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.
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While major progress has been made in the fight against malaria in the Mekong SubRegion covering the six countries of Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and China, the disease continues to be a major public health problem, according to the World Health Organization’s recent Mekong Malaria report.
USAID provides critical strategic support in the region to address three major challenges: monitoring and mitigation of emerging multi-drug resistant malaria; combating the distribution of counterfeit and sub-standard drugs; and assessing hard-to-reach and mobile trans-border populations.
Malaria is on the agenda of the Lower Mekong Initiative Infectious Diseases Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, June 17–18 where participants will examine integrated regional approaches to fighting infectious disease. President’s Malaria Initiative Coordinator, Rear Admiral (USN, retired) Timothy Ziemer, will open the conference and co-lead the U.S. delegation.
The U.S. Government six-year strategy to combat malaria globally outlines contributions to stop the spread of multi-drug resistance in Southeast Asia; increase emphasis on strategic integration of malaria prevention and treatment activities with programs for maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, neglected tropical diseases, and tuberculosis through multilateral collaboration to achieve internationally-accepted goals; and intensify efforts to strengthen health systems.
Currently leading the U.S. delegation to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Board meeting in Rome, today Administrator Shah meets with the Executive Director of WFP, Deputy Director Generals of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Earl Gast will be sworn-in as the new USAID Mission Director to Afghanistan.
Several USAID officials will be speaking at the Women Deliver Conference at the Washington Convention Center. In addition, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health, Amie Batson, and the U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, will both speak at the Global Business Coalition on AIDS, TB and Malaria’s annual conference, also in Washington, DC.
Great news on maternal and child health today. On behalf of the Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates committed $1.5 billion to support integrated women’s and children’s health programs in developing countries at the Women Deliver Conference in Washington, DC. The United States through the Global Health Initiative shares the goals of the Gates Foundation to improve the health and nutritional status of women and children worldwide. While progress in reducing maternal and under-five mortality has been made, much remains to be done. The new commitment of the Gates Foundation highlights the need for the global community to develop more integrated approaches to women’s and children’s health. It also plans to evaluate innovative programs and share effective strategies with other countries. This approach will help national governments achieve lasting reductions in maternal and under-five deaths. USAID welcomes the opportunity to partner with Gates and other partners in this effort.
Submitted by Jessica Scott
Administrator Shah took part in the first ever US-India Strategic Dialogue this week. The meeting included a host of senior leaders from both sides. Dr. Shah discussed development as part of the complex relationship between the two countries.
The final 314 American troops from Operation Unified Response were airlifted from Haiti on Tuesday. Even as troops were being pulled out of the country, they continued to work with USAID and the UN in nine camps housing Haitians who lost their homes. The Washington Post’s editorial page commemorated the transition with a lead editorial that mentions USAID in connection with the importance of continued U.S. involvement in Haiti’s recovery. USAID officials who have been leading this effort, including Paul Weisenfeld and Christopher Milligan, attended the World Summit on the Future of Haiti.
The USAID-Funded FIRMS Initiative is helping bridge the gap between Pakistani mango farmers and European consumers. Pakistan exports a relatively small percentage of its mango production. Under the FIRMS program, farmers are being trained in the best ways to pick, sort, grade, and package the
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By Zack Taylor
Khana Mohri buffalo milk producers, primarily men, developed a dairy association with USAID support. The association provides training and veterinary support to its members, and stores its milk in a chiller bought through the USAID project.
On October 8, 2005, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province and AJK, killing 74,000 people and injuring 70,000. In the years since the devastating earthquake, reconstruction of the region has been an important component of the development portfolio at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Pakistan.
Read more about efforts to rebuild lives and livlihoods of the families and communities who live in this remote, mountainous province in Pakistan.
In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, the U.S. government mobilized all of its available resources. Military helicopters transported survivors out of destroyed cities and brought in thousands of tons of relief materials such as food, medical services, clothing, and tents in collaboration with the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team. Heavy machinery moved debris to search for victims and set the stage for rebuilding.
The close teamwork of Pakistani and U.S. governments, along
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Due in large measure to USAID-provided health messages provided to a member of the local Village Council and leader in her community, 15-year-old Bakhtawar will be able to finish school - and growing up - before she is married.
Kanjeer, Pakistan – Bakhtawar was a good student in the fifth grade at a small school located in a Southern Pakistan village.
She enjoyed learning, laughing with her friends, and spending time with her family. But one evening, as she sat nervously in a chair beside her parents at the local meeting hall, she knew that everything about her childhood was coming to an end. No more school, no more girlfriends, no more fun.
At 15, Bakhtawar was about to become engaged to be married. Read her story here!
The impacts of early marriage are substantial not
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The signing in Moscow concluded the annual meeting of the U.S.-Russia Joint Committee for Emergency Management and Disaster Response.
On Friday, May 28th, FEMA Deputy Administrator Timothy Manning and I signed a work plan with the Russian government to expand bilateral cooperation through 2012 on responding to international disasters and humanitarian crises. The signing in Moscow concluded the annual meeting of the U.S.-Russia Joint Committee for Emergency Management and Disaster Response. This committee was formed in 1996 and now serves as one of the working groups under the Bilateral Presidential Commission established by Presidents Obama and Medvedev last year. The U.S. delegation from FEMA, USAID, and the Department of Transportation discussed ways to enhance preparedness and response capabilities for disasters at home and abroad. The Russian delegation, led by First Deputy Minister of the Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM) Ruslan Tsalikov, was especially interested in sharing humanitarian aid best practices, and proposed partnering with USAID to address food security issues in the region.
The committee meeting was the culmination of an exciting week for cooperation in this area. During the earlier part of the week, a FEMA-USAID delegation held a joint table top exercise with EMERCOM that simulated an earthquake scenario. American and Russian experts jointly examined response considerations related to declaring a disaster, deploying teams to another country, coordinating search and rescue with humanitarian response, and demobilizing. Specialists from Fairfax County’s Task Force 1 Search and Rescue team, who responded to the earthquake in Haiti, had the opportunity to sit across the table from Russian responders who also served in Haiti, and to share lessons learned from that experience. The exercise is part of U.S. efforts to support the Russian Government’s goal of meeting the standards for the United Nations’ highest classification of search and rescue teams.
Russia’s commitment to cooperating with the U.S. in addressing humanitarian crises is another sign of its reemergence as strong global partner and international donor. U.S. and Russian teams are already working together to improve rescue efforts in response to natural disasters and terrorism, and this is just one of many areas in which we are collaborating on global development. USAID/Russia also partners with the Ministry of Health to send Russian medical experts to countries in Africa and with Russia’s new agency for humanitarian cooperation, Rossotrudnichestvo, to strengthen its capacity to provide aid.
After spending the week in Russia, I am even more convinced that the U.S. and Russia have much to gain by working together to address the big challenges of the 21st century. I believe USAID should continue to be at the center of much of that cooperation and partnership.
Now I am off to Bosnia for the next phase of my trip.
By developing and implementing high-impact, evidence-based interventions, delivered at low cost, USAID programs reduced newborn mortality by 16 to 42 percent in 11 these countries. With USAID support, counties as diverse as Nepal, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Afghanistan have reduced under-five mortality by 25 percent in 5 to 7 years.
Death rates in children under 5 are dropping in many countries at an accelerated pace, according to a new report in ‘The Lancet’ based on data from 187 countries from 1970 to 2010. Worldwide, 7.7 million children are expected to die this year down from the 1990 figure of 11.9 million.
Global child survival programs have focused on reaching increased numbers of children with basic health interventions, which scientific research and field programs have demonstrated to reduce the susceptibility of children to serious illnesses. Vaccines, vitamin A supplements, better treatment of diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria, more education for women, reduced numbers of high risk and closely spaced births, and AIDS medicines in high-HIV prevalence countries are among the factors that have helped lower death rates. USAID has supported much of the research that identified and proved the effectiveness of high-impact interventions, from Oral Rehydration Therapy and vitamin A to community treatment of pneumonia and essential newborn care.
USAID’s work with developing country governments alongside UNICEF, the World Health Organization, World Bank, other donors, NGOs and private sector partners has contributed to successes at an unprecedented global scale. When the U.S. Child Survival program began in the early 1980s, it was estimated that almost 15 million children died each year in the developing world. Without reduced rates of mortality, the number of deaths today would be about 17 million each year. However, The Lancet report notes that, despite significant progress, the rate of decline in infant and child mortality is still not fast enough to meet the 2015 MDG target. This underscores the importance of the Global Health Initiative’s increased focus on maternal and child health.
On May 19th, ‘The Lancet’ released a special series on tuberculosis, which includes a series of papers and comments highlighting the need for new tools, the threat posed by drug-resistant strains, results of current control efforts and other issues about TB worldwide http://www.thelancet.com/series/tuberculosis. While treatment strategies saved six million lives and 36 million cases of the disease were successfully treated between 1995 and 2008, TB remains a severe global public health threat. TB remains second only to HIV among infectious killers worldwide today and is the third leading cause of death among women aged 15-44.
The Lancet series also focused on the broader issues that contribute to the spread of the disease. The majority of TB cases and deaths occur in developing countries. TB proliferates in close spaces, and it perpetuates poverty by striking the poorest and most vulnerable groups. Large numbers of TB cases go undetected and untreated, fueling new cases and deaths. Making matters worse, new forms of the disease have emerged that are resistant to existing drugs. According to the report, without significant investments in new technology and prevention and treatment tools, drug-resistant strains of TB could become the “dominant” form of TB over the coming decades. In addition, new approaches to diagnose TB, coupled with improved health delivery systems and stronger community awareness, are critical to earlier detection and treatment. Urgent actions are also needed to scale up effective and integrated services for TB and HIV at the country level.
On March 24th, the U.S. Government, through USAID, released its Global Tuberculosis Strategy – our blueprint for expanded TB treatment and control over the next five years. To meet our targets, we will invest in country-led plans, scale up country level programs, increase our impact by leveraging our efforts with the Global Fund and mobilize additional resources from the private sector. We will also promote research and innovation. Our investments focus on new diagnostics that will allow us to detect TB more easily, including drug resistant TB, and new drugs that will reduce the duration of TB treatment. Assisting countries to introduce these new tools into programs is also a priority.