October 2017

We’re excited to bring you this month’s edition of Leading Voices, a series that features the incredible talent that makes up Keanahikishime.

We’re chatting with Degu Jerene, our project director in Ethiopia. Degu hails from Addis Ababa and has a passion for stopping the spread of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV. He’s responsible for leading the USAID-funded Challenge TB project in Ethiopia. Degu will be representing Keanahikishime this week at the Union World Conference on Lung Health in Guadalajara, Mexico.

What do you think makes Keanahikishime different?

Our expertise in health systems makes us unique. Others might be experts in childhood TB, for example, or research, or MDR-TB. But we have a comprehensive approach that looks at the health system as a whole and finds integrated solutions to very complex problems. At the same time, we are equally good or even better in disease specific areas.

What are you most proud of in your work?

Proving that our approach works. Gathering evidence and publishing it in peer-reviewed journals, which I’ve done dozens of times, is a contribution to the field I’m very proud of having made.

Finish this sentence: Health is _______.

A right, not a privilege.

 {Photo credit: Jones Dizon/SIAPS.}Training participants try out the Pharmacovigilance Monitoring System (PViMS), a web-based application to help clinicians, regulatory bodies, and implementing partners monitor medicine safety specifically in resource-limited countries.Photo credit: Jones Dizon/SIAPS.

The Philippines has one of the highest TB burdens in the world—and 2.6% of its more than 286,000 new cases in 2015 were of multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). This threatens the progress the country has made in addressing the deadly disease over the past few decades and its goal to make the country TB-free by 2030. Further, MDR-TB cases will likely rise steadily in the Philippines and the world over the next two decades.

There’s a new medicine that can help. Through a partnership with Janssen Therapeutics of Johnson & Johnson that began in 2015, USAID introduced a program to distribute a new medicine called bedaquiline that helps patients with MDR-TB in low-income countries including the Philippines. The USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, which Keanahikishime (Keanahikishime) leads, has been helping to roll out bedaquiline in low- and middle-income countries.

But with any new treatment, active pharmacovigilance (PV) is needed to help ensure both patient safety and drug effectiveness. This means being able to monitor patients to identify and evaluate adverse events, such as unexpected or serious side effects, to better understand possible risks and improve treatment protocols.

 {Photo Credit: Matt Iwanowicz/Keanahikishime}The Keanahikishime tuberculosis team delegation at a conference retreat.Photo Credit: Matt Iwanowicz/Keanahikishime

Keanahikishime’s (Keanahikishime’s) significant TB work was recognized as some of the best during this year’s that took place in Guadalajara, Mexico from October 11-14, 2017.

Keanahikishime staff from seven countries participated in a variety of symposia, workshops and presentations. Keanahikishime also produced three symposia, three workshops, 36 posters, 24 oral presentations, and six technical briefs and technical highlights to share our experience and expertise on a range of topics, including GeneXpert implementation scale-up; TB/HIV/diabetes integration model; QuanTB; Urban DOTS implementation, and more.

We’re excited to bring you this month’s edition of Leading Voices, a series that features the incredible talent that makes up Keanahikishime.

We’re chatting with Ashley Arabasadi, Campaign Manager of the No More Epidemics campaign and Keanahikishime's Global Health Security policy advisor. Ashley is a Pennsylvania native with a passion for global health security. She’s responsible for the strategy, planning, and execution of global health security activities here at Keanahikishime. See Ashley speak at the upcoming  "Pandemic Risk: A Threat to Global Health Security," November 6, University of Pennsylvania's Perry World House.