Family Planning

mPossible! Health Workers Can Get Training Anytime, Anywhere with Interactive Voice Response

This post originally appeared on the K4Health blog.

Advances in mobile health—or mHealth—have expanded the realm of possibility for remote education, diagnostic and treatment support, communication and training, disease tracking, monitoring, and data collection. Every day, mHealth grows to include more sophisticated applications for high-tech smartphones and tablets. But what about health workers—specifically those in rural areas who don’t have access to the latest technology?

To learn more about mLearning (or mobile learning) for health workers, IntraHealth International, through the CapacityPlus project, piloted an innovative program to provide refresher training to family planning service providers in Senegal using interactive voice response (IVR) technologies on basic mobile phones. Read more »

Better, Stronger, and Thankful: HIV Peer Counselor in the Dominican Republic Shares Impact of His Work

Alfredo Felix is a peer counselor with the Department of HIV at Jaime Mota Regional Hospital in Barahona, Dominican Republic. “I’ve always felt motivated to work in the community to inform people,” he says. The area shares a border with Haiti and has a large immigrant population at risk for HIV.

Peer counselors like Alfredo play an important role in countering the effects of stigma, which can make it hard for people to seek information about HIV and follow through with treatment. Alfredo tells a story about someone he helped: Read more »

Connected Health Workers Key to Improved Health Care

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

Pape Gaye, president and CEO of IntraHealth International, writes from Recife, Brazil, to friends in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in a letter published in Addis Fortune. Take a look:

While Addis AbaPape Gayeba gears itself up for the third International Conference on Family Planning, I find myself on the other side of the world, nearly 8400 kilometers away, in Recife, Brazil.

As reproductive health policy-makers, advocates, and practitioners are gathering at the African Union in Ethiopia, some of us, who would like to clone ourselves to be there with you—and feel like we are there in spirit—are gathered in Brazil for the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health. Read more »

Health Workers: Key to Family Planning and Reproductive Health

“To talk about sexual and reproductive health, and not to talk about human resources for health—then the equation is not complete,” says Patrick Mugirwa, a program officer with Partners in Population and Development (PPD) Africa Regional Office. “So for PPD to have meaningful advocacy for sexual and reproductive health, of necessity human resources for health must be one of the major components we must advocate for.”

A CapacityPlus associate partner, PPD is an intergovernmental alliance that promotes South-South cooperation toward attainment of the global population and reproductive health agenda for sustainable development. Read more »

On the Rocky Road to Universal Health Coverage

This post originally appeared on the Global Health Council blog.

Pape GayeIf you look at the regions of the world that have made the greatest progress in family planning—India and Bangladesh come to mind—you will see that all of their strategies have included strong community health workforces. That’s because the role of the health worker is crucial.

We in the field of global health know that we have unfinished business when it comes to family planning. Globally, the use of modern contraception rose sluggishly between 1990 and 2012, from 54% to 57% over 22 years. Today 800 women will die due to causes related to pregnancy or childbirth, partly because they do not yet have access to or freedom to use the family planning methods they want and need. The number of children under five who will die is much higher—29,000 every day, mostly due to preventable causes. Read more »

The Other 16 and Pregnant

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

Katelyn Bryant-ComstockCurrently, almost half of the world’s population is under the age of 25. That represents three billion adolescents who have their full lives ahead of them. A strong education and economic opportunities can help adolescents plan productive and fulfilling futures, but without access to reproductive health services, their plans could be interrupted by unintended pregnancy. Unfortunately, many adolescents currently live in places that restrict access to these services for young people.  

And in some cases, these adolescents are married. Some communities view early marriage as a protective factor for a young woman’s sexual health and safety; however, early marriage is a risk factor for many health and social issues. Often married to older men, these young women typically have little to no negotiating power in their relationships, resulting in unsafe sex and adolescent pregnancies. Read more »

Picturing Our Work: Harnessing mLearning for Training Health Workers

Devika ChawlaIn this age of rapidly emerging technologies, how can we improve the way we provide training to health workers?

This is the question CapacityPlus is trying to answer with our mLearning work in Senegal. Using feedback from previous eLearning projects—such as problems with Internet connectivity and computer access—the project started looking into mLearning options that use audio to deliver training through the most basic mobile phones. But there was no suitable option.

So CapacityPlus developed its own interactive voice response (IVR) mLearning platform that delivers training to health workers on their mobile phones, meaning that health workers can remain at their posts and continue providing care in their communities. Read more »

US Investments in Foreign Aid Provide a Healthy Return

This post was originally published on USAID's IMPACT blog.

What if you could take a fraction of a penny and use it to help build a health system? Believe it. It takes only a fraction of a single penny per American taxpayer dollar to train a global health workforce—a workforce that will reach millions through treatment, prevention, and counseling services.

Just ask midwife Teddy Tiberimbwaku, who had the opportunity to meet Uganda’s vice president Thursday.

Last year, Uganda’s Ministry of Health, operating with only one doctor and 13 nurses to serve every 10,000 people, was told by the Ministry of Public Service that not only could it not create any new positions, but also any unfilled positions—some 42 percent of them—would be lost. Read more »

Health Workers Can Help Stamp Out Poverty

This piece was originally published on InterAction’s blog on 10/17/12.

Corinne FarrellThey say wealthier is healthier, and there’s evidence to back that up.

While money alone can’t buy good health, the poor are significantly more likely to experience poor health. But like many of poverty’s symptoms, poor health can also cause poverty.

A severe illness can obliterate a family’s financial health, whether from the cost of treatment or a loss of livelihood. You may know someone who lost a job, a home, or financial security after receiving treatment for a devastating diagnosis. Read more »

Family Planning and Access to Health Workers

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

Maurice Middleberg

Amid the worldwide health worker shortage, some low-income countries are managing to show impressive levels of modern contraceptive use. How does access to skilled health workers affect family planning use, and what are some countries doing differently?

Fifty-seven countries have a critical shortage of health workers, and progress on the ground remains much slower than any of us would like to see—evidence from the Global Health Workforce Alliance suggests that only about half the national workforce plans are actually being implemented. Not one of these 57 health workforce “crisis” countries identified by the World Health Organization in 2006 has achieved the recommended minimum threshold of 2.3 doctors, nurses, and midwives per 1,000 people. Read more »

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