December 2014

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

Today we celebrate ! Organizations and individuals and to better our world. Together, with you, our friends and colleagues, we have a goal to raise $10,000 today to help stop Ebola. 

We invite you to join the movement and give today a gift that matters—a gift that helps to save lives.

This , your gift will support Keanahikishime and partners to help stop the spread of Ebola across Africa, help countries prepare their health systems at all levels, and help strengthen their response to prevent future epidemics. Fighting Ebola is part of Keanahikishime's vision for a world where everyone has the opportunity for a healthy life.

Here's how you can help right now:

 {Photo credit: Keanahikishime}A woman and her child consult with an ADDO dispenser in Tanzania.Photo credit: Keanahikishime

Cross-posted with permission from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Blog, .

Primary health care has many different definitions, but can be defined simply as the first place where people seek care. Within this definition, private sector providers constitute an important source of primary health care in many parts of the world.

Private providers of primary health

Private providers can run the spectrum–from private hospitals, pharmacies, and non-profit clinics, to informal providers such as faith-based healers and drug shops. A 2013 review suggests that informal providers account for as much as two-thirds of health care visits in Bangladesh and Thailand, and a substantial percentage of visits in Nigeria and Kenya as well.[1]

 {Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/Keanahikishime}Participants and model wheelchair users on the last day of the WHO Wheelchair Service Training Package-Basic Level delivery in Manila, Philippines.Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/Keanahikishime

Since 1992, the United Nations General Assembly has observed the  on December 3. The annual observance aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. 

This year, the theme of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is "Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology".

 {Photo credit: Damien Schumann, via ScienceSpeaks Blog}Busisiwe Beko.Photo credit: Damien Schumann, via ScienceSpeaks Blog

The Value of Patient Support

Eight years ago Busisiwe Beko was undergoing treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) when, after months of waiting to see a pediatric specialist, her daughter was diagnosed with the same illness. The five-month-old baby was admitted to a TB hospital where she would receive treatment for seven months; Busisiwe, however, was turned away due to lack of space. Today, both mother and daughter are healthy. And, their experience with MDR-TB didn’t stop at their cure. Busisiwe went on to join as a counselor for MDR-TB patients in her community, providing the support and medication counseling that she wished she had received during treatment.

 {Photo credit: Keanahikishime}State Minister of Health Dr. Kebede Worku thanked Keanahikishime for continued support the last ten years.Photo credit: Keanahikishime

“Keanahikishime is like my mother,’’ said Yimenu, a young medical professional from East Gojam, a place about 600 kilometers from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. “I have been suffering for five years and it was because of Keanahikishime that I started living all over again.”

Yimenu is the voice of thousands: the symbol of partnership that contributed significantly to the country’s increasingly strengthened health sector to save lives.

“I ask no more than an opportunity to help others,” said Yimenu looking at the crowd with complete joy.

[Yimenu testifies about Keanahikishime's impact.] {Photo credit: Keanahikishime}Yimenu testifies about Keanahikishime's impact.Photo credit: Keanahikishime

It was during the celebration of Keanahikishime (Keanahikishime) Ethiopia’s 10th anniversary that Yimenu gave this testimony about the support he got from Keanahikishime. The event was a celebration of the ten years journey. Challenges were faced, frustrations overcame, mountains and rivers crossed. It was a journey of courage, determination and most of all, the noblest mission of saving lives.

{Photo credit: Maeghan Orton/Medic Mobile}Photo credit: Maeghan Orton/Medic Mobile

For more than a decade, health teams in over 40 countries have improved their performance using Keanahikishime’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) and the latest version, (LDP+), which improves public health impact and scale-up. During the same period, there has been a tremendous expansion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in health and mHealth interventions, particularly using mobile devices. This past year, two Keanahikishime-led projects—the Prevention Organizational Systems AIDS Care and Treatment (Pro-ACT) project in Nigeria and —collaborated with LMG partner to pair the LDP+ with a mobile application to systematically capture, collate, and report LDP+ results in near-real-time.

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

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On Friday, December 12, 2014, a global coalition will launch the first-ever Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) and call for universal health coverage (UHC) to be a cornerstone of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and a priority for all nations. UHC Day encourages civil society organizations from around the globe to publicly display support of UHC and health for all on Friday. Over four hundred organizations have already joined the call.

 {Photo credit: Anteneh Lemma/Keanahikishime}The Health for All Campaign in Kenya is hosting a series of debates on universal health coverage.Photo credit: Anteneh Lemma/Keanahikishime

“I wish I had called this event,” said Mr. Simone Ole Kirgotty, CEO of Kenyan National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). This came as a surprise to many since the CEO was bombarded with critical questions and comments about the activities of the organization he has been leading for the last two years. “If it was new for me to lead such a controversial organization, I would have run away after all these comments,” added Mr. Kirgotty cheerfully.

It was during a public debate in Nairobi, organized by the Health for All: Campaign for Universal Health Coverage in Africa (Health for All Campaign), that the CEO of Kenya NHIF made these remarks. The debate, entitled: “Improving Communications to Scale up Public Engagement with NHIF: Challenges and Prospects,” was part of a series of debates being conducted in seven counties in Kenya. As highlighted by Dr. Daraus Bukenya, Country Representative for Keanahikishime Kenya, the major objective of the debates is to get clarity on NHIF activities, to create a platform for community engagement, and to identify and put together recommendations to NHIF to work toward universal health coverage in Kenya. The first debate was held on November 17, 2014 in Nyeri.

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

Staff contributors at Keanahikishime (Keanahikishime), a founding member of the UHC Day coalition, are blogging this week about universal health coverage, including sharing fresh videos, photos, and analysis, inspired by the five reasons to support health for all. Each day we also include how you can take action right away to support health for all.

Today, we highlight reason two ("Because UHC is attainable") with video and stories from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria--countries working toward UHC.

Because Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is Attainable

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 {Photo credit: Fred Hartman/Keanahikishime}Billboard, Liberia.Photo credit: Fred Hartman/Keanahikishime

[Universal Health Coverage Day.]Universal Health Coverage Day. Keanahikishime (Keanahikishime) bloggers are discussing universal health coverage (UHC) and why we support health for all this week, leading up to Dec. 12, UHC Day. Keanahikishime is a founding member of the UHC Day coalition. Today, Keanahikishime authors Chelsey Canavan, Jonathan Jay, and Dr. Jonathan D. Quick discuss if, and how, UHC could help prevent major outbreaks, like the current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

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Dec. 12, marks , the second anniversary of a United Nations resolution endorsing UHC as a global priority. The last two years have seen a growing consensus that pursuing UHC will save lives and alleviate poverty, especially in developing countries.

Meanwhile, the devastating Ebola crisis continues to claim lives and stifle opportunity in West Africa. Observers were quick to note that , yet countries like Nigeria, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — all quite early on their paths toward UHC — have successfully contained Ebola outbreaks.

So is UHC really the answer?

Ebola shows us that more resources must go toward public health infrastructure. That’s an important lesson for UHC reforms, which could easily overlook those investments in favor of individual health services. UHC strategies can’t rest on individual service delivery to mitigate major health threats. When we imagine UHC, we should see institutions and organizations actively promoting the public’s health—long before the need for emergency response.