Pathfinder International | Technical Advisor, Community Engagement
Community health workers from Gikomero, Rwanda meet to discuss peer support groups. L-R: Joseph Ntahomvukiye, Immaculée Cimpaye, Marguerite Wiremera, and Jean Murasankiko.
In the Burundian village of Muyebe, a female volunteer community health worker (CHW) visited a family on several occasions, intending to discuss family planning. Each time, the 36-year-old father of nine said he was not interested in hearing about it. One day, the community health worker arrived with three other CHWs, male and female, from neighboring communities, all members of her CHW peer support group. On this occasion, the father allowed them to stay and talk about the benefits of family planning and the many methods available, including vasectomy, which they informed him was now available at the local hospital. After the CHWs left, he used the referral they had provided and went to his local hospital to request a vasectomy.
Dr. Blandina Mmbaga is the Director of Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute in Tanzania and a contributor to The East African Health Research Journal.
East Africans face distinct and often dire health threats. There is a great need for regionally-driven public health research on these and other topics. East African scholars seeking to publish their findings in international journals face challenges, however, such as limited funding opportunities or English-language skills.
To address these challenges, the East African Health Research Commission (EAHRC), with support from USAID Kenya and East Africa and the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project, founded The East African Health Research Journal, a no-fee, open-access, peer-reviewed publication that aims to serve as a much-needed, African-led platform for untapped perspectives on regional health issues, as well as a launch pad for young and aspiring East African scholars.
IntraHealth International | Director of Communications and Advocacy
Closer-to-community care can help potential contraception users overcome a number of challenges, including time, distance, and money. Photo by Clement Tardif for IntraHealth International.
In the global health community, we often talk about reaching the “last mile”—generally those who live in the hardest-to-reach places of the world, farthest from the health services they need. But from the point of view of those families, the last mile is in fact the first mile.
The global information and communications technology community seems to understand this more than we do in health. Studies such as this look directly at first-mile issues—that is, “how connectivity looks, feels, and behaves from the subscriber's perspective.” And researchers have done some work to shed light on how a true first-mile approach during an infectious disease outbreak like Ebola must take into account not only local resources, but also the importance of local know-how and cultural understanding.
Digital health interventions benefit enormously when implementers document and learn from past and current digital health projects. This is where knowledge management (KM) can help.
Knowledge management is a systematic practice that helps you learn from others and helps others outside your project learn from you. It is an inherently social process, largely dependent on making sure systems and processes are in place and staff are incentivized to do it.
Margaret Pyke Trust, with the Population & Sustainability Network | Chief Executive
David presented on the Margaret Pyke Trust’s PHE advocacy and its focus on engaging new audiences.
For two days in September 2017, Population, Health, & Environment (PHE) project implementers, policymakers, and donors gathered in Entebbe, Uganda, at the Population, Health, & Environment Symposium, hosted by the Lake Victoria Basin Commission and supported by USAID Kenya and East Africa, K4Health, and PACE. David Johnson, chief executive of the Margaret Pyke Trust, the UK NGO coordinating the Population & Sustainability Network, shares some thoughts on the Symposium. David’s PHE advocacy focuses on what he calls “new audiences.” In practice, this means working to increase the number of organisations involved and support (either from a policy or programmatic point of view) to make PHE seen as completely normal standard conservation intervention. According to David, PHE is exclusively positive—it benefits women, girls, livelihoods, and the environment—and positioning it in a more positive way might help engage organisations more.
We know that a key piece of solving the contraceptive non-use puzzle is increasing access to a variety of methods. But for women in rural areas, options are limited. In Nigeria, only 10% of married women 15-49 years old use modern contraception—compared to 26% across sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria, like many of its neighbors, suffers from a shortage of health workers trained to provide modern contraception. This is particularly true of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARCs), like implants and IUDs. Long-acting methods help women prevent pregnancies for up to five years at a time and are therefore proven to be the some of the most effective in preventing unintended pregnancies. They are often the best solution for a rural woman who does not have ready access to a health center where she can refill her pills or supply of condoms on a regular basis.
Uganda Ministry of Water and Environment, Directorate of Environment Affairs | Environmentalist and Population, Health, and Environment Focal Person
Delegates at the closing ceremony of the Regional PHE Symposium 2017. Photo: Favour Studios Kampala
Worldwide, Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) is a leading force for addressing and linking issues related to conservation and health. The PHE approach acknowledges and addresses the complex connections between people, their health, and their environment. Today, integrated PHE programming has especially gained momentum in the East Africa Community region and is being applied to concerns as wide-ranging as climate change and food security, especially at the household level.
CCP | Managing Editor, Global Health: Science and Practice Journal
We’re excited to roll out some changes at Global Health: Science and Practice (GHSP), our peer-reviewed, open-access online journal published by the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) with support from USAID. Updates include adding new editors to our editorial team and launching a new look and feel for our website.
Paul Mahabi, Director of Environment for Uganda’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, leads the Regional PHE Symposium 2017 delegates in signing symposium resolutions. Looking on is Mr. Telly Eugene Muramira, LVBC’s Deputy Executive Secretary for Projects and Programs.
We have begun to realize that to achieve uptake and user satisfaction, contraceptive method acceptability must be integrated into the product development cycle.
This piece was originally published by the CTI Exchange blog, Exchanges.
While contraceptive technology development rightly focuses on product safety and efficacy, we continually learn—sometimes the hard way—that acceptability factors play a major role in determining whether women or men use family planning (FP) methods over the long-term. Research on method acceptability is both complex and nuanced since members of the study population – current or potential contraceptive users – bring unique life situations, country context, product preferences and tolerance levels to the discussion. Recently, the CTI Exchange invited several thought leaders to share their insights on this important topic in a recently completed blog series.