By Alison Bird. A nurse in a local clinic in Huambo Province, Angola, checks a patient and her baby before prescribing anti-malarial drugs. The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by USAID, supports countries in their efforts to scale up access to malaria diagnostics to ensure proper diagnosis of illness.
Maria José Inés, chief nurse at the Benfica Baixa Health Center in the city of Huambo in Angola, has seen many patients with fever over the years and treated countless malaria patients. In many parts of Africa, a majority of fevers have been more likely due to other pathogens than with malaria parasites, underscoring the need for proper malaria diagnosis. Now even in highly malarious areas where effective prevention is decreasing the malaria burden this is also becoming the case.
The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by USAID and implemented jointly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), supports countries in their efforts to scale up access to malaria diagnosis, in line with the recently revised World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation, including focusing on quality assurance for malaria diagnostics, training in proper use of the diagnostics tests at all levels of the health care system, including community health workers, and information, education and communication materials IEC/BCC to assure that health care workers and patients use the test results as part of more effective management of fever cases.
Today is the six-month commemoration of the 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. Administrator Shah just returned from a trip to Haiti and issued a statement to mark the commemoration.
USAID is hosting a conference entitled Transforming Development through Science, Technology and Innovation. The conference is co-hosted with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the President’s Science Advisor Dr. John Holdren. Participants include many of the world’s leading scientists and development thinkers, along with leaders of key federal science agencies who will help map out USAID’s bold new science, technology and innovation agenda.
Regaining its footing after a quarter century of conflict, northern Uganda is bustling with activity. Communities are working to restore local infrastructure and citizens are going about the business of rebuilding homes and lives. However the political reality is that the political leadership wanted to expedite the return process while also provide people with crucial information to returnees so they could make informed decisions about their lives.
Radio is not only the most reliable source of information for returning communities but also serves as the medium of choice to access the information people are seeking. However radio stations also have a limited ability to deliver the kind of content needed.
To encourage people to return and help them with their rebuilding efforts, the Lamele Theatre Artists, in collaboration with USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, spearheaded the production of a radio drama. Ajing Conga, Bila Pa Ladwar (I Will Strengthen My Knees – The Song of a Hunter) focuses on three families that have returned to northern Uganda and are grappling to rebuild their lives. The show is providing returnees with crucial information on education, health, culture, security, and governance.
Three stations aired the 72 episodes of the radio drama three times a week. Once the production finished, the Lamele Theater Artists took the show on the road and performed skits live in villages. The shows, some of which were revised, were well received by northern Ugandans who were able to identify with the challenges and issues portrayed.
At a forum organized by Global Washington and hosted by Seattle University, Maura O’Neill, USAID’s Counselor for Innovation, will participate in a discussion about Washington State’s contribution to the global development sector and will offer recommendations for improving the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance.
Administrator Shah will join Secretary Clinton at the State Department to address the 2009-2010 Jefferson Science Fellows. The ten Fellows are tenured professors assigned for one year at State and USAID. Their universities contribute to the success of this public-private partnership.
Men ferry bales of ITNs across a river during a net distribution campaign in Nimba County, Liberia. PMI has purchased millions of nets for distribution throughout Africa.
In Africa, malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes that bite predominantly at night. Therefore, sleeping under an insecticide-treated net (ITN) can greatly reduce the risk of infection because ITNs repel mosquitoes and kill those that land on them. Increasing ownership and use of ITNs is a key component of President Malaria Initiative’s (PMI’s) prevention strategy. Launched in 2005, PMI is led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). PMI is a key part of the Administration’s Global Health Initiative to help partner countries achieve major advances in health by working smarter, building on past successes and learning from past challenges.
Simba Mobagi, a lab tech in Rachuonyo district hospital in Kenya, works with Maj. Eric Wagar to accurately diagnose malaria in blood samples. (Photo by Rick Scavetta)
By Rick Scavetta and Chris Thomas
Inside Rachuonyo district hospital in Kenya, Simba Mobagi peers through his laboratory’s only microscope at a sick woman’s blood sample. The 33-year-old laboratory technologist’s goal – rapidly identifying malaria parasites. Dozens more samples await his eyes. Each represents a patient suffering outside on wooden benches. Mogabi takes little time to ponder his workload. He quickly finds malaria parasites, marks his findings on a pink patient record and moves to the next slide.
For more than 40 years, U.S. Army Medical Research Unit-Kenya – locally as the Walter Reed Project – has studied diseases in East Africa through a partnership with the Kenya Medical Research Institute.
USAID is supporting rural Pakistani women farmers to increase crop and livestock productivity.
The Rural Livelihood Development Program in Balochistan built the capacity of 50 female community organizations to increase crop and livestock productivity, improve on-farm water management, and foster improved market linkages for agricultural inputs and outputs.
The program also provides institutional capacity building to 200 community organizations which train women in entrepreneurial skills, improved marketing, and agricultural-related technical training. The program will enable 40,000 women and girls to increase their income by 20 percent.
Rural Pakistani women do the majority of livestock and agriculture management, frequently in the form of unpaid “family” work. The USAID agriculture programs will develop skills and techniques of female farmers while strengthening women’s control over the financial resources generated by their work.
Customer Natasha De Sousa, a video producer, said "I was very impressed with the designs and the quality."
Women in Pakistan have strong embroidery and garment embellishment skills, passing local traditional styles and techniques from generation to generation. Yet due to their limited mobility, these women have had to accept low compensation for their products at local markets or through sales to intermediaries who buy low and profit from resale in higher-value urban markets. Either way, village artisans earn only small amounts for their painstakingly elaborate creations.
Read how these women surpassed social and cultural restrictions to develop their product collections, learning in a hands-on environment how to expand their businesses with USAID support.
Key components of USAID’s economic growth program include creating jobs, improving the competitiveness of Pakistani small and medium enterprises, addressing agricultural policy, infrastructure and productivity constraints; and significantly increasing women’s access to microfinance.
The U.S. is working with the Government of Pakistan to promote the rule of law and equality under the law; build public awareness of the benefits of educating girls and of providing them with economic opportunity and health care as well as of the benefits of changing societal attitudes.
Najeeb focuses during welding training. He is among 100,000 underemployed Pakistani youth USAID is training and helping with job placement under its Economic Growth program.
Holding an electric arc in his right hand, and a steel and glass helmet in front of his face with his left, Najeeb Ahmed bears down on a sheet of metal, focusing intensely as he heats a straight line across a forge under the watchful eye of an experienced ironworker.
Like millions of young Pakistanis, the 30-year-old Najeeb is ambitious and eager to work yet is nonetheless unemployed. Becoming a welder may be his last chance to provide a good life for his family of six. Read more about it here.
USAID is facilitating the placement of 100,000 Pakistanis – at least half women – in skill-matched jobs through training and placement
In male dominated cultures, USAID programs are helping to decrease maternal deaths by encouraging men to become involved in pregnancy and childbirth matters. Pictured: a man and child in Pakistan.
Reducing maternal deaths by 75 percent throughout the world by 2015 will take the involvement of men in countries where it matters most. Many of the countries where USAID works are male dominated cultures. To improve maternal health outcomes for women in developing countries, men must be equal partners since they are the decision makers about health care in the family. These decisions include determining family size, timings of pregnancies, and whether women have access to health care for themselves and their children. USAID-supported programs make special efforts to emphasize men’s shared responsibility and promote their active involvement in responsible parenthood, sexual and reproductive health. This means reaching out to community elders, leaders, and religious groups – entreaties that could be rejected because of traditional cultural values and perceptions that maternal health is the responsibility of women only.
In Pakistan, USAID is building on the efforts undertaken by the Government to create a cadre of religious leader master trainers to conduct roll out trainings in family planning and reproductive health, and maternal and child health, and gender issues consistent with and supported by the teachings of Islam.