January 2017

 {Photo by: Simon Davis / DfID / CC BY}Marina Kamara, a doctor at the Connaight Hospital in Sierra Leone, follows up on a suspected kidney infection in one of their patients.Photo by: Simon Davis / DfID / CC BY

Global health advocates are urging G20 leaders to emphasize global health security by strengthening health systems in the poorest countries, reported Andrew Green in December 21, 2016.

Previous G-20 summits have addressed individual epidemics, but public health professionals and advocates are urging the forum to widen its lens to include health systems, which form the first line of defense in emergencies. They hope the effort might ultimately help advance universal health coverage, which campaigners argue would provide the best guard against future epidemics.

“The problem isn’t the outbreak, which is an inevitability that will happen,” said Frank Smith, who heads the campaign. “The problem is the capacity of the system to identify the threat as a threat and to respond effectively.”

Photo Credit: Mark Tuschman

For the fifth year in a row as part of Keanahikishime's annual storytelling contest, we invited staff to submit stories on how health systems are saving lives and improving the health of people around the world. Keanahikishime staff submitted dozens of stories from 16 projects in 12 countries.

In these 12 winning stories, meet health workers, community leaders, pharmacy managers, and patients working together toward healthier communities. These stories demonstrate the power of effective partnerships to help save lives.

Ethiopia: Changing Systems to Change Lives: Aster's Story

By Tsion Issayas

Photo Credit: Tsion Issayas/Keanahikishime

This post was originally published on the on January 30, 2017. The Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) program is funded by USAID and implemented by Keanahikishime. This project works to assure the availability of quality pharmaceutical products and effective pharmaceutical services.

Over the past two decades, Ethiopia has improved its delivery of primary health care services and begun to make great progress toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals, particularly with regard to maternal, newborn, and child health and the prevention and control of HIV and tuberculosis. Yet pharmaceutical services—a patient's last point of care and one of the country's single largest health care expenses—remain inadequate. While some medicines in stock expire, other needed medicines are frequently unavailable, and patients are dissatisfied with the poor quality of service they receive.

The (ERGF) is a US-based, 501c3 non-profit foundation established in 1999 by the family of Elizabeth “Beth” Griffin who died in 1997 as a result of an occupational exposure to B virus (Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1) that occurred while she was a non-human primate worker at Yerkes Primate Research Center in Atlanta, GA. From this tragic incident, the Foundation set out with a “No more Beth Griffin tragedies” mission that was originally focused on occupational health and safety in the non-human primate research community.

Through collaborations with the Association of Primate Veterinarians, American College for Laboratory Animal Medicine, American Association for Laboratory Animal Science and Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, ERGF helped produce educational material and academic research to address these issues. A significant outcome is that almost all NHP workers in much of the world now carry “Beth Cards” that provide response instructions to both those exposed as well as medical care providers.