USAID Impact Photo Credit: USAID and Partners

Archives for Sub-Saharan Africa

New Estimates Document Decline in Mortality for Children Under 5

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.

Lancet Series Puts Spotlight on Global Tuberculosis Efforts

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.

President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) website wins Gold Screen Award

A group of children relax under a net in the Oyam district of Northern Uganda. Source: Gilbert Awekofua/Photoshare

The PMI website, managed by USAID, earned The Gold Screen Award in the 2010 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition, held by the National Association of Government Communicators. The awards competition recognizes superior government communications products and their producers in 51 categories. Gold Screen Award categories are reserved for audiovisual and multimedia products, including broadcast-related products and websites.

More than 500 entries were received and judged by a prestigious panel of expert judges. The website, accessible at www.pmi.gov and www.fightingmalaria.gov, hosts 12,000 unique visitors per month who view over 30,000 pages.

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Meet and Greet with Djibouti President

USAID - Dr. Rajiv ShahJust after launching the Obama Administration’s Feed The Future strategy to fight global hunger, Administrator Shah met with H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti, to discuss concerns and ideas for future USAID assistance and to to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to partnership with his H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouticountry.  Djibouti is home to the only warehouse outside the United States that prepositions American food aid for Africa and Asia; this strategic location of resources reduces delivery times by 75 percent. It also hosts the only U.S. military base on the continent, East Africa’s Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the current peace talks on Somalia. In addition, the Dr. Shah and President Guelleh discussed the Administration’s perspective on balancing development assistance with military assistance.

Pic of the Week – Healthy Moms and Babies in Kenya

Improving Mothers and Infants Health

USAID is supporting health training of mothers in Kenya. The programs encourage women to consider delivering their children in a hospital, rather than at home. Women who deliver at home face greater risk of complications and infections, and their babies are less likely to be fully vaccinated. In areas where USAID programs are in place, hospital deliveries have nearly doubled.

From the Dust of Darfur to the Green Shoots of Democracy

Welcome to my debut in the brave new world of blogging at USAID.

We’ve made the most of our time during Dr. Shah’s first Africa trip as the head of this amazing agency; only in the home stretch have I found a few minutes to share an observation or two.

With impressions still intense from a day and a night in Darfur – most notably, visiting under a scorching sun a vast and desert-dusty camp for internally displaced people that thousands of victims of violence, mostly women and children, now know as home – we rose at dawn to head to Juba in the far south of Sudan.  Here the climate is different in every sense.

Right off the bat we met with our civil society partners in the effort to improve governance and confidence in democracy.  The Sudanese Group for Democratic Elections and the Sudanese Network for Democratic Elections provide voter education and poll-watching in the country’s north and south, respectively.  They face very different political situations but similar challenges in trying to protect the integrity of the electoral process.  USAID facilitates this grassroots work with technical guidance and

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Health and Development in Southern Sudan

This afternoon we visited two sites where USAID, together with community groups, is helping improve health in Juba.

Sudan is a top U.S. government foreign policy priority; we need this country to be on a stable, peaceful path, which in turn is crucial to regional security.  Ultimately this means transitioning from humanitarian assistance to long-term development.

At more than $1 billion per year, USAID’s program in Sudan is our largest in sub-Saharan Africa.  One important project is the Lolongo Clinic in an outlying area of Juba, which helps meet the community’s basic health needs while also educating parents in preventative care.  About 35,000 people in the region rely on the treatment and care that Lolongo offers; that works out to about $6 per person per year.

Non-governmental organizations such as this clinic account for a full 86 percent of all health care services in Sudan.  And it’s by far not enough.  Southern Sudan has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the world, and a girl stands a higher chance of dying in childbirth than completing secondary school.

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This Week at USAID – May 17, 2010

USAID will launch the Feed the Future website – a hub for resources on the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Administrator Shah will provide keynote remarks and release the Feed the Future implementation guide at a Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security, hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

A senior delegation from Djibouti will meet with Administrator Shah.

Administrator Shah meets with Nancy Sutley, Chair, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and other CEQ leaders to discuss continued collaboration on climate change and forestry issues.

A Visit to Otash Camp

An early a.m. flight brought us to Juba in south Sudan. We swapped planes at the airport and headed straight for Nyala, the capital of South Darfur.

USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah at Otash Camp with the WFP.

USAID works in partnership with 11 other organizations to provide humanitarian assistance to the thousands living in the Otash IDP camp at near Nyala in Darfur.

After arriving, we met up with the World Food Programme (WFP) and visited an IDP camp called Otash.

USAID, through the WFP and its NGO partners like World Vision, provides emergency relief supplies to the 71,000 Dafuris living in Otash. The camp was established in 2004 and was originally home to 15,000 IDPs. It grew to its current size after large scale displacements in 2004 following fighting between the Government of Sudan and Darfuri rebels, and more recently, in 2008 after the outbreak of tribal conflict.

Since 2003, USAID has helped to meet the immediate needs of millions of people affected by the conflict in Darfur. Today, in the three states of Darfur there are some two million people living in IDP camps.

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Security and Livelihoods in Darfur

Just came from a series of meetings with our international partners in South Darfur.

We discussed a number of Darfur’s complex challenges with leaders from the World Food Programme, United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the UN Population Fund and other UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs.

Security continues to be a serious challenge for humanitarian agencies trying to access vulnerable populations. And now there’s a disturbing trend of attacks and abductions of humanitarian staff. Two UNAMID peacekeepers were recently killed when their vehicle was ambushed outside of Nyala.

Insecurity is also preventing the millions of displaced Dafuris from returning home.

But in addition to the security concerns, many Darfuris are wondering what they have to go back to, especially the young people, who have largely grown up in these camps.

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