South Sudan’s health ministry is teaming up with aid agencies to screen tens of thousands of children for malnutrition. From VOA:
The first-ever such screenings in South Sudan will be conducted in Central Equatoria, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap states. The information gathered will give the government an idea of how many children are going hungry in South Sudan.
“Up to now, we don’t know the level of malnutrition of our children,” Health Minister Emmanuel Ija said. “With this campaign, we can ensure that every child is reached with proper nutrition to give every child a health start.”
Two-hundred-fifty-four trained social mobilizers will start going door-to-door in Juba, in Central Equatoria, on Wednesday. The program will be rolled out in the near future in the other two states and will run for several weeks, Ija said.
The mobilizers will refer any children found to be suffering from under-nutrition for treatment and will instruct caregivers on the best ways to feed their children and keep them healthy, Ija said.
Dr. Samson Baba, director general for primary health care at the National Ministry of Health, said the campaign will educate caregivers “to become more aware of their children’s nutrition conditions and the impact on their growth (and) achievement of full potential.”
Spotlight on PSI
Blogger Jennifer James writes about her recent trip to Tanzania on how PSI reinforces positive reproductive health messaging through branding, edutainment, and the color orange. An excerpt:
Familia is PSI’s social franchise network of over 260 private sector clinics across 23 regions that primarily provides family planning, cervical cancer and maternal health services as well as health services for children under the age of five in urban and peri-urban community settings in Tanzania. Tanzania’s most remote areas are serviced by PSI outreach teams.
Private sector clinics like Mission Mbagala Dispensary in Dar es Salaam, a Familia franchise owned by an area doctor, Dr. John, can accommodate 200 people a day in his small, yet efficient clinic that is often fraught with power outages and a lack of modern equipment. Dr. John says his clients want an ultrasound machine, for example, but a new one costs 23 million Tanzanian shillings or $13,600 USD. And yet through these challenges he says, “We always believe we should give quality care at the primary level.”
A quick walk-through of Dr. John’s clinic shows sure signs of Familia branding from aprons hanging in reception areas to an orange-accented nurse’s uniform and Familia teaching materials. Tumaini Mission Dispensary, a private clinic less than twenty minutes away from Mission Mbagala Dispensary, also boasts Familia branding throughout its facility and is in the process of completing a brand-new maternal health unit to better serve its clients, but also lacks funding for beds and equipment, but has plans, perhaps overly ambitious, to open in January.
Waiting areas, however, in both clinics were packed with clients showing that despite some challenges indicative of a growing network of health care providers who are now business owners, PSI’s Familia social franchise model is working and the trusted Familia brand brings clients through the door. It exemplifies that clients are willing to pay a premium for quality, private health care from clinics that are conveniently operating in their own neighborhoods. And when clients cannot afford to pay, the franchise makes up the financial loss through its paying clients even when it can potentially mean a loss in profits.
Global Health and Development Beat
Uganda’s HIV/AIDS control efforts have been undermined by a lack of consensus and clarity over which people constitute Key Populations to be targeted in various prevention, care and treatment efforts, say experts.
The global famine warning system is predicting a major food crisis if the Ebola outbreak continues to grow exponentially over the coming months, and the United Nations still hasn’t reached over 750,000 people in need of food in West Africa as prices spiral and farms are abandoned.
New laws and changing attitudes mean disabled persons in the Caribbean are making important gains.
Saudi Arabia is seeing “sporadic” cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, which has killed 324 people in the country, the health ministry said Thursday.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday it had delivered its first medical supplies in a year to Palestinian refugees living in a camp in the Damascus suburb of Yarmouk in Syria.
The Sao Paulo state water utility on Thursday assured customers that Brazil’s largest city won’t run out of water, even though a main reservoir is nearly dry.
Some abortion centers in Texas remain closed, despite a recent legal reprieve that should have helped them reopen, reports NPR.
A senior official of the Texas hospital system that treated a Liberian national with Ebola said on Thursday “we made mistakes” in diagnosing the man who later died and in giving inaccurate information to the public, adding that he was “deeply sorry.”
Buzzing in the Blogs
A pair of recent polls show most Americans are misinformed about and scared of Ebola. GlobalPost’s Tristan McConnell knocks down 5 myths in a recent dispatch. Here are a few:
Myth No. 1: Ebola is ALL OVER AFRICA!
Ebola is spreading in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, three neighboring countries in West Africa. There were cases of the hemorragic disease in Nigeria and Senegal, but those potential outbreaks appear to have been stopped by fast action. In both cases the virus was carried by a visitor from one of the three affected countries. There was a separate outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but it too has been contained. Africa is very, very big and there are zero cases of Ebola in nearly 50 of its countries — so stopping flights to Kenya (yes, we’re looking at you, Korean Air) or canceling holidays in South Africa is pointless and will only pile widespread economic damage on top of the human tragedy. See what the World Health Organization has to say about it.
Myth No. 3: Ebola is unstoppable
Actually, Ebola is very stoppable, as long as there is an effective medical infrastructure in place. The reason Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are struggling with the virus is that generations of predatory and corrupt rule, conflict and poor development have rendered healthcare (and other government institutions) moribund. When — not if — Ebola makes another appearance in the US or Europe, its spread will be quickly stopped as it was in Nigeria and Senegal, which both managed to isolate and contain Ebola when it crossed their borders.
Myth No. 5: Ebola is “the ISIS of biological agents”
This — along with much of the more breathless Ebola commentary — is nonsense. But CNN gave major play to the comparison made by former Homeland Security chief medical officer Alexander Garza, who argued in The New York Times that the response to Ebola “should mirror antiterrorism efforts.” Teju Cole captured the absurdity of the analogy in his recent New Yorker article, a scathing and incisive piece of satire written in response to a thoroughly bonkers TV discussion. “Is Ebola the ISIS of biological agents? Is Ebola the Boko Haram ofAIDS? Is Ebola the al-Shabaab of dengue fever?” Cole wrote. “At first there was, understandably, the suspicion that Ebola was the Hitler of apartheid, but now it has become abundantly clear that Ebola is actually the George W. Bush of being forced to listen to someone’s podcast. Folks, this thing is serious.”
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.