Category Archives: APHA IH Section

Spotlight on Brazil: The World Cup and More Doctors

The World Cup ended on Sunday and with all the controversy surrounding host country Brazil, I found myself wondering about their health care system. I knew access to basic health services was one of the main points of protest against the Brazilian government’s spending for the World Cup, but I didn’t know all the details.

A few quick searches online provided me with the information I wanted and led me to this video from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) documenting the impact of the arrival of doctors in two Brazilian towns that previously had no doctors. According to the World Health Organization, there is a serious shortage of doctors in Brazil with 1.8 physicians for every 1,000 people. Although the Constitution calls for free health care for all citizens, the reality is that there are major inequalities in access to health services with 700 neglected municipalities and a lack of local primary health care.

The PAHO video focuses on Mais Medicos (More Doctors) – a program between the Brazilian and Cuban governments that allows Cuban doctors to work in under-served Brazilian communities for three years. I did some more searching online and learned that the program is part of an initiative by President Dilma Rousseff to import 13,000 foreign doctors in order to address the shortage of medical professionals. The program has been criticized and although I agree with some of the points of opposition (How are their foreign credentials vetted for local standards? How does this translate to a long-term plan to address the larger issues with health care in Brazil?) I think the reception of Cuban doctors by local Brazilian doctors was too harsh.

Despite the controversy surrounding the program, the PAHO video illustrates its positive outcomes through patient testimonials about improved access to health care, fewer journeys to far away hospitals, and increased treatment and service quality. Residents in the two remote communities featured in the video are quite happy with the program and appreciative to have basic health care.

What do you think? Does the program provide enough value to balance costs and outweigh the risks? Watch the video and share your thoughts in the comments below.

IHSC June 19th Conference Call with Dr. Pablo Ariel-Mendez, USAID

Please see the following announcement from Mary Carol Jennings of the newly-formed Student Committee.


The International Health Student Committee of the APHA IH Section is the section’s newest student group. As part of the core group of leaders, I wanted to plan a nationwide series of virtual events and conversations about leadership and career decisions in international health. Another group member, Nila Elison, has recently joined me, and together we’re starting the IH Career Development Sub-Committee.

I believe that organizations like APHA can play a valuable role in introducing new public health practitioners to potential mentors. I myself am not following a perfectly straight career path. I’ve worked in community organizing, policy, clinical medicine, and now am finally, formally, in public health, in my second year of the general preventive medicine residency at Johns Hopkins. Only recently have I started to find mentors in people, who like me, have taken similarly non-linear paths.

To set the stage for the upcoming year, our first guest speaker is going to talk about his own career path and his insight on leading a large global public health organization.

Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez is a public health physician who serves as the Assistant Administrator for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Appointed by President Obama in 2011,  his work involves implementing the mission of the Global Health Initiative. His impressive resume includes leadership and experience within the World Health Organization, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Columbia University in New York City.

Dr. Pablos-Méndez will join the International Health Student Committee on June 19th from 4-5pm EST, and we hope you’ll take part in the conversation about developing your own career in international health.

We had previously closed registration, but because we want to share the conversation with those who are inspired by this blog post, we have re-opened the RSVP form until June 15th. We also welcome your sharing this with your classmates and school communication forums.

RSVP link: http://bit.ly/1n9J1Xc

A few twitter hashtags: #IHSCspeakers, #GlobalHealthSpeakers #IHSCCareerDevelopment

Details about the conference line number and access code will be sent to your RSVP email.
Follow the IH Student Committee!
APHA connect http://connect.apha.org/group.htm?igid=257321
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/APHA.IHSC/
Twitter @APHA_IHSC

Bill Gates & Party Tricks: Happy Belated World Immunization Week!

When I first clicked on this YouTube video link, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But once the video started playing, I quickly realized it’s a scripted (but entertaining) demonstration of vaccine cold chains featuring Hans Rosling with a cameo from Bill Gates. The topic of the video is how cold chains function and the challenges in getting vaccines through an uninterrupted cold chain to those who need them. Using juice, containers, and glasses, Rosling answers the question “What percent of 1 year old children receive basic vaccines?” In the spirit of World Immunization Week, which ended yesterday, take a few minutes to watch the video.

After watching, I did a little digging to find out more about Rosling and the Gapminder Foundation, which produced the video. Turns out this video is the first in a series of “Demographic Party Tricks” that are part of the Foundation’s Ignorance Project. The gist of it is they’re on a mission to cure ignorance when it comes to key global development trends and statistics.

I spent a significant amount of time on their website exploring their various data sets, labs, and interactive graphs. Some of my favorites are:

  • Africa is Not a Country (a personal pet peeve of mine)
  • The Wealth and Health of Nations
  • Stop Calling Them Developing Countries
  • The River of Myths (sound familiar?)

Click here to take a look around. You may learn a thing or two! And let us know which sections of the site you like most in the comments below.

A Request From the Students: Please Remain Firm on Your Commitment to Fight NTDs

On April 2, many of the world’s experts on Global Health met in Paris at the Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) event, and pledged to place more emphasis on the diseases that are often overlooked by those who determine policy and hold the purse strings. Billions of people—and the governments and NGOs serving them—suffer from the drastic impact of these diseases on virtually every aspect of medical care and daily life. Neglecting them is no longer an option. As medical students, we often read about the outcomes of these distant meetings in the same way we scan over the stock market closing prices (with $100,000 of education debt) or ask about the final score of the Superbowl (while studying); however, my relationship to this meeting was remarkably different, thanks to a moving experience I had at the Unite for Sight Global Health and Innovation Conference.

The Unite for Sight Global Health and Innovation Conference took place this past weekend, just two weeks after the discussion in Paris. Presenting my poster on soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) in the indigenous Panamanian population served by Floating Doctors , I expected a few students to passively glance at my tables as they walked past. Instead, I found myself surrounded by professionals with senior positions in well-known global health organizations.

This surprised me, as my research, which deals with the consequences of conditions seldom experienced here in the US, rarely generates great excitement. With Floating Doctors I found that even treated aqueducts cannot deliver clean water to villages when their cracked PVC pipes run through livestock pastures, and TOMS generous donations cannot prevent STH when school children carry their shoes through the fields to keep them clean. Additionally, the well-intentioned bi-annual school-based anthelmintic distributions are either not happening or are ineffective, because over 50% of children in Floating Doctors clinics continue to present with complaints of helminthiasis.

When asked for a solution, I sheepishly replied, “Well, it seems like an impossible problem.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth a senior research officer from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation smiled and firmly said, “No. It is not impossible. That is why we are here. We will help you find a way.” In that moment, the discussion in Paris became less of a distant news story. It brought hope and inspiration to not just me, but to Floating Doctors, a tiny powerhouse of an NGO, and most importantly, to the STH-burdened populations we serve.

My motivation for sharing this experience is to follow it with a sincere request: On behalf of all idealistic and motivated global health students and young professionals, I ask you to please maintain your enthusiasm for tackling these unglamorous and devastating NTDs beyond these first two weeks, and beyond the next few years. Help us turn the fight to reduce and ultimately eliminate NTDs into a challenging, motivating, gratifying, and feasible lifetime career that we can pass on to the students who follow us.

A Yale infectious disease physician made it very clear, as he showed me live hookworm larvae under a microscope in his lab, that the solution to the NTD problem cannot be achieved with plans, protocols, and medications alone. In order to create a truly sustainable fight, young scientists, physicians, and public health professionals must be supported and inspired to research these problems with fresh eyes and open minds.

To those who participated in motivating or making the decision to invest in well-informed steps toward combating the preventable diseases that devastate the health, economy, and educational productivity of people like those served by Floating Doctors, I extend a whole-hearted Thank You!

Hannah Elsevier, MD/MPH Candidate, APHA International Health Student Committee Co-Chair

Aid and Development: Power with a Capital P

The Guardian recently posted an interview with Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina. You may know his name from the popular satirical essay “How to Write About Africa” or his commentary on the new laws in Nigeria and Uganda targeting LGBTI groups, but if you’re unfamiliar, he’s an opinionated, outspoken, and often controversial figure (especially when it comes to development in Africa).

In the interview, Wainaina speaks about stereotypes in development and the failure to align aid with the reality of Africa. He talks about the imbalanced, unsustainable power relationships between the West, African governments, and civil society. He calls for a restructuring of these relationships, and says it must come from Africans. I’d like to hear more about his ideas on exactly what it takes for Africans to shift power in an effective way, but he didn’t go into details in this interview. Also, according to Wainaina, it’s within the political sphere that change can happen and because civil society has “become anti-politics,” it’s missing the mark

His blunt criticisms and his definition of the word community – someone utterly powerless upon which power is being imposed – made me laugh. If you work in development I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s some truth to everything he said, but as with most generalizations, they don’t apply to all aid, civil society organizations, or African governments. I can think of many counterexamples.

Click here to watch the video and share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

2014 Call for Award Nominations: Recognizing our finest in International Health through the IH Section Awards

Note: The deadline has been extended to May 12. Please send in your nominations!


Each year, the International Health (IH) Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) recognizes outstanding contributions of its members through its Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in International Health, its Mid-Career Award in International Health, and the Gordon-Wyon Award for Community-Oriented Public Health, Epidemiology and Practice. The Section is now seeking nominations for deserving candidates for these three awards, to be presented at its Awards Ceremony at the APHA Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA in November 2014.

The Lifetime Achievement Award in International Health was created by the IH Section to honor the visionaries and leaders in APHA who have shaped the direction of International Health.  The evaluation criteria for the Lifetime Achievement Award include: (1) Quality/creativity/innovativeness of the individual’s contributions to the field of International Health; (2) The individual’s contributions to the development of APHA or the IH Section; (3) Application of the individual’s work to service delivery (as opposed to primarily theoretical value); (3) The individual’s contributions as a leader/visionary/role model; (4) The volunteerism/sacrifice associated with the individual’s contributions; and (5) Membership in APHA (preferably with primary affiliation with the IH Section), a State affiliate, or a national public health association that is a member of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. No self-nomination is allowed.

Prior winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award in International Health include Dory Storms, Tom Hall, Samir Banoob, William Reinke, Michael Latham, William Foege, Clarence Pearson, Stanley Foster, Joe Wray, Carl Taylor, Milton Roemer, Warren and Gretchen Berggren, John Wyon, Derrick Jelliffe, Tim Baker, Cicely Williams, Bud Prince, Veronica Elliott, Moye Freymann, Jeanne Newman, Jack Bryant, Richard Morrow, Ray Martin, and Miriam Labbok.

The Mid-Career Award in International Health is intended to recognize outstanding young professionals in the IH Section. The evaluation criteria for the Mid-Career Award include: (1) The individual must have committed herself/himself to the promotion and development of primary health care in a cross-cultural setting over a period of 5-15 years [Primary health care is meant here to encompass a broad array of public health issues, including HIV/AIDS prevention and environmental health]; (2) The individual must have demonstrated creativity in expanding the concepts pertinent to the practice of public health with an international focus; and (3) Membership in APHA (preferably primary affiliation with the IH Section), a State affiliate, or a national public health association that is a member of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. No self-nomination is allowed.

Prior winners of the Mid-Career Award in International Health include Laura Altobelli, Matt Anderson, Padmini Murthy, Gopal Sankaran, Jean Capps, Tim Holtz, Kate Macintyre, Sarah Shannon, Adnan Hyder, Stephen Gloyd, Luis Tam, Marty Makinen, Colleen Conroy, Mary Ann Mercer, Irwin Shorr, Walter K. Patrick, Dory Storms, Clyde “Lanny” Smith and Mrs. Theresa Shaver.

The Gordon-Wyon Award for Community-Oriented Public Health, Epidemiology and Practice is intended to reward outstanding achievement in community-oriented public health epidemiology and practice. This award was established in 2006 by the IH Section. It is administered by the Community Based Primary Health Care Working Group. John Gordon and John Wyon were pioneers in this field, so encouraging and recognizing others in this field is one important way of honoring their memory. The evaluation criteria for this award include: (1) The candidate must have had a central role in an outstanding achievement in community-oriented public health and practice; (2) The candidate must have demonstrated creativity in expanding the concepts pertinent to the practice of community-oriented public health with an international focus; and (3) The candidate must have membership in APHA or one of its affiliates (either a State affiliate or a national public health association that is a member of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. No self-nomination is allowed.

Previous winners of the Gordon-Wyon Award for Community-Oriented Public Health, Epidemiology and Practice are Rajnikant Arole, Carl Taylor, Henry Perry, Bette Gebrian, Jaime Gofin, and Warren and Gretchen Berggren, Tom Davis, Jr., and Malcolm Bryant.

In addition, the Distinguished Section Service Award is intended to honor outstanding service to the IH Section. Award criteria are: (1) Dedication to the IH Section mission and goals as demonstrated by continuing exceptional contribution to its activities; (2) Serving on the section elective positions or chairing its committees with remarkable or unusual effort and achievements; (3) Distinguished achievement in the international health field with a remarkable career; (4) Excellence in leadership and strong ability for team work with peers in the IH Section and the APHA.  Current membership in APHA is essential.

Nomination Process

Award nominations should include a detailed letter explaining why the individual nominated should receive the award, addressing the criteria for the specific award and the curriculum vitae of the nominee. Only nominations with required documentation will be considered for the awards. Nominations should be submitted by email to Gopal Sankaran (gsankaran@wcupa.edu), Chair, Awards Committee, International Heath Section.

Deadline for Nominations

Please submit the required documents by Monday, May 12, 2014.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD) and the official theme for this year is “Equality for women is progress for all.”

The origin of International Women’s Day dates back to the early 1900’s and now every year on March 8, people around the world rally together to commemorate and support women. International Women’s Day is not only a time to celebrate achievements, but also a time to reflect on the progress made and call for increased changes. From women’s rights and gender equality to abuse and sex trafficking, various social, political, and economic issues concerning women are highlighted and become points of discussion (and even protest) around IWD.

The Millennium Development Goals call for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and during the IWD opening ceremony at the United Nations today, Hilary Clinton, known for being a champion of women, said “women and girls and the cause of gender equality must be at the heart” of the UN’s agenda to promote development around the world. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon echoed her sentiments, saying in his message, “This International Women’s Day, we are highlighting the importance of achieving equality for women and girls not simply because it is a matter of fairness and fundamental human rights, but because progress in so many other areas depends on it.”

This plays nicely into the ongoing debate on the post-2015 development agenda. We all know there are major issues around the access, quality, and availability of health services to women in developing countries, and that these issues are often further complicated by cultural and religious norms. I think it’s safe to say that although IWD is only one day a year, the discussion on women’s rights as a core component of global development will continue. It is essential.

Here’s a roundup of some IWD 2014 content in case you missed it:

“The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.” — Charles Malik

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Tell us in the comments below.

2014 Gates Foundation Annual Letter

As most of you probably know, last week the Gates Foundation released their Annual Letter addressing three myths that Bill and Melinda Gates believe are blocking progress for poor people all over the world. Previous letters focused on the Foundation’s annual activities, so it’s quite a change that this year’s letter cites examples and data from around the world to disprove the following:

Myth 1: Poor countries are doomed to stay poor
Myth 2: Foreign aid is a big waste
Myth 3: Saving lives leads to overpopulation

Overall the letter is a very optimistic one, painting a bright picture of the future for the world’s poor and sick. It includes a combination of videos, infographics, and a lot of quotables which I’m sure we’ll see in other places. If you haven’t had a chance to read through it yet, I encourage you to take some time to do so. It’s worth it.

In terms of global health and development, it’s easy for us to lose perspective on how much progress is actually being achieved and for that reason I can appreciate the optimism in the letter. However, I see the letter as more of a cautionary piece or call to action, warning people against believing all the “bad” development news in the media. I don’t think it will truly dispel any of these myths, but it’s done a good job of raising interesting questions, starting conversations, causing controversy, and spurring critical discussions around the three myths and their related topics. In fact, the letter has resulted in a lot of global health professionals and others sharing their opinions online so join the conversation by reading the letter, watching the series of short videos here, and posting your reactions and comments below.

Side note 1: For those who are interested, Bill Gates went on Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel last week to talk about the letter.

Side note 2: Bill Nye the Science Guy is featured in one of the videos that focuses specifically on global health and child mortality and two members of the cast of the MythBusters TV show are featured in another video

Faster Internet = Better Healthcare: Video Review

There are tons of examples of how technology is transforming global health, including this recent video from The World Bank.

The Pacific region contains many countries with populations spread across large distances and the Kingdom of Tonga is one of them. Containing 170 islands, Tonga has unique development challenges. According to the video, there are only about 55 doctors in Tonga serving a population of 100,000. Medical assistants and nurse practitioners serve the areas outside the main islands, thus access to doctors is limited. Also, Internet in Tonga is very expensive and provides limited bandwidth.

To address these two issues, The World Bank, along with its partners, constructed an 827 kilometer underwater fiber optic cable that connects Tonga to the Southern Cross Cable Network via Fiji and helps improve Internet services. So what impact does this have on healthcare? Increased bandwidth allows hospitals and health professionals to get what they need, improves information collection, leads to better diagnoses, and allows them to liaise with partners overseas to ensure best treatment for patients.

We all recognize that technology has a strong impact on many aspects of our lives (for better or worse). The benefits associated with the intersection of technology and healthcare is very interesting and becomes even more interesting when you examine the effects it has in rural versus urban areas. This video clearly highlights work done in rural areas where access is a huge problem. Watching it reminded me of an article I read in the New York Times last year about a failed MNCH project. The project failed because researchers took a model that was successful in rural areas and tried to replicate it in an urban setting.

That said, when it comes to global health, some people believe there are greater gains to be had in rural areas where successes are “easier” to achieve and measure. What is your opinion?

United Nations Year in Review: Video

On December 19, the United Nations (UN) posted this compilation video highlighting major events, crises, and successes around the world. The video details the UN’s work throughout 2013 to “negotiate peace, instill hope, and define a sustainable future for all.” The first half of the video focuses largely on peacekeeping efforts, but around minute 10 it becomes more global health-related. From that point on, the video covers topics such as poverty, hunger, sanitation, and the environment. I would like to see a similar 2013 recap video from the World Health Organization. In the event they create one, we will post it on this blog.

What are some major global health crises and milestones that could be included in a 2013 recap video? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

***

UPDATE: As promised, here is the 2013 year in review video from the World Health Organization. Some topics were crowdsourced using social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook.

One thing I see missing is Ethiopia reaching MDG 4. And more generally, updates and progress towards the health-related MDGs. Did you contribute to this video through Facebook or Twitter? What else do you think should have been included?

Systems Thinking in Global Health: Video Review

Systems Thinking for Capacity in Health (ST4C Health) recently released a video in an attempt to start a revolution in global health. Dr. Chad Swanson narrates the video and begins with a personal story about his mission to Mozambique 12 years ago to understand “how people suffer and die on a personal level.” From his experiences on the trip, he concluded:

  • Global health interventions need to take into account all the associated contextual factors and underlying causes in order to change health systems
  • The current structure of global health approaches is inadequate and requires a systems thinking approach to make a real, lasting difference

On their website, ST4C Health defines systems thinking as “a novel, transformational way of thinking about and approaching health […] based on the idea that when all stakeholders and their interactions are considered as a whole, we can better understand health problems than we can when only viewing each part in isolation. Such an approach means that we must consider economic, political, and social factors – factors that might seem unrelated to health. Also, since health challenges are complex, and solutions differ depending on time and place, we cannot impose a top-down plan of action and expect predictable, positive results all the time.”

I don’t believe systems thinking is a novel idea. Rather, I believe this idea is generally understood and accepted in the global health field, however it’s definitely challenging to turn it into action. It’s much easier to focus solely on one disease or population at time. In fact, that’s how funding is distributed.

With limitations on time, human resources, finances and more, how can we stay focused on the big picture and supplement our current siloed efforts? What do you think it will take to make this revolution a reality?

Communicating Through Animation: Video Reviews

The two videos below, one from the WHO and the other from USAID, use cartoon animations to convey their messages. While I think the use of animation in global health videos is an interesting tactic, I wonder if it’s a more or less effective form of communication when compared to videos featuring real people. I understand the need to find alternative, non-traditional ways to communicate and share messages, but, personally, I don’t find it as compelling to watch the story of a cartoon character, even when it’s based on a true story. Since global health work is about the people impacted and lives saved, I think it’s nice to see both the challenges and results as they appear in reality.

The first video highlights some of the different ways the WHO improves our health on a daily basis. The second video celebrates World AIDS Day (today, December 1) and 10 years of PEPFAR with the story of Gift, a 10-year old girl whose family was impacted by HIV. Watch these two short videos and leave a comment to let us know how you feel about the use of animation.

WHO: Bringing Health to Life
World AIDS Day 2013: Gift’s Last 10 Years 

MNCH Innovations: Video Review

This new video from UNICEF starts with the story of an Indian woman who safely delivered a healthy baby in a clinic, under medical supervision, thanks to a partnership between UNICEF and her local government. Prior to their intervention, the majority of women in her district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh were delivering babies at home because health facilities were few and far away, and there was no transportation available.

Over five years, UNICEF worked with the Madhya Pradesh government to make major changes, including:

  • Upgrading health centers
  • Providing new equipment
  • Hiring new nurses
  • Improving hospitals with a newborn care units
  • Funding an ambulance service
  • Creating a call center to coordinate ambulance trips

Now, five years after UNICEF began their work, the woman’s district reports the lowest maternal mortality rate in the entire state. Every year, half a million women use the ambulance service to ensure safer deliveries, and 50,000 newborns are saved in the newborn care units. UNICEF’s work has been so successful that the Madhya Pradesh government is scaling up and replicating it elsewhere in the state and other Indian states are also interested in implementing the programs.

One of the newborns in the video had a lung problem and was also underweight because his mother had not been eating properly. The narrator mentioned that many babies in the unit were underweight. While the video focused on the help the new care unit was able to provide to these newborns, my thoughts went elsewhere. UNICEF’s work has made a big difference, but the small fact about the prevalence of underweight newborns reinforced the fact that there are many larger underlying factors and social determinants at play that will continue to challenge progress and positive changes in developing countries. UNICEF’s innovative programs were definitely successful in tackling the delivery and newborn care issues in the region, but the video also (unintentionally) illustrated the general complexity of global health and development challenges.

“Don’t let complexity stop you. Be activists. Take on the big inequities. It will be one of the great experiences of your lives.”
- Bill Gates

Getting Ready for this year’s Annual Meeting!

Section members, get excited! The APHA Annual Meeting is less than a week away and promises to be filled with all of the learning experiences and networking opportunities that we so look forward to every year. Below are a few announcements and opportunities.


CBPHC Workshop:Effective CBPHC Tools for Effective Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

American Public Health Association International Health Section
Community-Based Primary Health Care (CBPHC) Working Group
15th Annual Pre-Conference CBPHC Workshop 2013

Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston MA
ROOM #107A
415 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210
Saturday, November 2, 2013 – 8:30 ‐ 5:00

Workshop Leader:  Dr. Elvira Beracochea
Link to check for updates:

https://apha.confex.com/apha/141am/webprogram/Session39065.html

Every year the CBPHC Working Group organizes a one‐way workshop. This year the workshop continues a process that started with the review of effective CBPHC programs conducted by Dr. Henry Perry and Dr. Paul Freeman and Working Group members.  Effective CBPHC practice is the cornerstone of effective public health programs and essential to deliver quality maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) services in the community where families live. Therefore, this year we have focused the Annual CBPHC Workshop on effective MNCH tools and approaches that help CBPHC managers and health providers deliver services efficiently and consistently to all. The proceedings of these workshops will lead to a toolkit of effective CBPHC tools for use and modification by all public health professionals in the international health field.

The organizers:
Dr. Elvira Beracochea, President and CEO of MIDEGO, Inc., and Dr. Laura Parajon of AMOS Health and Hope lead the working group and organize the workshop.  Dr Elvira is a physician and public health expert with over 25 years of international experience implementing PHC programs and consulting in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. She is the author of “Health for All NOW” (MIDEGO 2007), “Rights Based Approaches to Public Health” (Springer 2010) and “Aid Effectiveness in Global Health (Springer 2013). Dr. Elvira will moderate the workshop and discuss basic principles of effective Global Health Aid and Rights Based Approaches for improved CBPHC practice. Dr Laura and her husband the co‐founder of AMOS Health and Hope has 12 years of experience working in PHC using a community based participatory research approach. She lives and works in Nicaragua in PHC, and will be sharing her experience with community health
workers in the context of PHC in rural communities.

Kathleen McDonald, Program Manager Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard School of Public Health. Kathleen McDonald leads respectful maternity care programs for the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard School of Public Health. She joined the Initiative in March 2012 as the Project Manager for the Hansen Program on Maternal and Child Health and provides technical assistance on respectful maternity care to the Maternal Health Task Force. Previously, she managed an obstetric hemorrhage clinical trial in Zambia for the Safe Motherhood Program at the University of California San Francisco Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. With a strong background in management, training and operations in both the non‐profit and private sectors, Ms. McDonald has worked closely with frontline health workers, administrators, and local and national health officials in the US and sub‐Saharan Africa. She holds a MPH from Boston University, a Graduate Certificate in International Development from Johns Hopkins University SAIS, and a BA in Psychology from the University of Maryland.

CBPHC is now an area with increasing prospects for young professionals. This workshop will provide skills and context for this subset of participants. Dr Elvira will moderate the presentations of various experts about ways to succeed in your CBPHC career. The goal of the 2013 annual CBPHC workshop is to share Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) knowledge and effective practices to help current and future CBPHC practitioners advance in their practice and improve the effectiveness of their CBPHC programs.

The workshop draft agenda includes experienced international health experts and professionals from the MNCH field. Activities will allow the maximum networking and discussion between participants to discuss ways to use the tools and approaches presented can be applied for maximum impact. If you are interested in this working group or getting involved, please contact Dr Elvira at Elvira@midego.com

Experienced and young professionals are especially encouraged to attend. Those interested in international CBPHC are also invited to attend our business meeting on Sunday, November 3, 2013 from 7:00 am until 8:00 am at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. See here for updates: https://apha.confex.com/apha/141am/webprogram/Session39069.html.

To register, please contact: Sandy Hoar (e‐mail: hoar@gwu.edu)
The registration fee including morning coffee is $35 (students $25). To facilitate planning, please register ASAP and indicate if you will be joining us for dinner afterwards. For further information contact: Sandy Hoar, Laura Chanchien Parajon (email: lauraparajon@amoshealth.org) or Elvira Beracochea (email: elvira@midego.com)

Submission of Electronic version of MCH Tools, please contact: Lanice Williams (e‐mail: lanice.williams@gmail.com) Please email electronic links and names of various MCH tools and toolkits that you are using and have been valuable to your field of work. We will be using this information you submitted to create an inventory document which will be distributed to all workshop participants.

Sponsored by:
The CBPHC‐Working Group ‐ International Health Section – APHA
The Maternal Health Task Force ‐ Harvard School of Public Health


Booth Sign-Ups

1) International Health Section Booth in Exhibition Hall
For the International Health Section booth in the Exhibition Hall if you are an international health professional please sign up for your chosen hours at:
http://www.doodle.com/i9ns9twhacqzafx7

2) APHA International  Global Health Connections Welcome Booth in the Registration Hall
For the Global Health Connections Welcoming booth in the Registration hall sign up for your chosen hours at:
http://doodle.com/bk6xs4cixdssps8z (for experienced section members
http://doodle.com/ysuibme4ztpaucch (for new professionals)

Any questions please contact Enrique at: enrique.seoane@mcphs.edu

mHealth for Mothers: Video Review

mHealth, defined as the use of mobile technology to support healthcare, is arguably one of the hottest global health trends right now. With rapid advances in mobile technologies and applications, along with the continued growth of cellular networks, mHealth has the potential to address some of the biggest healthcare challenges in the world, including access and affordability. It’s becoming more and more integrated into healthcare systems as it can significantly cut costs and increase the reach of healthcare services in both middle- and low-income countries.

This video, released last month at the Social Good Summit during UN General Assembly Week in New York City, provides the following example of the kind of impact mHealth can have in developing countries:

  • Challenge – Most women around the world only have one prenatal visit with a healthcare worker. However, one billion women in developing countries have access to a mobile phone.
  • Solution – Use SMS and voice messaging to provide mothers with important information in their native language at each stage of pregnancy and throughout the first full year of the child’s life.

During my last trip to Nigeria I had my first personal experience with mHealth. Upon arrival, I purchased a basic Nokia bar phone and SIM card. While playing around with the phone, I stumbled upon the Nokia Life Tools app which is a standard, built-in feature on some models of Nokia bar phones. The app provides healthcare, entertainment, agricultural, and educational information. The healthcare section peaked my interest as it includes sections for MNCH advice, men’s health, women’s health, and chronic disease information. First, you enter basic details about yourself (sex, age, language, etc.), then you scroll through and subscribe to whichever topics you’re interested in. The MNCH advice section parallels the example in the video above. It delivers weekly developmental information during pregnancy via SMS and continues with child development tips for the first few years after pregnancy. The only costs associated with the app are standard text messaging fees.  

In addition to patient education, health workers and providers also use mHealth for data collection, disease surveillance and management, treatment support, direct care, and more. Developing countries are definitely embracing the movement and driving innovations in mHealth, making it an exciting field with the potential to transform healthcare all over the world.