Leadership, Management & Governance: Our Impact

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) has launched a new toolkit to help local leaders sustain health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sustaining Essential Health Care during COVID-19: A Toolkit for Local Leaders to Adapt Health Services in Low-Resource Settings was developed to help local leaders respond to a surge in health care needs that threaten to overwhelm health systems. This toolkit aims to assist local leaders in maximizing their local health care delivery in a way that efficiently responds to the new needs presented by SARS-CoV-2 while continuing to provide essential non-COVID-19 services. 

MSH was formed in May 1971 by Dr. Ron O’Connor to focus on supporting countries as they strengthen their health systems and the local ownership needed to achieve sustainable change. In 2021, we are celebrating our five decades of health impact. But we are not going to celebrate this anniversary by reflecting on the past. We want to focus on the future of global health – the Next 50 Years.We turn 50 during a time when, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of global health is on everyone’s mind and impacting everyone’s lives.

 {Photo Credit: Gwenn Dubourthournieu}National Health Insurance System (NHIS) desk of the National Hospital of Abuja, Nigeria.Photo Credit: Gwenn Dubourthournieu

Nigeria, like many other low- and middle-income countries, suffers from systemic weaknesses which cripple its health care system and leave many without adequate access to health services or care. With support from the Global Fund, the MSH-led Nigeria Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health (RSSH) project is working with Nigeria's Center for Disease Control, the Department of Health Planning Research and Statistics (DHPRS) at the Federal Ministry of Health, and the National Product Supply Chain Management Program to strengthen and expand the capacity of its national and state-level health systems. One way that RSSH is supporting Nigeria in providing quality health care, especially for those most in need, is through its state-level interventions around public financial management, the state health insurance scheme, and organizational and labor market assessments.

A gynecologist consults a patient at the NISA Premier Hospital in Abuja, Nigeria. Photo Credit: Gwenn Dubourthournieu

Adolescents in Nigeria are caught between traditional culture and changing social norms brought about by urbanization, globalized economies, and an influential media-saturated environment. With evolving attitudes, including less restrictive sexual norms without comprehensive sexual education, there have been increased rates of unprotected sex, unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS. These increased rates buttress the fact that at minimum, all adolescents require age-appropriate, comprehensive sexuality education achievable through access to youth-friendly health services designed to promote their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).In efforts to meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of young people in Nigeria, Women Friendly Initiative (WFI), through a small grant funded by the Global Financing Facility (GFF) and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health and managed by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), undertook a 12-month advocacy project beginning in July 2019 in Benue, Nassarawa, and Kwara States, and the Federal Capital Territory.

 {Photo credit: Sheila Mwebaze/MSH}Community health worker Betty Achilla examines a baby at one of the 31 households she supports.Photo credit: Sheila Mwebaze/MSH

Eight years ago, Betty Achilla was selected by her community to be a volunteer community health worker. She is currently serving 31 households in the Abim district in Northeastern Uganda. Betty is one of more than 60,000 volunteer community health workers in Uganda who play a vital role in extending maternal and child health services to hard-to-reach communities.As a community health worker, Betty was trained in the basics of diagnosing and dispensing medicines to treat common childhood illnesses such as malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia and to identify danger signs in children and refer them to nearby health centers. To do her work, Betty must have an adequate and consistent supply of malaria rapid diagnostic tests, antimalarial medicines, oral rehydration solution, zinc, and antibiotics.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}Pharmacists at KIU Teaching Hospital view data in the Pharmaceutical Information PortalPhoto credit: MSH staff

Until 2012, Uganda’s public health supply chain was uncoordinated because the information needed to estimate quantities of essential medicines and health supplies was not readily available. A national centralized platform to track routine monitoring of stock levels, share information to support data-driven decisions, and provide accountability of funds and commodities did not exist. Without knowledge of stock levels, funding could not be properly allocated to procure needed commodities.

{Photo credit: MSH staff}Photo credit: MSH staff

COVID-19 is changing how malaria projects maintain programming in Nigeria. Before the pandemic, trainings and capacity-building efforts were conducted face-to-face, coupled with breakout sessions, where attendees huddled to discuss a topic or idea in-depth. But as public health experts recommend physical distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus, face-to-face interactions are no longer considered a safe way to meet or share knowledge. To bridge this communications gap, organizations and programs worldwide are now utilizing virtual resources—an approach that has not been widely tested in training large groups of people in Nigeria, especially health care workers.

 {Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH}A mother and her child sit under their bednet in Vohipeno, Madagascar.Photo credit: Samy Rakotoniaina/MSH

While progress against malaria in the last 20 years has been significant, many people continue to suffer and die from this preventable and treatable disease. Malaria is among the leading causes of child mortality in Africa. In 2018, nearly 900,000 children in 38 African countries were born with a low birth weight due to malaria in pregnancy, and children under five still accounted for two-thirds of all malaria deaths worldwide.

Read this blog on the CSEM websiteAuthors: Justin Koonin, Dheepa Rajan, Eliana Monteforte, Marjolaine NicodIn September 2019, at the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, world leaders endorsed the most ambitious and comprehensive political declaration on health in history.This Declaration included a commitment to “engage all relevant stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector and academia, as appropriate, through the establishment of participatory and transparent multi-stakeholder platforms and partnerships”[1].The test of that commitment has

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}The Koboko District Rapid Response team and partners discuss medicines and medical supplies to order through the eELMISPhoto credit: MSH staff

Read the original story on the USAID websiteIdentifying opportunities to improve global health requires innovation and creative thinking. In developing countries such as Uganda, the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting an already-strained health system. Access to primary health care remains difficult for many people, and quality of care is inconsistent, with limited drugs, supplies, and human resources.

Pages