Dr. Raj Shah at the launch of the Pakistan Ministry of Health’s new Birthspacing Initiative to Improve Maternal, Newborn, Infant and Child Mortality. Photo by Amy Koler.
The U.S. and Pakistan have consulted closely on the shared objectives of addressing Pakistan’s National Health Policy, which outlines the priorities for the nation, which include family planning, maternal and child health, workforce development, and combating infectious diseases to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
On Sunday, Dr. Shah attended the launch of the Pakistan Ministry of Health’s new Birthspacing Initiative to Improve Maternal, Newborn, Infant and Child Mortality. “Overall, (the strategy) will help ensure that pregnancies occur at the healthiest times of women’s lives. Specifically, it will help reduce high risk pregnancies – those that occur at too late or too early an age, or too soon after a previous pregnancy – through greater use of birth spacing services,” he said.
The Obama administration recognizes that the key to improving health is to strengthen country and local ownership, especially at the community level. ” We know that strong national leadership and capacities are essential for development progress. Health systems can only thrive where there is wise leadership investing in people, institutions and infrastructure; particularly where governments are responsive and accountable to their citizens.
In Lebanon Haigazian University will be presented with $450,081 to directly support its student financial aid program. 356 Haigazian University students with demonstrable financial need from all over Lebanon will be given scholarships with these U.S. funds, made available through USAID. Without this assistance, these students would not be able to study at Haigazian University. Lebanese American University (LAU) will be presented with $1,178,122 to support its Financial Aid & Scholarships Fund for both campuses in Jbeil and Beirut. 249 qualified Lebanese students benefit from this program.
In Albania USAID will open a Public Information Office in one of Albania’s District Courts. To tackle corruption in Albania’s judicial system, USAID’s Rule of Law program works with a set of pilot courts to improve their performance and accountability to citizens. One of several accountability measures introduced by USAID, public information offices serve as one-stop shops where citizens have quick and easy access to information on court proceedings and their legal rights.
In El Salvador a signing ceremony for the Global Development Alliance (GDA) with the Salvadoran Foundation for Health and Human Development (FUSAL). USAID will help expand FUSAL’s Libras de Amor program to two additional municipalities in Sonsonate to combat poor eating habits and malnutrition.
In Jakarta a forum will present eight finalists – that represent the finest – of more than 75 projects which entered a competition in Asia, organized by Climate Technology Initiative (CTI), and sponsored by USAID. Eight clean energy competition finalists, reps from more than 150 energy professionals, entrepreneurs, donors, banks, partners, project developers from Indonesia and Asia. The forum is a means to bridge the financial gap between creative innovators in clean energy with private investors who are willing to fund these opportunities.
Why Population Data Matters: Ensuring Families Around the World Have Access to Family Planning
While you are out celebrating the close of the World Cup this Sunday, don’t forget to take a minute to remember that Sunday, 11 July, is World Population Day. World Population Day is annually observed on July 11 to reaffirm the human right to plan for a family. It encourages activities, events and information to help make this right a reality throughout the world. This year’s theme, “Everyone Counts” is meant to highlight the critical role data plays in tracking population trends.
Administrator Shah released the following statement on the six-month commemoration of the 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010:
“Today, we pause to reflect on the tragedy that struck Haiti six months ago and claimed the lives of more than 230,000 people. In the wake of the devastation, countless more were left injured and 1.5 million were displaced and moved into spontaneous settlements across greater Port-au-Prince.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, USAID participated in the largest urban food distribution in history and fed more than 3.5 million people. We helped distribute emergency shelter to 1 million people. And we supported a campaign to vaccinate more than one million Haitians against diseases and outbreaks that could have decimated the population.
But our work has only just begun and significant challenges lay before Haiti and the international community. The US has committed more than $1 billion to Haiti’s long-term reconstruction and development. USAID is working with our colleagues at the Department of State and others across the Federal Government to apply the experience and knowledge of our development experts to high-impact projects in five key areas: agriculture, energy, governance support, infrastructure, and health.
As part of our continuing series spotlighting the human face of our work in Haiti, we’d like to return to a program that we’ve already discussed here at IMPACT—the CLEARS program, that is funded by USAID and executed by our partner CHF International.
Adrien Olguine, 25, is one of 40 graduates who have been trained in operating heavy machinery and equipment by CHF International as part of USAID’s OFDAfunded CLEARS program.
Before the earthquake, CHF saw that there was a serious shortage of heavy-equipment operators in Haiti and realized that there was a tremendous opportunity to give a group of Haitians a badly needed skill-set and a chance at a better future. CHF partnered with HayTrac and set to work training 40 Haitians in how to operate heavy machinery like back-hos, bulldozers, and other equipment that would be necessary for critical new construction projects in Haiti.
Once the earthquake struck Haiti, these needs became even more acute. Graduates from the CLEARS program sprang into action and put their new skills to use clearing collapsed buildings and rubble. Here’s what Adrien Olguine, 25, one of the 40 graduates said about her ability to meaningfully contribute to Haiti’s relief and reconstruction effort:
Next week marks the six-month commemoration of the earthquake that devastated Haiti last January 12th. For the next several days, we’d like to share more information here on IMPACT about what USAID and the US Government have been doing relieve the suffering of Haitians affected by the earthquake as well as how we are tackling Haiti’s longer-term development needs with the international community and in support of the Government of Haiti. And our best gauge of our impact is what Haitians themselves are saying about our work—that’s why we’re also highlighting first-person testimonials about the work we’ve been doing.
USAID is working with partner CHF to finish clearing the Grand Canal in the Solino neighborhood of Port‐au‐Prince. The canal is one of the largest and most important drainage mechanisms in the city; left uncleared and with the onset of the rainy season, the canal would have worsened sanitary conditions in the city.
Today, we’d like to include the work of one of our partners, CHF International, to clear the Grand Canal in the Solino neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. The canal is one of the largest and most important drainage mechanisms in the city–left uncleared and with the onset of the rainy season, the canal would have worsened sanitary conditions in the city and could have posed a threat to the safety of area residents.
Here’s what Madame Moude, who was displaced along with her husband and children to a camp after the earthquake, said about the canal clearance work. She currently runs a small stall in the growing market that runs along the Grand Canal.
The smell has been so bad for so long and we are very, very happy that they’re doing this; it will be much better here now.
Babies across the globe, wealthy or poor alike, all face the same treacherous moment—the moment when they take their first breath. And for 829,000 babies each year, this moment is their last. These infants require help to fill their lungs with life-sustaining air and for too many poor nations, the knowledge and tools to necessary to save them aren’t available.
USAID is working with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Laerdal Medical AS, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Save the Children to correct this issue through the “Helping Babies Breathe” initiative. This international campaign aims to prevent birth asphyxia through teaching midwives and birth attendants in poor countries how to gently nudge newborns into the world of respiration.
Lighting Up Camps: The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is funding an initial 75 solar lights for spontaneous settlements. USAID is working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNFPA to evaluate lighting needs in settlements and install lights where they’re needed. These solar lights will make Haiti’s displaced persons safer through a reliable and plentifully available source of energy.
Returning Homes to Habitability: As a model for future reconstruction efforts, USAID partner Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is repairing houses damaged in the earthquake. PADF is producing a guide on training, cost analysis, and future house repairs based on this project for the Government of Haiti, and it will train builders and masons. Lessons learned from this project will be turned into post‐earthquake House Repair Guidelines specifically tailored to the Haitian context.
Reinforcing Houses: USAID has been working hand‐in‐hand with the United Nations Shelter Cluster to ensure that Haitians are prepared for the rainy season. Public outreach materials include posters in Haitian Creole such as this guide to reinforcing emergency housing.
Bringing Jobs Beyond Port-au-Prince: USAID food security partner ACDI/VOCA established 178 food-for-work teams comprising 21 persons each to undertake road repairs and soil conservation activities. As of June 15, the food-for-work teams had repaired 53 km of road in La Vallee municipality and 90 km of road in Cote de Fer municipality, both in Southeast Department. The beneficiaries are primarily displaced Haitians who reside with host families.
Clearing Earthquake Debris: USAID, the international community, and the Government of Haiti have moved at least 503,500 cubic meters of rubble between January and June of 2010.
Making Headway on Sanitation Goals: As of June 16, Water, Sanitation, and Health (WASH) Cluster partners have constructed more than 11,000 toilets, 2,932 showers, provided 5 liters of water per person per day, established 450 private water kiosks; trained 3,238 hygiene promoters; and distributed 200,000 hygiene kits. USAID is one of the largest funders of WASH cluster efforts.
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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.