This piece was originally published on the Health Policy Plus blog, Viewpoints.
Earlier this year I traveled to Niger to support the Ministry of Health in refining the country's Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) for family planning. While there, I worked with a dedicated group—ministry staff, implementing partners, representatives from the religious community, and youth advocates—to agree on priorities that could accelerate progress on Niger's ambitious goal to increase its modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) from 13 percent (or 14.4% for married women) to 50 percent by 2020. We spent 3.5 days combing through the results of their mid-term review of Niger's CIP to set priorities and identify which population groups, in addition to women, we should focus on reaching: youth (what age range?), men (which men: community leaders? partners?), religious leaders? At the end of the workshop, we felt a sense of accomplishment in our priorities going forward, which included establishing how the government can extend services throughout the large Sahelian country using community health workers, mobile clinics, and strategies to improve data collection. Another important priority we agreed on was a focus on educating youth on the socioeconomic benefits of family planning.
On April 28, 2017, the Nigerian Minister of Health released an updated training curriculum for Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) to include guidance on providing long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). The revision builds on Nigeria’s 2014 task-sharing policy that authorizes CHEWs to provide women with implants and intra-uterine devices, both LARC methods.
Over the past decade, rates of infant, child, and maternal deaths have decreased significantly. The efforts to reach the underserved are really making a difference and have resulted in big improvements. But with more than 300,000 women dying from pregnancy-related causes each year, we still have a long way to go. While there are many ways to save lives, one of the simplest and most cost-effective is contraception.
Before we were known as K4Health, USAID’s flagship knowledge management project, led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, was the INFO Project. It was almost 10 years ago, in November 2007, that INFO Project staff published the Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Health Information Products and Services. The Guide was developed in collaboration with HIPNet (the Health Information and Publications Network), and featured a rudimentary logic model and 29 indicators.
We live in a connected world. The rise in mobile device ownership, internet coverage, and wireless access means that we can reach each other from nearly anywhere, at any time. Yet technology is far from the only thing that connects us. There are a number of complex connections between our families, our health, and the environment that impact our lives. Recognizing these interactions, development practitioners have established a term to describe programming approaches that concurrently address issues related to families, their health, and the environment. This approach is called Population, Health and Environment (PHE).
African Young Positives Network | Advocacy Manager
"I need to allow myself to be led in order to lead effectively."
Annah Sango is a Women Deliver Young Leader from Zimbabwe. She is a passionate advocate for youth health and well-being, encouraging her peers to learn about their sexual and reproductive health and rights, especially concerning HIV/AIDS. Here, she shares her reflections on what advocacy means to her.
My advocacy experiences have been and still are a learning process. I have interacted with mentors and whole groups of people who have demonstrated amazing skills and work. Along the way, I have learnt that advocacy is a journey that happens on different levels. As a young woman, I should not merely occupy spaces without validating my relevance and representation of what I stand for. Sometimes making noise is not activism—and sometimes, making the necessary noise is.
IntraHealth International | Director of Communications and Advocacy
Mayors from francophone West Africa learn more about TCI and family planning at a site visit in Senegal. Photo by Clement Tardif for IntraHealth International.
“I can’t believe it’s so small!”
I will never forget the reaction of one of the mayors in Rwanda during an advocacy workshop on family planning as we passed around a variety of modern contraceptive methods, inviting participants to open, touch, and feel them. It was his first experience holding an intrauterine device (IUD). He also had never touched a female condom or seen a contraceptive implant.
As eIDSR’s intended users are mostly new to smartphone use, eHA simplified the user interface and designed it to closely resemble familiar paper reporting forms. Photo: Les de Wit, Software Project Manager, eHealth Africa
eHealth Africa (eHA) is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners to support Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) to strengthen surveillance for all priority diseases and improve preparedness for potential public health emergencies.
Every day, we see children in our offices with cough, fast breathing, and fever. If we take an x-ray, there may be clear signs of pneumonia. We treat that pneumonia with amoxicillin and at a follow-up visit a week later, the child will invariably be happy, smiling, and healthy. Unfortunately, across the world, 900,000 children die each year from this treatable disease, and more than half do not even seek treatment for it.