USAID Impact Photo Credit: USAID and Partners

Archives for Health

Pic of the Week – USAID Health Huts

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah meeting with expectant mothers on health issues

A community health hut is an innovative approach to ensure health services for those who don’t have the money or the transportation to travel great distances to see a doctor.  USAID supports a nationwide network of nearly 1,500 huts in Senegal, staffed by almost 10,000 volunteers, covering a population of nearly two and a half million people. These often small, one or two-room structures are widely accessible around the country, including remote, rural areas where there may be no other health provider available.  It is community-managed, financed and volunteer-staffed, which means it’s not government driven, but in the hands of the people.  USAID began supporting these structures in the early ‘80s and since then, as the largest and most consistent donor, its support has become synonymous with comprehensive community care here.   In fact, it is a very important aspect of the malaria prevention and treatment program (the President’s Malaria Initiative) and critical to family planning and reproductive health programs, all of which work hard to reduce maternal and child mortality, as part of the Millennium Development Goals.

Insecticide-treated Mosquito Nets Save Lives

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. 

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USAID Partners with U.S Army Medical Research Unit to Improve Malaria Diagnosis in Africa

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.

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Harnessing the Power of Soccer to Fight HIV

Submitted by USAID/Zimbabwe

Children First. Caption: An orphan herself, Fortune helps other children learn about HIV through the Grassroot Soccer program. Photographer: Heather Quinn

When Fortune’s mother died, Fortune says that she was too young — at age six — to understand the loss. When she lost her father to AIDS six years later and had to live with her uncle, she felt the loneliness that goes along with having no parents. She received scholarships to allow her to complete her secondary education when her uncle wasn’t able to pay for her fees. Once she graduated, Fortune discovered Grassroot Soccer.

Grassroot Soccer is an innovative organization that uses the power of soccer to achieve its main objective of providing rigorous health education focusing on HIV and AIDS. The program started in Zimbabwe in 2003 and reaches youth aged 11-18. Led by coaches, the program engages students in critical learning about HIV prevention. The program also provides psychosocial support and the opportunity for kids to form trusting relationships with responsible adults. The role model component is especially important because many of the kids in the program don’t have positive role models at home.

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This Week at USAID – June 28, 2010

As part of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Statesmen’s Forum, Administrator Shah will give an address on the U.S. Global Health Initiative.  Dr. Shah’s remarks will focus on integration and innovation for better health outcomes.   This event, held on Tuesday at 1 PM Eastern, will be webcast live.

Alonzo Fulgham, USAID’s Chief Operating Officer, will join Ambassador Melanne Verveer during the U.S. National Voluntary Presentation at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Annual Ministerial Review.  Mr. Fulgham will discuss how U.S. commitments to the Millennium Development Goals are integral to the empowerment of women around the world.

USAID – From the Field

submitted by Abby Sugrue

In Kazakhstan: An event to raise awareness about the risks of drug abuse, HIV/AIDS and TB among at-risk youth – the event will include an awards ceremony for a drawing competition, a football match, and educational sessions on prevention of drug-use, HIV/AIDS and TB.  Local NGOs, youth groups and local media are invited.

In Armenia: An Amerenian Eye Care Project, and an international conference on the Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a potentially blinding eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants.  A group of very well known ROP and retina specialists from the US and Australia will be traveling to Yerevan to train and teach the Armenian specialists to launch the program.  Attendees will include neonatologists, pediatric & regional ophthalmologists, clinical residents and neonatal nurses.

In Serbia: “Agribusiness & Renewable Energy Sources,” a conference to inform investors and agricultural producers on possibilities of production and the need for the use of sustainable sources of energy, in order to lower the emission of  pollutants and dependency on import of fossil fuels.  Attendees will include Senior representatives of Serbian Ministry of Agriculture and Mining and energy, Special Advisor to the Ministry of Environment, and Agbiz project companies and clients.

In Egypt: The inauguration of El Akarmeya clinic.  Outreach is focused on Egyptian beneficiaries in disadvantaged areas, especially women and children.  An integral part of the process involves The Integrated Reproductive Health Services Project (Takamol), which provides technical assistance to the Egyptian Government to include Maternal-Child Health, Family Planning, and Reproductive (MCH/FP/RH ) services.

USAID in the News – 28 June 2010

submitted by Jessica Scott

Administrator Rajiv Shah shared insight on his ideas for agency reform at the National Press Club June 18 luncheon. His inspiration for the changes stemmed from the extraordinary actions of his staff in response to the earthquake disaster in Haiti. The emergency teams demonstrated their versatility by purchasing food from local reserves as opposed to depending on food sent by the US. Working closely with the World Food Programme, they managed to feed approximately three and a half million people. The reform will not only focus on disbursing aid, but determining the impact it has as well as providing solid evidence to the American taxpayer’s as to the significance of their contributions.

The Helping Babies Breathe Campaign, a program implemented to prevent birth asphyxia, was announced last week in Washington. The purpose of this campaign is to educate midwives and traditional birth attendants in underprivileged countries on how to resuscitate a newborn. USAID has teamed up with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Save the Children to power this initiative. Currently, the curriculum is being offered in ten countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America through USAID maternal and newborn health programs.

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Football – A Universal Language

submitted by Chris Thomas

Soccer - Youth Mission - photo by Joan Cartwright

The World Cup is underway in South Africa — the first time an African nation has ever hosted the quadrennial event. Joining Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Germany, England, the U.S. and other football powers in the 32 team field include five from sub-Saharan Africa — Ghana’s Black Stars; Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions; Ivory Coast’s Les Elephants; Nigeria’s Super Eagles; and South Africa’s Bafana Bafana (the Boys).

The game has a powerful gravitational pull and unique appeal to humanity. It binds us together – a common language understood throughout the world. While global in scope, it is also markedly local in flavor.

From Dhaka to Dakar; and Kabul to Kinshasa, its pitches are makeshift but ubiquitous – football is played on dusty fields, squalid pastures and dirt plains, in the shadow of great mosques, mountains and monuments, in slums and shantytowns; beside rubble and ruin; and down narrow and congested alleyways.

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This Week at USAID – June 21, 2010

Secretary Clinton and Administrator Shah will deliver opening remarks on “LGBT Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy” at an event co-hosted by State’s Office of Civil Rights and GLIFAA, the organization for Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies.

At an event in the Ronald Reagan Building, USAID will join the Brookings Institution to launch a new report on education in Pakistan.  The event will discuss efforts to create concrete programs in Pakistan’s education sector that can more effectively advance U.S. security objectives in the region and contribute to longer-term stability in Pakistan.  Administrator Shah, Congresswoman Lowey and Mr. Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution, are among the key speakers.

Administrator Shah will give remarks at a dinner during the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) conference in Washington, DC.  AAPI is a forum to facilitate and enable Indian American Physicians to excel in patient care, teaching and research and to pursue their aspirations in professional and community affairs.

Why Family Planning Matters

USAID is a global leader in the effort to provide voluntary family planning services and programs that allow couples to choose how many children to have, and when to have them. When men and women are given the knowledge and the right tools to plan their family, most couples choose to have fewer children.  In countries where families have fewer children, women are more likely to be educated, there is a higher paid female population, and women are increasingly involved in activities outside the home because they are not tied to the traditional household role.

USAID currently supports programs in more than 60 developing countries that work to ensure both men and women have access to these life changing services.  Our programs focus on educating people about pregnancy, how to plan it, and how to ensure the health of both the child and mother.  Increasing access to these services will also reduce the rates of abortion since more pregnancies will be planned.

Since the inception of USAID’s family planning programs in 1965, the use of modern family planning methods in the developing world has nearly quadrupled—from less than 10 percent to more than 39 percent today.  In the 39 countries with the largest USAID-supported programs, the average number of children per family has dropped – by choice – from more than 6 to fewer than 4.1.

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