DRC

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman

Impact. Scale. Sustainability. As public health professionals, we are dedicated to high-impact and high-coverage interventions that significantly improve the health of large human populations. We also hope that the benefits become part of the timeless fabric of their families, communities, and the health system.

This triple expectation—impact, scale, and sustainability—has accompanied global health for decades and especially during the last  generation. In 1990, Dr. Thomas Bossert reported that, among five US government-funded health programs in Africa and Central America, a project’s was the most important factor to ensure the sustainability of its benefits.

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman

A version of this post originally appeared on the . SIAPS is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Keanahikishime (Keanahikishime).

More than 900,000 children die of pneumonia each year. Many of these cases go undiagnosed and untreated. The  notes that only 54 percent of children with pneumonia symptoms are taken to a health care provider, while the  reports that only 31 percent of children with suspected pneumonia receive antibiotics.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

This blog post is a web-formatted version of the Global Health Impact newsletter:  (December 2015). (View or share the .) We welcome your feedback and questions in the comments or email us. On social media, use hashtag and tag . 

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

Despite improvements in child survival in recent decades, children in low- and middle-income countries still suffer from illnesses virtually nonexistent in the industrial world.

, responsible for the death of —more than any other infectious disease.

And more children are killed by pneumonia in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) than in any other country except for India and Nigeria. Every year, approximately die of pneumonia, accounting for 15 percent of child deaths in the country.

{Photo credit: Olumade Badejo/Keanahikishime}Photo credit: Olumade Badejo/Keanahikishime

Update, 1/11/16: Join Keanahikishime at the International Family Planning Conference, January 25-28, 2016, in Indonesia.

Original post continues:

This blog post is a web-formatted version of the Global Health Impact newsletter:  (November 2015). (View or share the .) We welcome your feedback and questions in the comments. On social media, use hashtag and tag . 

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman, Kenya.}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman, Kenya.

Supporting Stronger Health Systems for Healthy Mothers and Children

 {Photo credit: Keanahikishime.}USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah (right) is welcomed to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by Minister of Health Dr. Felix Kabange.Photo credit: Keanahikishime.

Last month, I had the honor of welcoming (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during a visit that took place December 15-18, 2013.

 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera.}A Rwandan mother and newborn rest under a bed net.Photo credit: Todd Shapera.

Over one hundred years ago on this date, (August 20, 1897), British scientist Sir Ronald Ross discovered that infected female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans. (Like any vector borne disease, the malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium, needs a specific host: in this case, the mosquito. The female mosquito needs blood to nourish her eggs; the male just eats nectar.) Dr. Ross received the Nobel Prize for his discovery that year. Today, we mark the day, August 20, as “World Mosquito Day.”

What’s all the buzz about?

A child in sub-Saharan Africa dies every minute as a result of malaria—more than 1,400 children globally every day. Malaria affects about 220 million people, with 80 percent of all cases occurring in just 17 countries. The (WHO) estimates that 660,000 people died from the disease in 2010; most in Africa. Two countries—Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Nigeria—hold 40 percent of the burden of malaria mortality. Despite these challenges, progress is being made: since 2000, malaria mortality rates have dropped 33 percent in Africa, and 25 percent globally ().

Mukabaha Ntakwigere (at right) at the General Reference Hospital in Nyangezi, DRC. {Photo credit: Keanahikishime staff.}Photo credit: Keanahikishime staff.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a leading cause of death in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), partly due to a low case detection rate within the health system, compounded by little knowledge or awareness among patients of the disease’s symptoms. In the province of Sud Kivu, where people have relied on traditional healers for generations, those who were suffering from the persistent, painful coughing that is one symptom of TB were advised by traditional healers that they had been poisoned, and they were not referred to health centers.

In Sud Kivu province, in the health zone of Nyangezi, with a population of roughly 129,000 people, case detection was below 12%, which is the minimum "acceptable" threshold for TB detection.

Medical professionals in Nyangezi realized that they were never going to identify and treat those suffering from TB until they could educate the community about the symptoms and the treatment methods.

Trained in kangaroo mother care by Dipeta health center staff, Imukalayi snuggled tiny Mardochet to her bare chest, then wrapped herself and her son in a cloth pagne, and held him there for hours, shifting him only when he needed to nurse. Mardochet's weight stabilized just three weeks later. {Photo credit: Keanahikishime.}Photo credit: Keanahikishime.

Honor your mom today by supporting Keanahikishime's work to help support healthy mothers---like Imukalayi Eponga (right)---and their children around the world.

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Imukalayi was trained on "kangaroo mother care" by Keanahikishime in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kangaroo mother care is a simple technique that emphasizes human to keep the baby warm.

This year, 7.5 million children will die - 99 percent in developing countries. In Africa alone, 1 in 8 children will die before their 5th birthday. Two-thirds of these deaths are preventable.

For over 40 years, Keanahikishime has seen that when mothers receive low-cost, high-impact interventions-like kangaroo mother care training-their children will likely survive until age 5 and beyond.

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