal of bringing the internet to the 5 billion without it. “The Internet is such an important thing for driving humanity forward, but it’s not going to build itself,” the NYTimes quoted Mark Zuckerburg.

    In between learning about these two fantastical projects to expand access to knowledge through the internet, I read an op-ed in the New York Times written by Peter Buffet (Warren Buffet's son). In The Charitable-Industrial Complex Buffet calls for a new paradigm in development aid. The analogy he uses is a technological one: “It’s time for a new operating system. Not a 2.0 or a 3.0, but something built from the ground up. New code.” I couldn’t have agreed any more

    A few sentences later I paused: "Is progress really Wi-Fi on every street corner? No. It’s when no 13-year-old girl on the planet gets sold for sex," wrote Buffet.   

  • K4Health Highlights

    Natalie Culbertson

    CCP | Managing Editor, Global Health: Science and Practice Journal

    The road to major global health achievement is paved with incremental successes along the way.  These smaller "wins" culminate over time and lead to big picture gains. This second installment of the Global Health: Science and Practice journal (GHSP) is all about highlighting those "wins" in various program areas, with the intent of sharing new learning about what works and how you might apply it to your programs. The GHSP editorial staff is pleased to feature articles that focus on:

    • Enabling health care providers to support family planning within an Islamic context
    • How limited electricity affects health facilities
    • The difficulties in distributing food aid in conflict and post-conflict countries
    • Achieving better maternal and newborn outcomes

    The GHSP Journal is focused on highlighting lessons large and small learned from global health programs implemented in the field. GHSP was developed for global health professionals, particularly program implementers, to validate their experiences and program results by peer reviewers and to share them with the greater global health community using a clear and concise communication style that highlights key concepts and messages.

    We are publishing Advance Access Articles which means articles are published n advance of the full issue to allow you to read about the interesting work that is being done around the world sooner than later. Sign up to be alerted about these articles: Under My eTOCs, select Add eTOCs or Add/Edit/Delete eTOCs. Make sure to check all three boxes to get notified of full issues, Advance Access Articles and other announcements including Global Health Pearls.

  • K4Health Highlights

    Elizabeth Futrell

    (Formerly) CCP | Content Development Lead
    Displaced woman and child in DR Congo

    A woman displaced by fighting between forces of rebel Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda and the Congolese government takes refuge in a church and adjacent school in the Goma neighborhood of Musawato, Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she plays with one of her children. A quarter of a million people have been newly displaced by fighting in the eastern Congo, where some 5.4 million have died since 1998 from war-related violence, hunger and disease.

    © 2008 Paul Jeffrey, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Every day, humanitarian workers labor tirelessly in extremely difficult conditions to help millions of people affected by conflict, natural disaster, and other emergencies around the world. World Humanitarian Day, celebrated on August 19, was established by the United Nations in 2008 to recognize the many aid workers who risk their lives to care for others during times of crisis.

    K4Health is proud to mark World Humanitarian Day 2013 with the launch of the new Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings Toolkit. This Toolkit provides donors, decision makers, program managers, health service providers, including emergency workers, and communications professionals, with a carefully selected collection of state-of-the-art resources and tools for delivering reproductive health and related services in challenging post-disaster and conflict settings.

    When a devastating earthquake struck Haiti near Port-au-Prince in January 2010, many governments and organizations around the world responded to the country’s appeals for humanitarian assistance. K4Health answered the call by rapidly developing the Haiti Relief Toolkit, an online collection of general disaster relief guidelines and tools, up-to-the-minute Haiti-specific information, and real-time knowledge-sharing mechanisms for concerned family and friends overseas and relief workers on the ground. In the weeks following the Toolkit’s launch, K4Health received more than 50 posts on the Toolkit’s discussion board suggesting additional resources, requesting information on additional topics, and providing feedback about the Toolkit.

  • Sophie Savage

    Georgetown University, Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) | Communications

    In May, the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University (IRH) launched a new and improved website. In an effort to better sustain our projects’ legacies—especially in light of the close of our six-year USAID-funded FAM Project—a redesign of our digital presence was a strategic decision for us.

    SDM eBrochure Image 1 

    But months ago, in the context of important new information on fertility awareness-based methods (FAM) and their unique contribution to family planning, we found ourselves asking: what’s the best medium for communicating research—specifically the legacy of the Standard Days Method® (SDM)? Is it another report? A listserv message with peer-reviewed journal articles that cite the evidence?

    We had limited resources, so we knew we needed to invest creatively. An interactive e-product,, was our choice. These are the top three reasons why:

    1. Not enough people know the benefits of integrating SDM into family planning programs. We’ve all heard a lot about the unmet need for family planning: how over 200 million women in developing countries who want to avoid or delay pregnancies are nonetheless not using family planning. Although access to services and costs of contraceptives are obstacles for some women, by far the major reason women give for non-use is the fear of side effects and health concerns. SDM addresses this reason for non-use, and others. We needed to make available accurate and evidence-based information about SDM, minimize bias related to fertility awareness-based methods, and encourage informed choice by expanding family planning options for women and couples.
    2. In an age of information-overload, we wanted to centralize the data and simplify the message that SDM has an important role to play in family planning programs. Humans are ‘visually wired’ beings. Almost 50% of our brains are used in visual processing, 70% of our sensory receptors are in our eyes, and it takes us less than 1/10 of a second to get a sense of a visual scene (Merieb, E. N. & Hoehn, K. Human Anatomy & Physiology). If users only read an average of 28% of words per visit, utilizing the power of visual tools to communicate evidence-based information about SDM is imperative. Check out the 13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics to learn more.
    3. While we wanted to have an eye-catching product that was visually appealing, we didn’t want to compromise the facts. Especially for our family planning and reproductive health community, we know it’s essential to provide the data. In an effort to help keep clean and concise, we created an ‘evidence mode’ functionality that the visitor can use to hide or reveal the evidence informing the associated message. This provides an optional, extra layer for the visitor who wants to dig deeper into the facts.
  • K4Health Highlights

    Lisa Mwaikambo

    CCP | Co-Manager, Global Health eLearning

    Melissa Dunn

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center, MEASURE Evaluation | Capacity Building Specialist

    Since 2007, USAID’s Knowledge for Health (K4Health) and MEASURE Evaluation projects have collaborated closely to develop a comprehensive suite of monitoring and evaluation (M&E)-related eLearning courses for USAID’s Global Health eLearning Center as part of the PEPFAR eLearning Initiative. As of July 1, 2013, this evolving collaboration has produced nine online courses that have resulted in 32,534 successful course completions (as displayed in the graph below).

    eLearning Certificate Holders

    Total number of learners who scored 85% or higher on the final exam.

    These online courses respond to the expressed needs of M&E officers, program officers, and others who actively seek knowledge and skills that enable them to monitor and determine program effectiveness and communicate these findings to inform program and policy decisions. 

    In addition to the development of M&E-related online courses, both K4Health at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) and MEASURE Evaluation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center (UNC-CPC) have embraced mobilizing these online courses as one component of an array of blended learning approaches to implement and promote multi-pronged capacity building strategies that are flexible, cost-effective, and sustainable. Working together and independently, K4Health and MEASURE Evaluation have tested and identified strategies that begin to successfully bridge the challenges of transferring highly technical M&E-related skills by pairing the self-paced eLearning solutions with in-person training opportunities to augment each through offering the eLearning solutions as prerequisites, reinforcement assignments, refreshers, or complements to in-person workshops, synchronous webinars, or online presentations.