A two-day slow down by Liberian health workers who are leading the Ebola response is over for now. From VOA:
Joseph Tamba, president of the National Health Workers Association, said they ended the strike Tuesday after receiving appeals from Liberians and the international community.
Tamba said the health workers did not want to be responsible for deaths of more Liberians.
“The strike is over, according to all the health workers of the Republic of Liberia. Our concern is the people of Liberia. We do not want the people in Liberia to be at risk. Because of this, all the health workers, we met today and we decided that we are going to cut off the ‘go-slow’ to listen to the international community to see how best they can come in and try to provide better incentives for the health workers of the Republic of Liberia,” Tamba said.
Tamba said the strike being called off was not because the Minister of Health had threatened the workers with dismissal.
“The minister is a Liberian and we are Liberians. We know the minister’s term will be finished. We are health workers. We cannot hold Liberians hostage because of our disagreement with the minister,” Tamba said.
Tamba said he’s in hiding because the Internal Affairs minister has ordered his arrest for inciting workers to strike.
Spotlight on PSI
The PSI blog looks at how private sector providers add marketing and distribution value for voluntary medical male circumcision. An excerpt:
PS Kenya began working closely with Kenya’s Ministry of Health in 2011 to explore how to integrate VMMC services into a network of 310 private healthcare providers, operating as a social franchise under the shared brand Tunza, with shared quality assurance standards.
Together with the Ministry of Health, PS Kenya selected 10 Tunza social franchise clinics in Nyanza that met the Ministry of Health’s VMMC service delivery requirements. Each clinic had to have more than one room, and have at least two staff members (a surgeon and an assistant) who could be responsible for VMMC. The Ministry trained the provider teams, using its own curriculum, and in January 2012, the 10 Tunza clinics began offering VMMC services for a small fee.
Demand remains a major barrier for VMMCs. Demand creation campaigns can address many obstacles, from obvious barriers like fear of the pain, to not-so-obvious barriers like fearing a partner’s mistrust taking VMMC as a sign that a man intends to sleep around. The private sector is uniquely placed to overcome one barrier in particular – that some clients can’t or won’t seek services in the public sector. To reach the total market for the service, the private sector must be a viable distribution channel.
“One of the target groups we reach out to are men in their early to mid-20s, who are either formally employed or working in the informal sector and therefore have some disposable income, and often don’t have time for long lines at public clinics,” Izulla says. “That includes young men in Nyanza as well as Mombasa and Nairobi, where they are moving to find jobs and where they are seeking out new relationships.”
Given the mobility of this target population, Izulla mentioned plans to expand VMMC to five Tunza clinics in Mombasa and five in Nairobi in the next year.
Global Health and Development Beat
A second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. has tested positive for the disease.
Nigeria and Senegal could be declared Ebola-free within days after completing a 42-day period with no new cases, the World Health Organization said.
The University of Michigan said it plans to begin training doctors in Africa in reproductive health services after getting a $25 million grant from an anonymous donor.
Two principal recipients of malaria grants in Nigeria have been implicated in fraud and financial irregularities, following an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General, and have committed to returning some $350,000 to the Global Fund.
As thousands of U.N. staff volunteer to work in Ebola-stricken countries in Africa, the Staff Union has called for safety measures to protect personnel on the ground.
The CDC is putting more resources into helping hospitals prepare and handle Ebola patients. This, after a nurse treating Ebola patient Thomas Duncan in Dallas became infected with the virus.
As the world celebrates the seventh Global Handwashing Day, UNICEF said the fight against Ebola further underscores the practice of handwashing in disease prevention.
Buzzing in the Blogs
Bill Gates explains why the Gates Foundation has taken on its grand challenges campaign a decade. He writes:
Grand Challenges has its roots in what I call catalytic philanthropy. It’s designed to fix market failures—places where capitalism fails to meet the needs of the poor. Why is there so much more research done on baldness than on malaria? Because rich people go bald, and they don’t die of malaria.
Grand Challenges is like a venture capital fund in the sense that it backs a lot of ideas—some of them pretty crazy—knowing that many will fail, but a few could have a big impact. I’ll be delighted if five years from now, 20 percent of the initial projects are being deployed and saving lives. And I expect that much of the other 80 percent will still advance the frontiers of science by eliminating dead ends or making discoveries that enable other big ideas.
The Grand Challenges run the gamut from making staple crops more nutritious to creating vaccines that won’t spoil when they get warm. The Wolbachia project that I wrote about in April—trying to stop dengue fever by infecting mosquitoes with a particular bacterium—also came out of a Grand Challenge.
We’ve made short videos about two other example: an effort to identify HIV at the moment of infection and one to fight malaria by overloading the mosquito’s sense of smell (“like getting on an elevator with someone who’s put on way too much perfume,” as researcher Laurence Zwiebel puts it).
There’s another Grand Challenge that illustrates both what’s exciting and what’s hard about catalytic philanthropy: making the diagnosis of disease faster and more accurate.
12:30 PM – The Changing World of International Development: How is hte Business of Development is Changing, How are Development Organizations Adjusting to these Changes, and What’s Coming Next? – Georgetown University
2:00 PM – OECD Perspectives on Global Development – Wilson Center
8:30 AM – Ensuring Equity for NCDs in Women’s Health Throughout the Life Course – FHI 360
12:30 PM – Reaching the Most Vulnerable through Social and Gender Analysis: Lessons from Field Research in Mali, Ghana and Malawi – SID
By Mark Leon Goldberg and Tom Murphy
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Disclaimer: Opinions presented in this email do not necessarily reflect the views of PSI.