Global Health Security: Our Impact

For too long, we have ignored how our actions—from deforestation to wildlife trade—drive infectious disease outbreaks. We also have not invested in controlling them. Global health security initiatives have been underfunded, even in the midst of epidemics, such as Zika virus in the Americas in 2016. COVID-19 is an opportunity to break free of this inertia, but the movement needs a leader—the United States must fund and coordinate pandemic prevention and preparedness.  

{Photo Credit: Warren Zelman}Photo Credit: Warren Zelman

“In mid-July, a G-20 panel called for $75 billion in financing over the next 5 years to develop flexible, responsive health systems that provide early detection of and faster response to disease outbreaks. While these capabilities are critical in responding to outbreaks, they will ultimately fail to prevent another pandemic,” writes MSH’s Senior External Affairs Officer, Ashley Arabasadi, in an opinion article for Global Health NOW. “This is because we’ve been viewing global health security through the narrow lens of human health.

{Photo credit: Rejoice Phiri/MSH} Photo credit: Rejoice Phiri/MSH

On April 2, 2020, Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika confirmed the country's first cases of COVID-19.

 {Photo credit: Raian Amzad/MSH}A client picks up a prescription at a private-sector drug shop in Dhaka, Bangladesh.Photo credit: Raian Amzad/MSH

In Bangladesh, private neighborhood drug sellers are the first point of care for 70% of the population. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the country went into lockdown, the people of Bangladesh depended even more on the safe delivery of products and services from local accredited drug sellers. Despite all odds, they kept their shops open safely.The Better Health Bangladesh project (BHB), funded by the U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office, has been supporting Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Drug Administration since 2018 to accredit these private-sector drug sellers in 32 districts. MSH, which leads the project, began supporting private drug seller accreditation in Tanzania in 2003. The model has since been adopted in a number of countries in Africa and Asia. The medicine vendors receive assessments and training in pharmaceutical practices, such as accurate dispensing, counselling, and other pharmaceutical services. In the first phase of the project, through December 2020, BHB accredited 2,193 retail medicine shops against a target 2,500 (88%).

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}Internal displaced people being screened for TB, COVID-19, and HIV in 1 of the 10 centers for internally displaced people in Mekelle, Tigray.Photo credit: MSH staff

The major conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region is affecting the functionality of the region’s health system, impacting everything from human resources to infrastructure. TB services are no exception. TB client follow-up has been disrupted, and many facilities have been damaged, including laboratory diagnostic equipment like microscopes and GeneXpert machines. The capacity to ensure service continuity and collect monitoring and evaluation data has been compromised.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

The USAID MTaPS Program, led by MSH, is on the frontlines supporting USAID’s efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in high-risk countries. The program’s mandate includes advancing the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and is, therefore, well equipped to respond to global public health emergencies such as the current outbreak.  MTaPS has formed a COVID-19 response team to assist countries in developing a rapid response action plan to manage the outbreak.

{Photo credit: Christina Mchau}Photo credit: Christina Mchau

Preventing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases is key to protecting the health of both patients and health care workers (HCWs). This is an urgent need in Tanzania, and not only because of the threat of COVID-19, but also to make the country vigilant about stopping the spread of HIV, tuberculosis, and antimicrobial-resistant infections. From a 2011 WHO meta-analysis, 15 in 100 people who receive health care services in Tanzania will acquire an infection while doing so. 

 {Photo credit: Kenza Abu-Arja/MSH}From left to right: Chris Collins; Loyce Pace; Willo Brock.Photo credit: Kenza Abu-Arja/MSH

On July 16, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), in conjunction with the office of Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA), hosted “The rising threat of antimicrobial resistance: What happens when diseases resist the drugs that we’ve designed to fight them?” to discuss antimicrobial resistance (AMR), its consequences, and the efforts needed to fight it. This event, the second in a series on global health security funded by the James M. and Cathleen D.

 {Photo credit: MSH Rwanda}Left to right: Lisa Godwin, USAID Rwanda Health Office Director, Dr. Diane Gashumba, Rwanda's Minister of Health, Alain Joyal, RHSS Project Director, Management Sciences for Health.Photo credit: MSH Rwanda

Over the past five years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested in measures to strengthen and sustain Rwanda’s health sector through its Rwanda Health Systems Strengthening (RHSS) Project (2014-2019). In a ceremony at the Kigali Serena Hotel, USAID, the Ministry of Health (MoH), as well as the implementing partner, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), marked the culmination and remarkable achievements of the five-year effort to strengthen the country’s health sector.

 {Photo credit: Kenza Abu-Arja/MSH}From left to right: W. Gyude Moore, Reid Wilson, Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Dr. Rebecca Martin, and Marian W. Wentworth.Photo credit: Kenza Abu-Arja/MSH

On April 10, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) reintroduced the bipartisan Global Health Security Act, which reaffirms US commitment to promoting global health security. This proposed legislation aims to help the US prepare for and respond to infectious disease threats and prevent cross-border epidemics.

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