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Nutri-Salud Supports the Revitalization of Guatemala's National Commission to Promote Breastfeeding
by Elena Hurtado, Senior Technical Advisor, and Jessica Ziegler, Knowledge Management Specialist
August 7, 2014

In pursuit of their commitment to reduce chronic malnutrition in children under five, the Guatemalan Ministry of Health turned to breastfeeding. The Nutri-Salud project recently made recommendations on Guatemala's strategic plan to revive the National Commission for the Promotion of Breastfeeding (CONAPLAM). When implemented, CONAPLAM will provide a stable platform to ensure that all Guatemalan babies receive the very best start in their first 1000 days of life.

A new mother in the Highlands of Guatemala nurses her baby.
A new mother in the Highlands of Guatemala nurses her baby.
A Personal Testimony: The Brand Is Mother's Milk
by Gabriela Salazar, Nutritionist, Nutri-Salud
August 4, 2014

What brand of milk is best for our children?

Gabriela Salazar, a nutritionist working on the Nutri-Salud project in Quiché, Guatemala, shares her experience breastfeeding her own daughter, who is now nine months old. Gabriela is committed to giving her daughter, and all the mothers and babies in Quiché, the very best start during the critical 1000 Days window of opportunity for improved health.


Gabriela Salazar of the Nutri-Salud project nurses her daughter, Camila
Gabriela Salazar of the Nutri-Salud project nurses her daughter, Camila
Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week in El Quiché, Guatemala: Cultural and Gender Perspectives
by Elena Hurtado, Senior Technical Advisor
August 1, 2014

The Health Area of El Quiché, with support from the Nutri-Salud project, is celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with a one-day conference for health workers.

Breastfeeding and complementary feeding are the conference’s main topics, but issues of gender and Mayan culture will be infused throughout the discussions: breastfeeding as a beneficial Mayan practice, as an equalizer that gives every child the best start in life, and as the right of every woman.

Mother breastfeeds her baby, the Highlands, Guatemala. Photo courtesy of USAID Nutri-Salud Project
Mother breastfeeds her baby, the Highlands, Guatemala. Photo courtesy of USAID Nutri-Salud Project
Everyday Knowledge Management
by Lani Marquez
July 30, 2014

On USAID's Learning Lab: What use is knowledge if it stays inside someone's head? At the Food Security and Nutrition Knowledge Sharing Meeting held in DC early this month, URC's Lani Marquez and CARE's Alyssa Lowe challenged the assembled group to examine how knowledge is managed and shared.

A Streamlined System for Mother and Baby Care HIV Care Management
by USAID/SUSTAIN project staff
July 23, 2014

"Because my baby and I are treated at different clinics within the same hospital, I always receive separate appointments. Each time, when I arrive at the hospital, I have to wait a long time to get the medicine. One day, I waited for eight hours."

-- Evaline, a client at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital ART Clinic, Eastern Uganda

HIV-positive mothers in Uganda often face difficult decisions concerning HIV treatment for themselves and their infants: A disconnect between clinics can cause long waits and even force a mother to choose between her own treatment and her child's.

Could something as simple as synchronizing appointments for both mother and baby help achieve the goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015?

The USAID Strengthening Uganda's Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally project is supporting the establishment and functioning of mother-baby care points in hospitals to help improve retention of mother-baby pairs and the provision of HIV services.

 

 

 

Evaline, 21, a client at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital ART Clinic, Eastern Uganda,
Evaline, 21, a client at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital ART Clinic, Eastern Uganda,
Looking To a Bright Future in Rwanda
by Sabina Behague, Communications Specialist
July 11, 2014

Twenty years after the most horrific genocide in living memory, the people of Rwanda have risen above the devastation and made vast social, political and economic improvements in their lives. URC is proud to have made some small contribution to its remarkable recovery.

PEPFAR-funded Project Helps Swaziland Labs Earn Their Stars
by By Manith Hang, Project Coordinator, and Christina Zola, Communications Specialist
June 30, 2014

Five Swaziland laboratories have been awarded stars of accreditation by the African Society for Laboratory Medicine. This is good news for URC's Laboratory Support Project, which has been working since 2009 to strengthen lab quality assurance and management systems while expanding HIV/AIDS and TB diagnostic services at all levels of the Swaziland health system.

Swazi Observer, June 14, 2014 Lab Accreditation
Swazi Observer, June 14, 2014 Lab Accreditation
URC VP Dr. Refiloe Matji Featured in "USA Today" Special Issue
by Rebecca Oser, Director of Communications
June 27, 2014

URC Vice President Dr. Refiloe Matji is featured in the June 27th issue of the USA Today newspaper, in an interview entitled, "A Blueprint for Defeating Tuberculosis".

Global Health Special Issue Cover Featuring Actor Orlando Bloom
Global Health Special Issue Cover Featuring Actor Orlando Bloom
Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell: Listening, Learning and Adapting to Drive QI in Kenya
by Sabina Behague, Communications Specialist
June 25, 2014

Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell hit the ground running when she joined the USAID ASSIST Project in Kenya as Chief of Party (COP) in August 2013. The project had been underway for several months, and while joining a project mid-stream – especially in a leadership role – is often difficult, she says she was welcomed by the USAID ASSIST Kenya team with “not only open arms but also an open mind.”


Increasing Access to Healthcare Services in the Karamoja Sub-region, Uganda
June 24, 2014

This brief provides an overview of USAID/SUSTAIN’s work in Karamoja in HIV prevention, care and treatment, laboratory services and human resources for health. Karamoja, in northeastern Uganda, is considered by many a “hard to reach” and “hard to live in” sub-region. The HIV prevalence rate in Karamoja has risen in the last decade from 3.5 percent to 5.3 percent. In 2010, the USAID/SUSTAIN project, working closely with the Ministry of Health, started implementing interventions to improve public healthcare systems to provide quality HIV prevention, care and treatment services in seven districts of the sub-region.

A client accesses HIV testing at Moroto Regional Referral Hospital
A client accesses HIV testing at Moroto Regional Referral Hospital
Translating Research into Action (TRAction) Project Leads Research to Provide Care to Hard-to-Reach Children
by Tiffany Clark, Research Analyst and Sabina Behague, Communications Specialist
June 18, 2014

Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) is a strategy that extends the reach of health care services for childhood illnesses beyond health facilities to provide services to children in isolated areas.  URC's TRAction Project is active in iCCM research, outreach and advocacy.

URC Joins USAID’s Campaign to End Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths
by Christina Zola and Sabina Behague, Communications Specialists
June 17, 2014

URC is a proud member of the Advisory Group for USAID’s Acting on the Call: Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths initiative, and of the host committee supporting the 5th Birthday and Beyond campaign.

Sharing What Works: International Collaboration Helps Belize Reduce Its Maternal Mortality Rate by 62%
by Christina Zola, Communications Specialist
June 13, 2014

In Belize, the country’s maternal mortality rate fell from 88 in 100,000 live births in 2004–2008 to 33 in 2009–2013. The Ministry of Health [MOH] attributes the drop to the quality improvement technical assistance that USAID’s Health Care Improvement (HCI) project provided.

How has the MOH made such great strides in reducing maternal mortality? Their story is a model of innovation and economy, knowledge sharing and best practices, with great implications for development projects all over the world.

The QI Team from Stann Creek District prepares their Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles.
The QI Team from Stann Creek District prepares their Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles.
Success Story: URC Project Training Saves a Mother’s Life
by Kevin Embrey, Senior Program Officer, Bárbara Yurrita, Communication and Knowledge Management Consultant, and Christina Zola, Communications Specialist
June 13, 2014

Nutri-Salud: Community Nutrition and Health Care Project, in coordination with the Guatemalan Ministry of Health and a local NGO, provided training in the active management of the third stage of labor to professional and auxiliary nurses. That timely training helped Nurse Pedro to save a mother's life.

Nurse Pedro saved this woman’s life using AMTSL techniques learned through Nutri-Salud.
Nurse Pedro saved this woman’s life using AMTSL techniques learned through Nutri-Salud.
Kangaroo Mother Care: A Low-Tech, High Impact Strategy for Saving Babies’ Lives
by Sabina Behague, Communications Specialist
June 9, 2014

URC’s USAID ASSIST project recently hosted a webinar entitled, “Perspectives on the expansion of the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) method in Latin America: the past, present, and future,” to present and discuss the expansion of the lifesaving method of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC). KMC, in which a parent holds their newborn in contact with their own skin, is helping thousands of premature babies survive and thrive all over Latin America. To see and hear the webinar in its entirety (in Spanish), please click here.

Kangaroo care is the practice of holding the newborn skin-to-skin with the parent for as many hours as possible every day.  This helps regulate body temperature and provides emotional comfort.
Kangaroo care is the practice of holding the newborn skin-to-skin with the parent for as many hours as possible every day. This helps regulate body temperature and provides emotional comfort.
Successful Kick-offs Held for Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking
by Sabina Behague, Communications Specialist
June 5, 2014

Every two years URC manages the US Department of Health and Human Service’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Town Hall Meeting events to help educate communities about underage drinking and mobilize them around its prevention. The national launch of Town Hall Meetings and the kick-off meeting for Massachusetts' Town Hall Meetings were held in April.

Clean Air and Cooking: Making the Connection in India and Uganda
by Sabina Behague, Communications Specialist
June 4, 2014

Household air pollution is estimated to kill 3.9 million people annually, making exposure to it one of the top three risk factors for death and illness worldwide. One way to address the problem is to promote the purchase and correct use of lower-emission cookstoves in developing countries.

Improved cookstove in India
Improved cookstove in India
How Much Would You Pay to Stop the Pain?
by Christina Zola and Sabina Behague, Communications Specialists
June 4, 2014

The International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) invited Dr. Edward Broughton, Director of Research and Evaluation for the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems and Health Care Improvement projects at URC, to present the basics of how to conduct a cost-benefit analysis and understand the data. The resulting webinar took place on May 21 and was well attended by participants all over the world.

Better Living in the Western Highlands of Guatemala
May 30, 2014

Nutri-Salud’s “Programa de la Rueda de Prácticas para Virir Mejor,” or Wheel of Practices for Better Living Program, was adopted April 22 by the Guatemalan Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance as part of its national strategy.

The Guatemalan Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance announced the adoption of Nutri-Salud’s Wheel of Practices for Better Living Program in mid-May.
The Guatemalan Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance announced the adoption of Nutri-Salud’s Wheel of Practices for Better Living Program in mid-May.
URC Expert Contributes to USAID FRONTLINES with Article on Reducing the Risks of Pregnancy and Childbirth in Cambodia
May 30, 2014

USAID FRONTLINES has published this compelling article on the reduction of Cambodian maternal deaths by URC's Chief of Party Christophe Grundmann.

Request for Concept Papers for Small Grants to Support the Tibu Homa Project (THP)
May 16, 2014

Request for Concept Papers for Small Grants to Support the Tibu Homa Project (THP) in improving the Diagnosis and Management of Severe Febrile Illness in Lake Zone

The THP is USAID-funded project (2011-2016) managed and implemented by University Research CO., LLC working to contribute to the reduction of morbidity and mortality in children under-five years of age in the Lake Zone of Tanzania. The THP has designed Small Grants Program for the purpose of supporting Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) working to mobilize and support health facilities to improve case management due to febrile illness in children under-fives year of age including orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). The project covers six regions of the Lake Zone (Mwanza, Geita, Kagera, Shinyanga, Simiyu and Mara).

Message from a Senior Midwife for International Day of the Midwife
by Annie Clark,Senior QI Advisor MNCH and Evelyn Kamgang, Improveement Associate
May 5, 2014

Words of inspiration and wisdom from URC's own Annie Clark, whose career in midwifery spans forty years: "The value and versatility of midwives cannot be overstated. . . . I am heartened by the fact that after many years of too little progress in reducing global maternal mortality, the estimated number of maternal deaths has finally fallen from 500,000 annually to 290,000. I hope that, with renewed commitment and effort, the number will further be halved in the next 10 years."

Please read her story.

Annie Clark, Senior QI Advisor MNCH
Annie Clark, Senior QI Advisor MNCH
Webinar Wednesday, May 7, 2014: Behavior change approaches to enable uptake and use of clean stoves and fuels: Lessons from the field on what works, what doesn't, and what's next?
May 1, 2014

Webinar Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Behavior change approaches to enable uptake and use of clean stoves and fuels: Lessons from the field on what works, what doesn't, and what's next?

Speakers:

Marc Jeuland, Assistant Professor, Duke University

Theresa Beltramo, Applied Micro-Economist, Impact Carbon

Allen Namagembe, Epidemiologist/Biostatistician, PATH

Ugandan woman performing cooking demonstration, courtesy of Impact Carbon
Ugandan woman performing cooking demonstration, courtesy of Impact Carbon
USAID Selects URC to Lead New Social Health Protection Project in Cambodia
by Elizabeth Hendrickson, URC Program Officer
April 18, 2014

Cambodia has made significant progress on a range of health indicators over the past decade and has demonstrated a strong commitment to pro-poor health policies, most notably with the development and expansion of health equity funds. The Social Health Protection Project, which builds on the work of the recently-ended Better Health Services project, aims to support the Royal Government of Cambodia’s goal of achieving universal health coverage by expanding health equity funds and other social health protection mechanisms throughout the country.

Miean Keng and her grandchildren, ready for school. Photo courtesy of URC Co., LLC
Miean Keng and her grandchildren, ready for school. Photo courtesy of URC Co., LLC
Webinar Tuesday, April 22, 2014: Perspectivas para la expansión del Método Canguro en América Latina: de dónde venimos, en dónde estamos y a dónde vamos
by Elizabeth Silva, Improvement Specialist for Gender and Knowledge Management
April 18, 2014

Spanish-language webinar: Perspectives on the expansion of the Kangeroo Mother Care (KMC) method in Latin America: the past, present, and future.

Presenter: Dr. Nathalie Charpak, founder, researcher, and director of  the Kangaroo Foundation in Bogota, Columbia.

Moderator: Dr. Jorge Hermida, medical health expert and Latin American regional director of the USAID ASSIST Project/URC

EONC kangaroo mother care in Cotopaxi
EONC kangaroo mother care in Cotopaxi
Request for Proposals: Solicitation Number FY14-RFP03-6012
April 11, 2014

The SSQH-Nord Project anticipates issuing a fixed-price subcontract to facilitate the sustainable delivery of health services by the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) at the primary care and community level via the verification and payment of contracted service providers and operational costs of the Departmental Health Directorates (DDS) and the Zone Ciblée (ZC).

USAID FRONTLINES Highlights Social Health Protection Project's Work to Alleviate Poverty with Health Insurance
by URC Communications Team
April 9, 2014

USAID's FRONTLINES magazine featured an article by Tapley Jordanwood, URC's Chief of Party in Cambodia for the USAID Social Health Protection Project. In "Lifting Cambodia’s Poorest Out of Poverty with Health Insurance," Mr. Jordanwood introduces families whose participation in the Health Equity Fund insurance program has saved money--and lives.

Soy Neart with her three daughters. Photo courtesy Tapley Jordanwood, Chief of Party, USAID Social Health Protection Project.
Soy Neart with her three daughters. Photo courtesy Tapley Jordanwood, Chief of Party, USAID Social Health Protection Project.
URC to Lead Quality Health Services Project in Cambodia, Continue Improving Systems for Maternal and Newborn Health
by Christina Zola, Communications Specialist
March 25, 2014

Through the USAID Quality Health Services project, URC will build on more than a decade of work in Cambodia to strengthen reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition care and systems. The URC-led project team will draw on and scale up successful initiatives started under USAID Cambodia’s recently ended Better Health Services (BHS) project, which was also managed by URC. In addition, the team will apply the knowledge and systems built during BHS to create new capacity-building activities in areas where critical gaps remain.

A midwife provides counseling for a pregnant woman and writes notes in her Mother and Child Book.
A midwife provides counseling for a pregnant woman and writes notes in her Mother and Child Book.
URC Programs Recognize World TB Day 2014
by URC Staff
March 24, 2014

URC programs participated in World TB Day, March 24, 2014, to raise awareness of TB. URC program activities spanned the weeks leading up to World TB Day and, in some cases, extended to the end of the month. The following is a summary of URC’s participation in TB awareness-raising events, with links to additional information.

Pot Songs in Bangladesh, TB CARE II, photo by sub-grantee HEED in January 2014
Pot Songs in Bangladesh, TB CARE II, photo by sub-grantee HEED in January 2014
A New Path Forward for Haiti’s Vulnerable Children: Partners Unite in Effort to Help Haiti’s Children in Need
by By Daniel Joseph, Orphans and Vulnerable Children Quality Improvement Advisor, and Christina Zola, Communications Specialist
March 14, 2014

Representatives from Haitian Ministries and national and international partner organizations convened recently in Port-au-Prince to sign a significant memorandum of understanding that will foster cooperation in their efforts to improve the conditions of children’s lives in Haiti. URC urged the assembled organizations to participate in this open initiative, led by IBESR.

Mrs. Arielle Villedrouin, General Director of IBESR and Daniel Joseph,  QI Advisor/ASISST, URC-Haiti. Photo courtesy of IBESR
Mrs. Arielle Villedrouin, General Director of IBESR and Daniel Joseph, QI Advisor/ASISST, URC-Haiti. Photo courtesy of IBESR
International Women's Day 2014: Equality for Women Is Progress for All
by Christina Zola, communications specialist
March 7, 2014

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women’s achievements and advocate for equality in health, home and career, with dignity and respect.  URC is proud to highlight two of its key programs that ensure that women can access health services that are both cost-effective and patient centered: TRAction and ASSIST

Portrait of a young woman of Ghana by Arne Hoel, The World Bank
Portrait of a young woman of Ghana by Arne Hoel, The World Bank
The Value of Midwives: CHS Program Selected by Ecuadorean Government for National Scale-up
by Yvette Castro-Green, Program Development Consultant and Rebecca Oser, Director of Communications
March 4, 2014

Maternal and infant mortality is a serious problem in Ecuador. In 2011 alone, 241 women died from pregnancy complications and 3,046 children died before their first birthday, according to figures from Ecuador’s National Institute of Statistics and Census, The Center for Human Services' Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care Network in Cotopaxi trains traditional birth attendants and skilled providers in home- and facility-based care immediately following childbirth.

Photo courtesy of El País
Photo courtesy of El País
Request for Proposals: Solicitation Number FY14-RFP02-6012
February 28, 2014

The SSQH-Nord Project anticipates issuing a fixed-price subcontract to support the development, introduction and management of mobile health (mHealth) and technology solutions designed to improve management of community health worker performance, use of data for quality improvement, patient referrals, community mobilization, and commodity tracking.

URC Affiliate Launches New English Literacy Instruction Program in Pennsylvania
February 14, 2014

Building on its long-standing history of offering English literacy instruction, URC's non-profit affiliate, the Center for Human Services (CHS), has launched a new fee-based English-as-a-second-language (ESL) program in Pennsylvania. The program will offer customized ESL instruction to companies wanting to give their employees an opportunity to improve their English in closed groups on-site. All aspects of the program, including content, timing, group size and location, will be tailor-made to meet the company’s requirements.

Students complete assignments in an ESL class at CHS’s Bridgeton, NJ, office. CHS has provided English literacy instruction to communities in need for over 30 years. Photo by Brian Donnelly.
Students complete assignments in an ESL class at CHS’s Bridgeton, NJ, office. CHS has provided English literacy instruction to communities in need for over 30 years. Photo by Brian Donnelly.
Nutri-Salud Contributes Article to USAID "Learning in Action" Series
February 11, 2014

The Nutri-Salud: Community Nutrition and Health project recently contributed an article to USAID Learning Lab’s “Learning in Action” series, which intends to paint a more detailed picture of what learning looks like in practice. Following a previous article written by the USAID Mission in Guatemala, the Nutri-Salud article offers insights from the implementing partner perspective. In an engaging question-and-answer format, Nutri-Salud Chief of Party Elena Hurtado discusses how the project has embedded collaboration and learning within its implementation as it seeks to expand coverage of quality, integrated primary health care services and engage communities and local government in improved health and nutrition.

Ministry of Health and service delivery NGO staff review APRECIE concepts as they prepare for a round of data collection. Photo by Nutri-Salud project staff.
Ministry of Health and service delivery NGO staff review APRECIE concepts as they prepare for a round of data collection. Photo by Nutri-Salud project staff.
URC to Provide Research Advisory Services to Australian Aid Program
February 5, 2014

URC has entered into an agreement with Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to provide research advisory services to DFAT and other Australian Government organizations. With this agreement, URC joins a panel of other organizations and individuals that provide services to the Australian Aid Program.

URC to Lead USAID TRANSFORM IQC
by Christina Zola, Communications Specialist
February 3, 2014

USAID has awarded the Translating Effective Practices from Research, Marketing and Design (TRANSFORM) indefinite quantity contract (IQC) to URC. The TRANSFORM IQC will positively impact USAID health programs, bringing technical advances to the field of health communication and behavior change to Missions around the world.

HealthPRO community play, Tarlac Province, Philippines. Photo by  Igor Dashevskiy
HealthPRO community play, Tarlac Province, Philippines. Photo by Igor Dashevskiy
URC Completes Health Systems Strengthening Project in Nigerian States
by Beth Goodrich, URC Senior Editor; Marni Laverentz, Senior Technical Advisor; and Jessica Ziegler, Knowledge Management Specialist
January 27, 2014

Nigeria’s weak health systems, inadequate health care infrastructure and limited outreach impede efforts to care for the more than 3 million Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS and to prevent more infections. In partial response, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked URC to provide technical assistance to support health ministry efforts in two states: Enugu, starting in 2008, and Ebonyi, starting in 2011. Combined, these states have seven districts, of which five were targeted, covering 55 public and private health facilities. The initiative sought to expand access to HIV prevention, care and treatment services and to improve those services—as well as services for TB—in the targeted facilities. The five-year HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Initiative (HACCI) project closed last year, and its activities and results are summarized here.

Community volunteers join in song at the close of their monthly meeting. Photo by URC Nigeria staff.
Community volunteers join in song at the close of their monthly meeting. Photo by URC Nigeria staff.
USAID Selects URC to Manage Global Early Grade Reading Project
January 6, 2014

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has selected URC to manage a global early grade reading project to support Goal One of USAID’s Education Strategy 2011–2015: improving the reading skills of 100 million primary school children by 2015. The new five-year, $10 million project will support the development of a Primary Grade Reading Community of Practice, the implementation of a research agenda and the piloting of innovations to improve and promote the effectiveness and sustainability of early grade reading interventions at scale.

In Mali, a boy in primary school learns to read. © Global Partnership on Education/Michelle Mesen.
In Mali, a boy in primary school learns to read. © Global Partnership on Education/Michelle Mesen.
URC to Play Important Role in USAID’s Resilience and Economic Growth Project
December 18, 2013

URC will play an important role in a new project to increase resilience and economic growth in the Sahel, the semi-arid region of western and north-central Africa extending from Senegal eastward to the Sudan. The five-year project, which is funded by USAID and led by NCBA CLUSA International, aims to increase the resilience of chronically vulnerable people, households, communities, and systems in targeted agricultural areas in Niger and Burkina Faso. Resilience will be achieved through 1) increased and sustainable well-being, 2) strengthened institutions and governance, and 3) improved health and nutrition. URC will manage the project’s health and nutrition component.

Having been trained and supported through a URC project, a nurse feeds a malnourished child in a Nigerien clinic. Photo by URC Niger staff.
Having been trained and supported through a URC project, a nurse feeds a malnourished child in a Nigerien clinic. Photo by URC Niger staff.
ASSIST Relays Project Impact to Tanzania’s National Quality Improvement Forum
by Delphina Ntangeki, Knowledge Management and Communication Advisor, ASSIST Tanzania
December 11, 2013

Dr. M. Rashad Massoud, USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project Director and URC Senior Vice President for the Quality & Performance Institute, gave the keynote at the 3rd National Quality Improvement (QI) Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The forum welcomed over 300 participants from within and outside Tanzania to share knowledge and best practices as a way of harvesting improvement innovations and experiences from different countries. Highlighting the work of the USAID ASSIST Project, Dr. Massoud’s address focused on “Quality Improvement in Health Service Management.” In addition to Dr. Massoud’s presentations, several URC staff from the ASSIST and Tibu Homa (febrile illness) projects made the presentations.

Dr. M. Rashad Massoud gives a keynote address at the 3rd National Quality Improvement Forum in Tanzania, in November 2013. Photo by Delphina Ntangeki.
Dr. M. Rashad Massoud gives a keynote address at the 3rd National Quality Improvement Forum in Tanzania, in November 2013. Photo by Delphina Ntangeki.
USAID ASSIST Project and Partners Lead Session on Health Worker Training at Human Resources for Health Conference
December 5, 2013

Dr. Tana Wuliji, senior quality improvement advisor on the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project, joined key partners in presenting a special session on health worker training at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Recife, Brazil, in November. In partnership with the International Training and Education Centre for Health (I-TECH), Jhpiego, USAID Capacity Plus, and the CDC-supported African Regulatory Collaborative, the ASSIST team addressed health worker in-service training (IST), efficiency, and sustainability by examining and harvesting good practices and lessons learned. IST is on-the-job instruction designed to strengthen health worker competence and performance.

Dr. Tana Wuliji discusses the launch of the health worker in-service training improvement framework at the Human Resources for Health Conference. Photo by Julia Bluestone, Jhpiego.
Dr. Tana Wuliji discusses the launch of the health worker in-service training improvement framework at the Human Resources for Health Conference. Photo by Julia Bluestone, Jhpiego.
World AIDS Day Spotlight: Supporting Uganda’s Efforts to Combat HIV/AIDS through Male Circumcision
by USAID SUSTAIN and ASSIST project staff and URC Communications staff
December 1, 2013

December 1 is World AIDS Day, providing an opportunity for people and organizations worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. URC has been supporting many Governments’ efforts to combat the epidemic for over 30 years. Most recently, through the USAID Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) and USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) projects, we have been working in Uganda to expand coverage and uptake of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), also known as safe male circumcision (SMC).

Surgeons perform a VMMC procedure at a USAID SUSTAIN-supported hospital in Uganda. Photo by Julian Natukunda, URC.
Surgeons perform a VMMC procedure at a USAID SUSTAIN-supported hospital in Uganda. Photo by Julian Natukunda, URC.
SUSTAIN Joins Uganda’s First Lady and Ministry of Health to Eliminate Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV
by SUSTAIN Project Staff and URC Communications Staff
November 27, 2013

URC’s Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), joined the Office of the First Lady, the Ministry of Health (MOH), and other partners to campaign for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (EMTCT). EMTCT is also known as prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, or PMTCT. The campaign events, organized under the theme Stand Out, Participate, Protect, and Have an HIV-Free Baby, were held in Uganda’s Northern, Eastern, and Karamoja regions in June, August, and September 2013, respectively. The SUSTAIN project supports five healthcare facilities in the three regions to offer EMTCT services.

The Honorable Janet Museveni, First Lady of Uganda (right), listens to Eunice (Lira Hospital EMTCT nurse) explain the EMTCT poster at the SUSTAIN-Lira Hospital stall. Photo by Julian Natukunda, URC.
The Honorable Janet Museveni, First Lady of Uganda (right), listens to Eunice (Lira Hospital EMTCT nurse) explain the EMTCT poster at the SUSTAIN-Lira Hospital stall. Photo by Julian Natukunda, URC.
Underage Drinking Prevention Project to Manage SAMHSA’s 2014 Town Hall Meetings Initiative
by Barbara Kosogof, Deputy Director, Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives and Niambi Wilder, URC Communications Specialist
November 27, 2013

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will sponsor a fifth round of Town Hall Meetings next year to prevent underage drinking. URC will plan, implement, and manage the initiative through the Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives (UADPEI) project, which ICF International leads. Town Hall Meetings are bi-annual events sponsored by SAMHSA and hosted by community-based organizations nationwide to educate community members on the consequences of underage drinking; empower communities to make environmental changes to prevent underage drinking; and mobilize communities around underage drinking prevention initiatives at the local, state, and national levels. Many organizations that hosted meetings in 2012 will do so again in 2014, moving communities from awareness to action.

URC Wins MCC Contract to Improve Guatemala’s Education Sector
by Douglas Kerr, Vice President of Opportunity Development and Communications, and Niambi Wilder, Communications Specialist
November 26, 2013

In anticipation of awarding a Threshold Program to the Government of Guatemala, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has chosen URC to conduct an analysis of Guatemala’s education sector, to design future educational programming, and (as an option) to provide technical assistance to education programming over three years. Before entering into country Compacts, MCC focuses on specific, targeted issue areas to boost a country’s eligibility for Compact award. Educational quality in Guatemala is among the weakest in Latin America, and so URC’s new MCC-funded educational assessment and program design activities will allow us to extend our mission of addressing poverty and improving the quality of life in Guatemala, where we have managed development programming for more than 20 years. 

A Guatemalan schoolgirl learns about nutrition and good health at a fair held by the USAID Nutri-Salud project. Photo by Lucia Mayorga, URC.
A Guatemalan schoolgirl learns about nutrition and good health at a fair held by the USAID Nutri-Salud project. Photo by Lucia Mayorga, URC.
URC and Haitian Government Launch National Quality Service Guidelines for Vulnerable Children
by Diana Chamrad, URC Senior Quality Improvement Advisor, and Niambi Wilder, URC Communications Specialist
November 21, 2013

Through the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) and in collaboration with the Haitian government, URC hosted an event to launch Haiti’s national guidelines for providing quality services to vulnerable children on November 20 in Port-au-Prince. US Ambassador to Haiti Pamela A. White and representatives from the US and Haitian governments and implementing partners attended the event.

Twenty children gathered from Haiti’s ten departments to provide input into the development of the national guidelines on how to best care for and support Haitian children. Photo by Hawa Camara.
Twenty children gathered from Haiti’s ten departments to provide input into the development of the national guidelines on how to best care for and support Haitian children. Photo by Hawa Camara.
HIV Care Improvement Work Positively Affects Children at Day Care Center in Tanzania
by Delphina Ntangeki, Knowledge Management and Communications Specialist, URC Tanzania
November 19, 2013

URC’s USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) began supporting Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in 2010. The objective was to build health workers’ capacity to apply quality improvement approaches to improve health care services at health facilities in Iringa, one of the country’s 30 administrative regions. But for health workers at Nzihi Health Centre, the training did more than just improve the services they provided. After conducting their first outreach clinic for under-five children at the privately owned Kidamali Kipera Farms (KK Farms) at Kidamali Village, they realized that their knowledge of quality improvement could improve health in the community from outside the health facility.

Children play at the KK Farms day care center in Tanzania. Photo by URC Tanzania staff.
Children play at the KK Farms day care center in Tanzania. Photo by URC Tanzania staff.
Scaling Up: Ecuadorian Ministry of Health Mobilizes Resources to Improve National Maternal and Newborn Care
November 18, 2013

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Health (MOH) is scaling up an innovative essential obstetric and newborn care (EONC) model piloted by the USAID-funded EONC Networks Project in Cotopaxi province. The project, which is managed by the Center for Human Services (CHS), designed and implemented the model in close alliance with the MOH, USAID, and national and provincial NGOs, providers, and users. The model used improvement approaches to implement evidence-based maternal and newborn health (MNH) interventions, which yielded significant improvements in MNH services. As a result, the Ministry issued a national policy making the application of the EONC networks approach mandatory throughout the country’s entire health care system. The Ministry also assigned a special budget to the scale-up to ensure sustainability. CHS is supporting scale-up planning and training efforts, as well as the development of the guidelines and tools needed to make the scale-up successful.

A mother provides kangaroo mother care for her newborn at the Latacunga Hospital in Ecuador. Photo by the EONC Networks Project Team.
A mother provides kangaroo mother care for her newborn at the Latacunga Hospital in Ecuador. Photo by the EONC Networks Project Team.
URC Designs HPV Vaccine Trial to Combat Cervical Cancer in Mongolia
by Kerrianne Monahan, URC Project Coordinator, and Niambi Wilder, URC Communications Specialist
November 7, 2013

Through the Implementation Support for Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries project, URC supported the Mongolian government’s efforts to introduce the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine and combat the country’s high incidence of cervical cancer: Mongolia has the highest incidence of cervical cancer in Eastern Asia. The HPV vaccine has proven effective in preventing up to 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. The project, which is funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, worked with the Millennium Challenge Account Implementing Unit and the Ministry of Health’s National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD) to design and implement an HPV vaccine trial.

Making Family Planning More Available in Manyara Region, Tanzania
by Delphina Ntangeki, Knowledge Management and Communications Specialist, URC Tanzania
November 6, 2013

Tanzania’s unmet need for family planning—including for people living with HIV—remains high, hovering near 25%. URC recognized that integrating HIV and family planning services would likely improve service uptake and therefore led efforts to do so at five hospitals in Manyara region early last year.

Scola Molamu, in-charge of the Mbulu District Hospital care and treatment center. Photo by Delphina Ntangeki, URC.
Scola Molamu, in-charge of the Mbulu District Hospital care and treatment center. Photo by Delphina Ntangeki, URC.
TB Program South Africa Spotlights Its Small Grants Program in New Report
by Colleen Longacre, URC Project Coordinator
November 5, 2013

URC’s USAID-supported TB Program South Africa has released a report highlighting best practices and lessons learned from managing its small grants program. The report describes the project’s efforts to promote community-based management of TB throughout South Africa and celebrates the successes of our partner NGOs there. The case studies covered in the report reveal the commitment of NGO-supported community health workers and their role in filling TB service delivery gaps in their communities.

The TB Program South Africa awarded a small grant to the Amakhumbuza Community Development and Healthcare Centre to provide TB and HIV services in KwaZulu Natal. Photo by URC South Africa staff.
The TB Program South Africa awarded a small grant to the Amakhumbuza Community Development and Healthcare Centre to provide TB and HIV services in KwaZulu Natal. Photo by URC South Africa staff.
URC Staff to Present at American Public Health Association Meeting
by Niambi Wilder, URC Communications Specialist
October 30, 2013

URC staff and partners will present at the 141st American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Exposition from November 2–6 in Boston, MA. The meeting addresses current and emerging health science, policy, and practice issues in an effort to prevent disease and promote health. This year’s theme is “Think Global, Act Local: Best Practices around the World.” The meeting provides an opportunity to share our work with more than 13,000 national and international physicians, administrators, nurses, educators, researchers, epidemiologists, and related health specialists. Presentation topics include HIV/AIDS treatment and care; maternal and newborn health; community health; and quality improvement (QI) approaches.

URC Participates in 44th World Conference on Lung Health
by Jessica Yaman, URC Project Coordinator
October 29, 2013

URC will again have a significant presence at this year’s Union World Conference on Lung Health from October 30–November 3 in Paris, France. In many of the 22 countries that account for more than 80% of TB cases worldwide, we are supporting national TB programs through innovative approaches to address systemic barriers to effective prevention and treatment. The conference provides an opportunity to share our TB work with thousands of health care professionals, researchers, and advocates.

A doctor (with clip board) consults a multi-drug resistant TB patient in Bangladesh. Photo courtesy of the TB Care II Bangladesh project.
A doctor (with clip board) consults a multi-drug resistant TB patient in Bangladesh. Photo courtesy of the TB Care II Bangladesh project.
URC Participates in Second Regional Psychosocial Support Forum
by Niambi Wilder, URC Communications Specialist
October 29, 2013

URC is participating in the second Regional Psychosocial Support Forum from October 29-31 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) and the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) are co-hosting the forum, which has a theme of “Mainstreaming Psychosocial Support in Child Protection: Linking Evidence and Practice.”

Nutri-Salud Gains Project C.U.R.E. Support to Strengthen Guatemalan Health Care
by Kevin Embrey, Nutri-Salud Program Officer; and Niambi Wilder, URC Communications Specialist
October 24, 2013

The USAID Community Nutrition and Health (Nutri-Salud) Project recently received more than $300,000 in medical equipment from Project C.U.R.E. to equip health facilities and strengthen primary health care services in Guatemala’s western highlands. USAID coordinated the equipment’s shipment and delivery.

Nutri-Salud staff deliver medical supplies from Project C.U.R.E. to the Guatemalan Ministry of Health to strengthen the country’s primary health care services. Photo by Gustavo Barrios, URC.
Nutri-Salud staff deliver medical supplies from Project C.U.R.E. to the Guatemalan Ministry of Health to strengthen the country’s primary health care services. Photo by Gustavo Barrios, URC.
URC Leads New USAID Project to Improve Haiti’s Health Care System
October 21, 2013

University Research Co., LLC (URC) is leading a new project in Haiti, a country with complex public health issues, including decentralization, HIV/AIDS, and cholera, to improve the population’s health status. The three-year project, called Quality Health Services for Haiti (Services de Santé de Qualité pour Haïti – SSQH) North, is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). URC will support the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (Ministère de la Santé Publique et de la Population/MSPP) to increase the use and quality of its primary care and community services. Our partners include Abt Associates, Save the Children, and two Haitian organizations, the Foundation for Reproductive Health and Family Education (Fondation pour la Santé Reproductrice et l’Education Familiale) and the Centers for Development and Health (Centres pour le Développement et la Santé.)  

Figure 1 illustrates the interaction between RBF and QI in improving access to services. It also shows community and client involvement as an important component of system effectiveness.
Figure 1 illustrates the interaction between RBF and QI in improving access to services. It also shows community and client involvement as an important component of system effectiveness.
USAID Assistant Administrator Visits URC’s Community Nutrition and Health Project in Guatemala
by Lucía Mayorga, Communications Assistant, Nutri-Salud; Nancy Newton, Senior Advisor, Behavior Change & Communication, URC; and Niambi Wilder, Communications Specialist, URC
October 18, 2013

USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez visited URC’s Community Nutrition and Health (Nutri-Salud) Project in Guatemala last month to learn how agency-supported projects, like Nutri-Salud, are implementing health and nutrition activities in the area. Nutri-Salud Chief of Party Elena Hurtado and URC Country Director Hernán Delgado accompanied Dr. Pablos-Méndez, along with representatives from the USAID Mission, including Health and Education Office Director Eric Janowsky. The delegates visited one of the Convergence centers that Nutri-Salud supports in Quiché and observed health care providers at work.

USAID Assistant Administrator Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez (back row, right) visits a Nutri-Salud-supported convergence center in Chichicastenango, Quiché, Guatemala. Photo by Elena Hurtado, URC.
USAID Assistant Administrator Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez (back row, right) visits a Nutri-Salud-supported convergence center in Chichicastenango, Quiché, Guatemala. Photo by Elena Hurtado, URC.
URC’s Research and Evaluation Director Presents at American Evaluation Association Conference
October 17, 2013

URC’s Director of Research and Evaluation, Dr. Edward Broughton, is presenting at the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Conference in Washington, DC, this week. The conference brings together over 3000 evaluators from various fields to share knowledge about evaluation practices. Dr. Broughton's presentations focus on cost-effectiveness analysis and health data validity.

URC Staff Participate in International Conference on Quality in Health Care
October 13, 2013

Several URC staff are participating in the 30th International Conference on Quality in Health Care from October 13–16 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The conference, hosted by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), focuses on population health and offers an opportunity for over 1000 delegates from 70 countries to share expertise and knowledge via a multidisciplinary forum. Our conference presentations provide a sample of our current health care quality improvement work.

URC President Featured in Professional Services Council's Magazine
October 10, 2013

URC President Barbara N. Turner is featured in this month’s Service Contractor magazine, published by the Professional Services Council (PSC.) Ms. Turner’s article, “Being Successful in a Mentor-Protégée Relationship,” shares guiding principles for fostering a successful business relationship like the one URC has with its small business protégée, Women Influencing Health Education and Rule of Law, LLC (WI-HER), for which URC received the first ever Excellence in Mentorship Award from the US Agency for International Development.

URC President Barbara N. Turner accepts the first ever Excellence in Mentorship Award at USAID’s Sixth Annual Small Business Conference in Washington, DC, in May 2013. Photo by Patricia Adams, USAID.
URC President Barbara N. Turner accepts the first ever Excellence in Mentorship Award at USAID’s Sixth Annual Small Business Conference in Washington, DC, in May 2013. Photo by Patricia Adams, USAID.
Health Workers Use New Mobile Application to Improve Contraceptive Prevalence in Benin
by Sara Riese, Research Advisor, USAID Translating Research into Action Project; Yetondji Houeyetongnon, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, PRISE-C; and Niambi Wilder, Communications Specialist, URC
October 8, 2013

The Partnership for Community Management of Child Health (PRISE-C) project recently piloted an innovative mobile health (mHealth) application among community health workers (CHWs) and health center staff to improve contraceptive prevalence in Benin’s Toffo and Zè communes. The “Texting for Maternal Wellbeing” pilot equipped seven CHWs and two health center staff (a midwife and a nurse) with mobile phones with an application for data collection and case management.

A community health worker (right) shares family planning counseling messages with her clients using a mobile phone application in Benin’s Dowa village. Photo by PRISE-C staff.
A community health worker (right) shares family planning counseling messages with her clients using a mobile phone application in Benin’s Dowa village. Photo by PRISE-C staff.
URC Senior Quality Improvement Advisor Addresses Women’s Mental Health in Europe and Eurasia at Global Mental Health Forum
by Niambi Wilder, Communications Specialist, URC
October 7, 2013

URC Senior Quality Improvement Advisor Dr. Diana Chamrad addressed women’s mental health during the inaugural Global Mental Health Forum in London, England, last month. She presented findings from a report documenting the depression and alcohol abuse results from a larger study on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Albania, Armenia, Georgia, and Russia.

URC Leads New USAID Project to Improve Haitians’ Health Status
October 7, 2013

URC is leading a new project in Haiti, a country with complex public health issues, including decentralization, HIV/AIDS, and cholera, to improve the population’s health status. The three-year project, called Quality Health Services for Haiti (Services de Santé de Qualité pour Haïti – SSQH) North, is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID.) URC will support the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (Ministère de la Santé Publique et de la Population/MSPP) to increase the use and quality of its primary care and community services. Our partners include Abt Associates, Save the Children, and two Haitian organizations, the Foundation for Reproductive Health and Family Education (Fondation pour la Santé Reproductrice et l’Education Familiale) and the Centers for Development and Health (Centres pour le Développement et la Santé.) 

Figure 1 illustrates the interaction between RBF and QI in improving access to services. It also shows community and client involvement as an important component of system effectiveness.
Figure 1 illustrates the interaction between RBF and QI in improving access to services. It also shows community and client involvement as an important component of system effectiveness.
First Person Account: Innovative Community Model Aims to Improve Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV Services in Tanzania
October 3, 2013

The USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) has piloted an innovative community model to improve services related to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in Tanzania. In collaboration with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and EngenderHealth, the project worked to improve the uptake, retention, and quality of PMTCT services by engaging health workers and community groups.

A nurse at a Tanzanian health facility explains an innovative community model to her colleagues during an AIMGAPS training. Photo by Rhea Bright, URC.
A nurse at a Tanzanian health facility explains an innovative community model to her colleagues during an AIMGAPS training. Photo by Rhea Bright, URC.
URC Staff Member Discusses Affordable Care Act with US President Barack Obama
October 2, 2013

URC staff member Cintya Renderos met with US President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the White House Oval Office this week to discuss the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Renderos, who volunteers as the Deputy State Director and Vice President of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) for DC, spoke about the important role the law will play in decreasing health disparities in the Latino community and discussed LULAC’s efforts to encourage constituent enrollment in the health insurance programs that became available through www.healthcare.gov on October 1, 2013.

Cintya Renderos (third from right) discusses the Affordable Care Act with President Barack Obama (back to camera) and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (right).Official White House photo by Pete Souza.
Cintya Renderos (third from right) discusses the Affordable Care Act with President Barack Obama (back to camera) and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (right).Official White House photo by Pete Souza.
USAID ASSIST Project Announces Journal Series on Health Worker Training
by Tana Wuliji, Senior Quality Improvement Advisor for Healthcare Workforce Development, Australia Representative, Quality and Performance Institute, and Communications Staff, URC
October 1, 2013

The USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) project announces a new journal series about health worker in-service training (IST), which is on-the-job instruction designed to strengthen health worker competence and performance. Two articles from the series, called “Improving the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of health worker in-service training: Closing the gaps between evidence, practice and outcomes,” are now available through the open-access journal Human Resources for Health. Three more articles will be published over the next few months.

Health worker in-service training on maternal care in Uganda. Photo by Annie Clark, USAID Health Care Improvement Project, URC.
Health worker in-service training on maternal care in Uganda. Photo by Annie Clark, USAID Health Care Improvement Project, URC.
Webinar: Scaling up High Impact Interventions
by Myriah Lesko, ASSIST Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications
September 27, 2013

On Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 9:00, join M. Rashad Massoud, Director of the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project and URC Senior Vice President of the Quality & Performance Institute, for an open webinar on “Scaling up High Impact Interventions”.  The webinar has been coordinated and will be broadcast by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua).   Registration is free but space is limited. If you cannot attend during time of broadcast, the webinar will be available for viewing on the ISQua website.

Supply Chain and Logistics Management Systems
by Luigi Jaramillo, Senior Technical Advisor
September 25, 2013

For over 30 years, University Research Co. LLC (URC) has been supporting international public and private sector organizations in strengthening their supply chain and logistics management systems for drugs and medical supplies. In doing so, we have provided technical assistance to Ministries of Health, other government agencies, and local NGOs in countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. 

DVD developed for distance training in logistics management.
DVD developed for distance training in logistics management.
Health Systems Strengthening in Cambodia: The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
by Christophe Grundmann, Chief of Party, and Katherine Krasovec, Technical Advisor for Nutrition, Child Health, URC
September 19, 2013

The USAID Better Health Services (BHS) and preceding Health Systems Strengthening projects implemented by URC in Cambodia since 2002 provide examples of why the whole is sometimes greater than its parts. These projects used a variety of strategies to improve the quality of care delivered by public health services, increase the utilization of and demand for such services while maintaining the pro-poor goals of the Ministry of Health (MOH), and support on-going and new health reform efforts aimed at increasing the transparency and accountability of health services through decentralized, contractual structures. Activities were aligned closely with and in support of national strategies and plans. After 11 years, the results are significant.

A Cambodian family heads home after a visit to the health center. Photo by Jerker Liljestrand.
A Cambodian family heads home after a visit to the health center. Photo by Jerker Liljestrand.
Performance Incentives Spur Improvements in Beninese Health Care
by PISAF project staff and Beth Goodrich, Senior Editor
September 16, 2013

A recent report from the Integrated Family Health Program (PISAF) found significant improvements in key indicators when performance-based incentives (PBIs) were put in place. For example, one region demonstrated an increase from 35.7% to 99% in the proportion of newborns for whom at least 80% of monitoring norms were met in the first 6 hours after birth.

Ecuadorian Ministry of Health Adopts URC Affiliate's Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care Model
by Kathleen Hill, Deputy Director, USAID ASSIST Project, and Communication Department staff
September 6, 2013

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Health (MOH) plans to expand the Essential Obstetric and Neonatal Care (EONC) network model countrywide. The model is part of a national initiative to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. Since 2009, URC's nonprofit affiliate, the Center for Human Services (CHS), piloted the model to improve equitable coverage and quality of essential maternal and newborn health care services. With support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Child Survival and Health Grants Program (CSHGP), CHS designed and implemented the model in close alliance with the national and provincial MOH, USAID, PVO/NGOs, providers, and users.

Community members carry a woman having labor complications from her home to an ambulance, which transports her to a nearby hospital, where she delivers a healthy baby girl. Photo by Dr. Mario Chávez.
Community members carry a woman having labor complications from her home to an ambulance, which transports her to a nearby hospital, where she delivers a healthy baby girl. Photo by Dr. Mario Chávez.

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