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Putting it in Context: URC 2014 Photography Contest Winners
by Sabina Behague, Communications Specialist
December 16, 2014

Jessica Ziegler, Knowledge Management Specialist for URC/Headquarters, submitted the winning photo in the “Photographer’s Choice” category of URC’s 2014 Photography Contest.

In Haiti, USAID's SSQH-Nord Project Addresses Gender-Based Violence
by Christina Zola, Communications Specialist and Christine Ortiz, Senior Advisor, HSS
December 5, 2014

The USAID-funded Services de Santé de Qualité pour Haïti (SSQH) Nord project focuses on quality health service delivery in the departments of Nord, Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest and Artibonite. In Year 2, SSQH-Nord strategies will address gender-based violence (GBV) and child protection (CP).

Photo by Marco Dormino for UN Photo. Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Photo by Marco Dormino for UN Photo. Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
ASSIST Project Leads Chat on Gender-Based Violence
by Christina Zola, Communications Specialist
December 5, 2014

Join the USAID ASSIST Project, Knowledge for Health (K4Health), The Asia Foundation, Promundo, Chemonics, The TOPS Program, and World Vision, and the Gender and Development Networking Group for an all-day Twitter chat, “Innovative Approaches to Respond to Gender-Based Violence,” on December 10, 2014.

URC projects mark 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
URC projects mark 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
Reflecting on the History of HIV/AIDS
by Pamela Marks, Senior Advisor for HIV/AIDS, TB & Infectious Diseases
December 1, 2014

Today is World AIDS Day. It is time for us to reflect on the history of the HIV virus and how it has affected and changed our lives over the past three decades.

Putting it in Context: URC 2014 Photography Contest Winners
by Sabina Behague, Communications Specialist
November 20, 2014

Bernadeta Nagita, Executive/Communications Assistant for the Strengthening Uganda's Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) Project in Uganda, submitted the winning photo in the “Closer Look” category of URC’s 2014 Photography Contest.

Women and Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision - WEBINAR
November 18, 2014

Women play a key role in the success of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) programs.  Join this PEPFAR webinar to learn more.

REGISTER NOW

URC-CHS supports Universal Health Coverage Day
by Christina Zola, Communications Specialist
November 18, 2014

Health inequities occur when health services are not accessible to or utilized by certain groups of people because of their gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity, geographic residence, or other characteristics. This lack of access puts disadvantaged populations at a much higher risk for adverse health outcomes.

URC-CHS has pledged its support for Universal Health Coverage Day on December 12th and join us as we work towards health for all.

Universal Health Coverage Day is December 12; join with over 200 organizations to support health for all
Universal Health Coverage Day is December 12; join with over 200 organizations to support health for all
USAID and URC Celebrate Seven Years of HCI Project Accomplishments
by Sabina Behague, Communications Specialist
October 17, 2014

Download and read "Improving Healthcare: The Results and Legacy of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project", the final report from an important seven-year effort that advanced the state of the art of health care quality.

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,
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
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
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Testing the USAID Indicator for Gender in Benin
August 21, 2013

In Benin, URC’s USAID-funded Integrated Family Health Project (PISAF is the acronym for its French name) pilot-tested the USAID Gender Indicator “Proportion of target population reporting increased agreement with the concept that males and females should have equal access to social, economic, and political opportunities.” PISAF, which lasted from 2006 to 2012, tested this indicator through a questionnaire in three of Benin’s departments, Zou/Collines, Atlantique/Littoral, and Bourgou/Alibori.

USAID TB Program South Africa: Celebrating Five Years of Community Management of MDR-TB
by Manith Hang, URC Project Coordinator
August 14, 2013

The USAID TB Program South Africa and the Umzinyathi Health District Office of KwaZulu-Natal Province hosted a TB and multi-drug resistant (MDR)-TB award ceremony last week to recognize 64 MDR-TB patients who had successfully completed treatment. The event also acknowledged TB teams for seven years of good performance and celebrated five years of community management of MDR-TB. The celebration called attention to several achievements: more than 75% of MDR-TB patients had completed treatment, and over 96% of HIV-positive MDR-TB patients were on antiretrovirals.

Nurses from Greytown M3 Hospital, which specializes in MDR-TB treatment, sing in celebration of their patients’ success.  Photo credit: USAID TB Program South Africa.
Nurses from Greytown M3 Hospital, which specializes in MDR-TB treatment, sing in celebration of their patients’ success. Photo credit: USAID TB Program South Africa.
Infectious Disease Capacity-Building Project Releases Findings in New Report
by Niambi Wilder, Communications Specialist, URC
June 27, 2013

Through the completed Integrated Infectious Disease Capacity Building Evaluation (IDCAP) Project, URC’s non-profit affiliate, the Center for Human Services (CHS), helped improve outpatient triage—the sorting of patients according to the urgency of their need for care—in 36 rural Ugandan clinic. Accordia Global Health Foundation, IDCAP's prime contractor, published the final report today, which shares all project findings and lessons learned.

URC Participates in 6th South African AIDS Conference
by Fridah Wanjiku, Communications Intern, URC
June 24, 2013

URC participated in the 6th South African AIDS Conference last week in Durban, South Africa, sharing knowledge to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The conference convened experts; professionals; those with extensive knowledge in the HIV/AIDS field, including policy makers, researchers, activists, and people living with HIV/AIDS; and others committed to ending the pandemic.  The event aimed to engage sub-Saharan Africa in an active dialogue on how to successfully advance efforts to combat the pandemic. This year’s theme was “Building on Successes: Integrating Systems.”  

 


 

Uganda Ministry of Health Recognizes SUSTAIN for Outstanding Contribution to Lab Sector
by the SUSTAIN Project Team with contributions from key staff*
June 18, 2013

The Uganda Ministry of Health (MOH) awarded USAID’s Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) project a certificate of recognition for its outstanding performance and contribution to the country’s health laboratory sector. This is the second award presented to SUSTAIN for its contribution to laboratory medical service delivery. The first was the Khadil award, presented in March 2013 by the Uganda Medical Laboratory Technology Association.

Nutrition Project Provides Pathway for Local Leadership Development in Uganda
by Beatrice Scheuermann, URC Project Coordinator
March 20, 2013

A newly awarded nutrition project to improve the lives of undernourished Ugandans will also provide a pathway for building and sustaining local leadership in food production. The Production for Improved Nutrition (PIN) project, a five-year project to reduce under-nutrition in the north-central and southwestern regions of Uganda, is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and managed by RECO Industries, a Ugandan company. URC will support RECO by providing technical assistance as well as administrative and managerial support.

Sachet of locally produced ready-to-use therapeutic food funded through USAID and produced by RECO.
Sachet of locally produced ready-to-use therapeutic food funded through USAID and produced by RECO.
International Women’s Day 2013: Empowering Women to Meet Orphaned and Vulnerable Children’s Needs in Nigeria
by Caitlyn Lutfy, Improvement Specialist for Gender and Knowledge Management, WI-HER, LLC; Taroub Faramand, President, WI-HER, LLC; and Josephine Ogazi, Nigeria Chief of Party, URC
March 7, 2013

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a day to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women around the world. As a social determinant of health, gender demands attention in any effort to ensure health equity. URC is committed to delivering gender aware services and to investing in and enhancing the unique expertise and leadership skills of women and girls. Men, women, boys, and girls should have equal opportunities to achieve their full health potential. URC undertakes activities to analyze and respond to the way each group interacts with the health system. Addressing the different needs of these groups in accessing and utilizing services contributes to equity and equality and makes care more cost-effective and patient centered. 

URC Project Introduces Innovation to Reduce Maternal Death in Cambodia
by Aida Olkkonen, Associate Director, URC’s Program Support Team
January 2, 2013

In early December, Dr. Jerker Liljestrand—Program Leader for Maternal and Newborn Health and Family Planning with the USAID Better Health Services (BHS) project, which URC implements in Cambodia—presented at CORE Group on Cambodia’s introduction of a new device to reduce maternal mortality: the non-pneumatic anti-shock garment (NASG). Dr. Liljestrand was accompanied by Dr. Suellen Miller, Professor at the University of California San Francisco and Director of the Safe Motherhood Program at the university’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. BHS is training hospital staff to use the NASG. Use of the NASG is expected to result in reduced mortality from postpartum hemorrhage and contribute to further reducing the rate of maternal deaths in Cambodia.

Drawing of the non-pneumatic anti-shock garment, which is used to prevent postpartum hemorrhage in women. Developed by Ralph Pelligra, MD, NASA, Ames Research Center.
Drawing of the non-pneumatic anti-shock garment, which is used to prevent postpartum hemorrhage in women. Developed by Ralph Pelligra, MD, NASA, Ames Research Center.
World AIDS Day 2012: Combating Pediatric HIV in Uganda through the USAID SUSTAIN Project
by Kate Howell, Cordelia Katureebe, and Sara Riese
November 30, 2012

UNICEF estimates that in Uganda, 150,000 children between the ages of 0 and 14 have HIV (2009 data). Without early diagnosis, enrollment into care, and prompt treatment, half of HIV-infected children die by age two and an additional 25% die by the age of five. The leading cause of HIV infection in children is mother-to-child transmission, whereby infants are infected during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.

The SUSTAIN project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by University Research Co., LLC (URC), is working with Uganda’s Ministry of Health (MOH) to combat pediatric HIV by implementing prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programs; ensuring early HIV diagnosis by testing infants and at-risk children; and providing high-quality care and treatment services, including psychosocial services, for HIV-infected children. The project works in 16 high-volume regional referral and general hospitals.

A mother has her daughter tested for HIV at the Know Your Child's status campaign. Photo credit: Deborah Murdoch, Health Systems Strengthening Advisor, URC.
A mother has her daughter tested for HIV at the Know Your Child's status campaign. Photo credit: Deborah Murdoch, Health Systems Strengthening Advisor, URC.
USAID Health Care Improvement Project Transfers Infection Control Initiatives to Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services
by Manith Hang, Project Coordinator
November 12, 2012

URC, in collaboration with Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS), recently hosted a conference to transfer the country’s infection control initiatives from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) to the Ministry. Infection control refers to policies and procedures to minimize the risk of spreading infectious diseases, especially in health care facilities. Such procedures include managing health care waste, such as blood, needles, and medical devices.

Left to right: QA Division Director Ms. C.S. Gordan, USAID Mission Director Ms. Elzadia Washington-Danaux, Minister of Health & Social Services Dr. Richard Kamwi, URC Chief of Party Dr. Aziz Abadallah
Left to right: QA Division Director Ms. C.S. Gordan, USAID Mission Director Ms. Elzadia Washington-Danaux, Minister of Health & Social Services Dr. Richard Kamwi, URC Chief of Party Dr. Aziz Abadallah
URC Participates in 43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health
by Manith Hang, Project Coordinator
November 9, 2012

URC is participating in the 43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health from November 13-17 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

URC Participates in ISQua’s 29th International Conference
October 22, 2012

URC is participating in the International Society for Quality in Health Care’s (ISQua’s) 29th International Conference in Geneva this week. 

Wellness Day for Swaziland’s Health Workers Focuses on Workplace Safety and Family Health
by Nokuthula Mdluli, Marianne Calnan, Yohannes Ghebreyesus, Ntombifuthi Shongwe, Nompumelelo Nwandwe, and Samson Haumba
August 22, 2012

To help health workers better face the stresses and challenges of their jobs while maintaining their own health and well-being, University Research Co., LLC (URC) through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) is working with Swaziland’s Ministry of Health to develop a Workplace Wellness Program. The program held its first Wellness Day event in June, inviting health care workers and their families in the Hhohho Region. The event offered a fun, informal experience where workers and their families could take part in physical activities like aerobics and soccer and also address their health concerns.

URC staff member Ms. Ntombifuthi Shongwe displays TB messages and resources at an information table at the Wellness Day event. Photo credit: Ms. Nompumelelo Ndwandwe, URC.
URC staff member Ms. Ntombifuthi Shongwe displays TB messages and resources at an information table at the Wellness Day event. Photo credit: Ms. Nompumelelo Ndwandwe, URC.
URC Hosts Mini-Satellite Event during AIDS 2012 Conference to Great Success
by Catherine Hancock, Communications Intern
August 6, 2012

University Research Co., LLC (URC) and our non-profit affiliate Center for Human Services (CHS) hosted a successful mini-satellite event, “Better HIV Services, Every Time” during the the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) held last week in Washington, DC. The event took place during the evening on Thursday, July 26, and provided a compelling platform for discussion among conference participants and URC’s technical experts.

Dr. Luz Amparo Pinzon, Senior Content Associate (right), engages conference participants in a discussion on “Using Play to Teach Difficult Concepts in HIV Education.” Photo credit:Sarah Whitmarsh, URC
Dr. Luz Amparo Pinzon, Senior Content Associate (right), engages conference participants in a discussion on “Using Play to Teach Difficult Concepts in HIV Education.” Photo credit:Sarah Whitmarsh, URC
Interventions in Uganda Lead to Dramatic Increases in Chronic Care Enrollment for HIV-Positive Mothers
by Lillian Birungi, Nursing Officer at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital, and Cordelia Katureebe, Technical Advisor for SUSTAIN
July 24, 2012

At Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital (RRH) in Uganda, almost all women attending the antenatal care (ANC) clinic were receiving HIV/AIDS counseling and testing services, but only 1% of HIV-positive women were enrolling into chronic care services in September 2011. The USAID-funded Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally (SUSTAIN) project, managed by University Research Co. LLC , helped increase the enrollment rate to 96% in only 6 months.

HIV-positive pregnant women and partners, who were escorted from the ANC clinic by a health care worker, receive orientation at the HIV/AIDS chronic care clinic. Photo Credit: Lillian Birungi
HIV-positive pregnant women and partners, who were escorted from the ANC clinic by a health care worker, receive orientation at the HIV/AIDS chronic care clinic. Photo Credit: Lillian Birungi
URC and CHS Participate in International AIDS Conference
by Niambi Wilder, Communications Coordinator
July 24, 2012

URC and its non-profit affiliate, the Center for Human Services (CHS), is participating in the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) this week, July 22–27, 2012, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

Expert Patients Improve HIV Care in Tanzania
by Delphina Ntangeki, QI Advisor for Knowledge Management and Communications, and Sarah Whitmarsh, Communications Specialist
July 23, 2012

Of the many people he interacts with every day as volunteer at Tanzania’s Sabasaba Health Centre, Hamis* remembers one in particular. The patient, newly diagnosed with HIV, attended an educational session at the health center on the importance of taking HIV medicines called antiretrovirals (ARVs) every day. Health center staff encourage newly diagnosed patients to bring someone with them to the session—such as a family member or friend—who would remind the patient to take his or her ARVs and provide ongoing support at home. Yet this patient, Hamis recalls, came alone.

An expert patient (facing the audience) teaches HIV patients about adherence to ARVs. Photo credit: Delphina Ntangeki, URC.
An expert patient (facing the audience) teaches HIV patients about adherence to ARVs. Photo credit: Delphina Ntangeki, URC.
URC Supports HIV Programs in 25 Countries
by Sarah Whitmarsh, Communications Specialist
July 20, 2012

As a chronic, complex, communicable, and widely stigmatized disease, HIV poses challenges to health systems that require proven and innovative solutions that are keenly responsive to local conditions. University Research Co., LLC (URC) and its nonprofit affiliate Center for Human Services supports HIV programs that focus on creating better health outcomes for underserved and vulnerable populations. We currently support HIV programs in 25 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin and North America. URC's projects in Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Uganda provide snapshots of our ongoing efforts to support healthy populations.

A Nigerian woman receives an HIV test from HACCI's laboratory advisor. Photo by: Dr. Ikechukwu Ezekpeazu, URC.
A Nigerian woman receives an HIV test from HACCI's laboratory advisor. Photo by: Dr. Ikechukwu Ezekpeazu, URC.
AIDS 2012: Turning the Tide Together
by Amy Stern, Rhea Bright, and Sarah Whitmarsh
July 19, 2012

More than 25,000 health professionals, activists, global and community leaders, and people living with HIV will gather in Washington, DC, next week to take part in the XIX International AIDS Conference. Conference attendees will share the latest news and research in working towards a world with zero HIV infections and zero AIDS-related deaths, a goal reflected in the conference theme “Turning the Tide Together” and The Washington D.C. Declaration to end the AIDS epidemic.

Data collectors interview a key informant at the regional level. Photo by Jean-Paul Ngandu-Mbanga, URC.
Data collectors interview a key informant at the regional level. Photo by Jean-Paul Ngandu-Mbanga, URC.
URC at AIDS 2012: Improving the Well-being of Vulnerable Children
by Sarah Whitmarsh, Communications Specialist
July 18, 2012

Due to the long-term effects of HIV/AIDS and poverty, families and communities in many countries cannot provide care and support to large numbers of children. URC staff member Dr. Diana Chamrad will present results Wednesday from URC’s efforts to improve care provided to children orphaned or made extremely vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. Hers is one of eleven poster presentations by URC staff taking place during the XIX International AIDS Conference.

A young girl shown in the film,
A young girl shown in the film, "Care that Counts: Applying Quality Standards to OVC Services in Kenya."
HCI Staff Participate in Summit on Community Health Workers
by Feza Kikaya, Communications Assistant, USAID Health Care Improvement Project
June 21, 2012

Three URC staff participated  in a US Government-sponsored evidence summit on community health workers (CHWs) this month. Organized by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the summit convened experts to examine community and formal health system activities that support and improve the performance of CHWs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The experts used evidence—peer-reviewed and “gray” literature, including randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies, case control studies, qualitative studies, and evaluation reports—to identify research priorities and develop recommendations for policy and practice.

A CHW conducting a follow-up visit to a child who had a fever in the preceding days; Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo credit: Anya Guyer, Initiatives, LLC.
A CHW conducting a follow-up visit to a child who had a fever in the preceding days; Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo credit: Anya Guyer, Initiatives, LLC.
URC Joins Frontline Health Workers Coalition
by Sarah Whitmarsh, Communications Specialist
June 15, 2012

URC recently joined the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, an advocacy group whose mission supports the development of skilled and motivated midwives, health extension workers, clinical officers, and community health workers. These frontline health workers are the first—and often the only—link to health care for millions of people in developing countries. The coalition advocates for greater and more strategic U.S. investment in these health workers as one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives and improve global health.

Salzburg Call to Action Presented at 65th WHO Assembly
by Sarah Whitmarsh, Communications Specialist
May 23, 2012

URC partners will present the Salzburg Call to Action, “Better Health for All, Every Time,” at the 65th World Health Assembly today at a special session on patient safety. The Call to Action proposes a set of seven recommendations developed by global health leaders during a high-level meeting convened by URC and the Salzburg Global Seminar. Launched two weeks ago, the recommendations have garnered more than 400 signatures to date.

USAID Health Care Improvement Project Distributes Bicycles to Peer Mentors in Tanzania
by Delphina Ntangeki, Communications Specialist, URC Tanzania
May 21, 2012

URC’s USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) distributed bicycles to 55 “peer mentors” in early May. These mentors are people with HIV who support health facility staff by counseling other patients with HIV and assisting with clinic tasks. Experienced in living with HIV and interacting with health services, peer mentors can improve HIV patients’ knowledge and skills in managing their illness.

The Deputy Mayor of Morogoro Municipal council (center) and others watch a peer mentor try out his new bicycle. Photo: Delphina Ntangeki
The Deputy Mayor of Morogoro Municipal council (center) and others watch a peer mentor try out his new bicycle. Photo: Delphina Ntangeki
URC Staff Contribute to International Forum on Health Care Quality
by Feza Kikaya, Kate Fatta, and Emily Treleaven
May 4, 2012

URC staff contributed significantly to programming at the 17th annual International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare. BMJ Group and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) hosted the conference, held April 17–20 in Paris. Under the theme, “Solutions for Tough Times,” the conference drew a record 1700 participants from around the world.

URC Co-hosts Salzburg Global Seminar on Making Health Care Better in Low and Middle Income Countries
by Nana Mensah-Abrampah, Quality Improvement Fellow, and Sarah Whitmarsh, Communications Specialist
April 26, 2012

This week, University Research Co., LLC (URC) and the Salzburg Global Seminar assembled 60 global health leaders from 35 countries in Salzburg, Austria, for a high-level meeting on the topic, “Making Health Care Better in Low and Middle Income Economies: What are the next steps and how do we get there?” Salzburg Global Seminars convene imaginative thinkers from different cultures and institutions to solve problems of global concern. This seminar focuses on how to transform health systems in low- and middle-income countries to make them capable of continually improving.

URC’s USAID Health Care Improvement Project Announces 2012 Best Improvement Report
by Jaime Shipmaker, Program Development Associate
April 6, 2012

The USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) has selected the entry from Mrs. Racheal Mwape of Lusaka, Zambia, as the winner of its 2012 “Best Health Care Improvement Report” contest. The report explains how the Community Based TB/HIV/AIDS Organisation (CBTO) introduced a simple monitoring system and appointment reminders that reduced the TB Treatment Centre's TB treatment defaulter rate from 35% in 2007 to 4% in 2009.

Authors of the 2012 Best Health Care Improvement Report. Photos by the Community Based TB/HIV/AIDS Organisation.
Authors of the 2012 Best Health Care Improvement Report. Photos by the Community Based TB/HIV/AIDS Organisation.
ISQua Launches Online Discussion Forum for Salzburg Global Seminar
by Nana Mensah-Abrampah, Quality Improvement Fellow, and Sarah Whitmarsh, Communications Specialist
March 20, 2012

A series of discussions launches today on the ISQua Knowledge Portal, an online forum, in the lead up to next month’s Salzburg Global Seminar, which will convene imaginative thinkers from different cultures and institutions to solve problems of global concern. The forum’s topic matches the seminar’s theme, “Making Health Care Better in Low and Middle Income Economies: What are the next steps and how do we get there?” Portal registration is free, and the discussion is open to all.

USAID Health Care Improvement Project Recognized for “Excellence in Evaluation”
by Sarah Whitmarsh, Communication Specialist
February 29, 2012

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) named the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) one of five winners in its first-ever “Excellence in Evaluation” contest. The contest recognized the best evaluation reports undertaken by USAID-funded projects. The winning report evaluated the results of 27 health care improvement interventions in low- and middle-income countries carried out by HCI, which is managed by University Research Co., LLC (URC).

Iraq Primary Health Care Project and Ministry of Health Host National Workshop
by Colleen Longacre, Project Coordinator, Primary Health Care Project in Iraq, and Sarah Whitmarsh, Communications Specialist, URC
February 22, 2012

The Ministry of Health (MoH) of Iraq and the Primary Health Care Project in Iraq (PHCPI) recently co-sponsored a three-day national workshop on strengthening primary health care in the country. PHCPI is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and managed by University Research Co., LLC (URC). More than 400 participants attended the event, which was held January 21–23.

Participants assemble at Iraq’s workshop on strengthening primary health care. Photo credit: Ms. Hind Saad, PHCPI/URC.
Participants assemble at Iraq’s workshop on strengthening primary health care. Photo credit: Ms. Hind Saad, PHCPI/URC.
Reaching Women for Voluntary Counseling and Testing through Local Partnerships
by Ikechukwu Ezekpeazu, Kate Howell, and Sarah Whitmarsh
February 3, 2012

Despite numerous campaigns promoting voluntary HIV counseling and testing (VCT), even in remote areas of Nigeria, encouraging women in the country to get tested is a challenge. Many women cannot leave their workplaces to access services and fear being stigmatized if they test positive. That’s why URC’s HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Initiative (HACCI) project partnered with Women for Women International to better reach women living in rural Nigerian communities.

Women for Women International group members attend a voluntary counseling and testing service presentation in Enugu State, Nigeria. Photo credit: Ikechukwu Ezekpeazu, URC.
Women for Women International group members attend a voluntary counseling and testing service presentation in Enugu State, Nigeria. Photo credit: Ikechukwu Ezekpeazu, URC.
Film Highlights Successes in Improving the Well-being of Vulnerable Children in Kenya
by Kate Fatta and Sarah Whitmarsh
February 3, 2012

A newly released film highlights the efforts of governmental and non-governmental organizations to improve the lives of the more than 2.5 million Kenyan children orphaned or made extremely vulnerable by HIV and AIDS. The organizations, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), are using quality improvement methods that the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) adapted for low-income settings. HCI is managed by University Research Co., LLC (URC).

A young girl shown in the film benefited from services provided by the Care that Counts partnership.
A young girl shown in the film benefited from services provided by the Care that Counts partnership.
URC Chief of Party Dr. Aziz Abdallah Selected as International Ambassador
by Niambi Wilder, Communications Coordinator
January 30, 2012

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) recently selected Dr. Aziz O. Abdallah, Chief of Party (COP) for the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) in Namibia, as a 2012 International Ambassador.

Dr. Aziz O. Abdallah, Chief of Party, HCI Namibia
Dr. Aziz O. Abdallah, Chief of Party, HCI Namibia
TB CARE II Launches MDR-TB Fellowship Training Program
by Niambi Wilder, Communications Coordinator
January 30, 2012

The URC-led TB CARE II Project recently launched the Fellowship Training Program (FTP), which is aimed at training health care professionals who encounter multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). FTP provides in-depth clinical and programmatic knowledge in MDR-TB prevention, treatment, and control. Through this program, TB CARE II hopes to create a cadre of MDR-TB professionals who will contribute to the scale-up of drug-resistant TB programs worldwide.

URC’s USAID Health Care Improvement Project Holds Contest for Improvement Stories
January 27, 2012

The USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) is holding a contest for the best stories about improvements made in a local setting by health care providers and implementers in USAID-assisted countries. The winner will receive an all expenses paid trip to present his or her story as a poster at the Global Health Council conference to be held July 18–21, 2012, in Washington, DC.

Robert Kyeyaglire presents the 2011 best improvement report at the Global Health Council conference. Photo credit: Simon Hiltebeitel, URC.
Robert Kyeyaglire presents the 2011 best improvement report at the Global Health Council conference. Photo credit: Simon Hiltebeitel, URC.
HIV Counseling and Testing in Swaziland: An Integration Success
by Samson Haumba, Country Director for Swaziland; Lindiwe Mkhatshwa, HTC Advisor; and Alisha Smith-Arthur, Senior Associate for the URC Program Support Team
January 26, 2012

Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence in the world; an estimated one in three women and one in five men are HIV positive. When Swaziland’s national HIV testing and counseling program was established in 2002, the focus was only on providing voluntary testing and counseling, where individuals opt for these services voluntarily. However, by 2007, fewer than one in five people had ever taken an HIV test and received their results, and nearly 85% of Swazis did not know their HIV status.

A URC staff member provides support to a nurse at a TB clinic in Piggs Peak, Swaziland. Photo credit: Lindiwe Mkhatshw, URC.
A URC staff member provides support to a nurse at a TB clinic in Piggs Peak, Swaziland. Photo credit: Lindiwe Mkhatshw, URC.
USAID Chief of Staff Visits USAID Health Care Improvement Project in Tanzania
by Delphina Ntangeki
January 11, 2012

US Agency for International Development (USAID) Chief of Staff Margaret C. Sullivan visited USAID-funded activities in Tanzania’s Morogoro region in December. She met with local health care providers and staff of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI), managed by URC, and learned about their work in combating HIV/AIDS in the region.

HCI Quality Improvement Advisor Faridah Mgunda (right) explains to USAID Chief of Staff Margaret C. Sullivan about HCI activities in Morogoro region. Photo credit: Ms. Delphina Ntangeki, URC.
HCI Quality Improvement Advisor Faridah Mgunda (right) explains to USAID Chief of Staff Margaret C. Sullivan about HCI activities in Morogoro region. Photo credit: Ms. Delphina Ntangeki, URC.
Informing Feed the Future: Integration Successes
by Ina Schonberg
January 6, 2012

On December 12th, University Research Co., LLC (URC) and George Washington University’s Center for Global Health sponsored a roundtable discussion, “Informing Feed the Future: Integration Success,” at the Global Health Council. Attended by over 70 participants, the roundtable focused on health and HIV/AIDS programs that have successfully integrated nutrition, food, and agricultural interventions, making effective use of public and private partnerships.

The roundtable discussion took place at the Global Health Council office in Washington, DC. Photo credit: Sarah Whitmarsh/URC.
The roundtable discussion took place at the Global Health Council office in Washington, DC. Photo credit: Sarah Whitmarsh/URC.
USAID’s HealthPRO Project Supports Initiative to Fight HIV/AIDS through Mobile Technology
by Silvia Holschneider
December 30, 2011

New HIV/AIDS infections in the Philippines continue to rise, especially among a specific population: males who have sex with males (MSMs). To target this group, the US Agency for International Development supported an initiative focused on providing information using mobile phone short message service (SMS) technology. 

SMS is a text messaging service used widely in communication devices such as mobile phones.
SMS is a text messaging service used widely in communication devices such as mobile phones.
URC to Provide Technical Support to CDC
December 29, 2011

University Research Co., LLC is participating in a new consortium of researchers that has been awarded a contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The QED Group, LLC, will lead the consortium, which also includes Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and BroadReach Healthcare. The consortium will also be supported by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

A woman in Peru looks through a microscope as part of a previous URC project on laboratory and diagnostic services. Part of URC's activities in ITOPSS II includes lab support.
A woman in Peru looks through a microscope as part of a previous URC project on laboratory and diagnostic services. Part of URC's activities in ITOPSS II includes lab support.
Getting to Zero: Making Data Meaningful
by Amy Stern and Rhea Bright
December 1, 2011

On this World AIDS Day, December 1, 2011, people around the world are promoting the “Getting to Zero” campaign – the goal backed by the United Nations to have zero new HIV infections and zero AIDS-related deaths. For those who work on the frontlines of HIV care, reaching this goal involves addressing a host of underlying factors at each level of a complex and multifaceted system. Just two of these factors are how we ensure that every patient who needs care gets it and how we evaluate the care provided.

Data collectors interview a key informant at the regional level. Photo by Jean-Paul Ngandu-Mbanga, URC.
Data collectors interview a key informant at the regional level. Photo by Jean-Paul Ngandu-Mbanga, URC.
URC’s Quality & Performance Institute and the International Society for Quality in Health Care Join Forces in Collaborative Agreement
November 17, 2011

The Quality & Performance Institute (QPI), a division of University Research Co., LLC (URC), signed a collaborative agreement with the International Society for Quality in Health Care, Ltd (ISQua) during the latter’s 28th International Conference in Hong Kong, China. The agreement established an alliance between QPI and ISQua based on their shared goal of improving health care in developing countries.

Dr. M. Rashad Massoud and Ms. Roisin Boland sign the collaborative agreement. Photo by Shawn Dick, Associate Director for Administration at QPI.
Dr. M. Rashad Massoud and Ms. Roisin Boland sign the collaborative agreement. Photo by Shawn Dick, Associate Director for Administration at QPI.
URC’s Cambodia Better Health Systems Project Participates in Meeting Focused on Enhancing Electronic Medical Records Systems
November 14, 2011

With assistance from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Better Health Services (BHS) Project sent four Cambodians to the 6th annual OpenMRS (Open Medical Record System) Annual Implementer's Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, in mid-October. The session significantly advanced BHS efforts to strengthen a critical piece of Cambodia’s health system. Managed by URC and funded by USAID, BHS is building the capacity of public and private health service delivery systems; expanding models for health financing; improving the quality and impact of maternal, neonatal, and child health services; and strengthening the control of infectious diseases.

The Cambodian delegation discusses how to integrate OpenMRS and the Cambodian public and private health system to ensure better health care for all.  Photo by Hong Rath.
The Cambodian delegation discusses how to integrate OpenMRS and the Cambodian public and private health system to ensure better health care for all. Photo by Hong Rath.
URC’s Non-Profit Affiliate Opens New Office in Vineland, New Jersey
by Niambi Wilder
October 28, 2011

The Center for Human Services (CHS), URC’s non-profit affiliate, held an open house on Tuesday, October 18th to debut its new office in Vineland, New Jersey. Representatives from several community, government, and private-sector organizations attended the event, which garnered media attention.

CHS President Barbara N. Turner, CHS NJ Senior Manager-Project Director Louis A. Marino, IME Becas Coordinator Soledad Garcia, and several CHS students accept the IME Becas Award. Photo by Tia Clark.
CHS President Barbara N. Turner, CHS NJ Senior Manager-Project Director Louis A. Marino, IME Becas Coordinator Soledad Garcia, and several CHS students accept the IME Becas Award. Photo by Tia Clark.
Lifesaving Work on Nutrition Continues in Uganda
by Kate Howell
October 25, 2011

URC’s recently completed NuLife – Food and Nutrition Interventions for Uganda project helped create lasting solutions to integrate nutrition care into the treatment of those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS, pregnant or lactating women, and orphans and vulnerable children.

Cambodian Ministry of Health Launches National Health Information Database with Support of URC’s Better Health Services Project
by Aida Olkkonen
October 6, 2011

Today, Cambodia’s Department of Planning and Health Information (DPHI) of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Better Health Services Project (BHS) officially launched the national Health Management Information System (HMIS) database: www.hiscambodia.org. The web-based database collects and stores health information from health facilities at all health system levels nationwide, facilitating effective public health programming and responsive health policies.

NGO health providers practice using the HMIS web database during a training session on Sept 20-21, 2011 in Siem Reap province.
NGO health providers practice using the HMIS web database during a training session on Sept 20-21, 2011 in Siem Reap province.
URC Tackles Non-communicable Diseases
by Kathleen Hill and Elizabeth Ransom
September 19, 2011

This week, the United Nations is meeting to address the issue of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). According to the World Health Organization, NCDs are the number one killer worldwide, causing 60% of mortality. The four leading causes of NCD mortality are cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory conditions. Due to their long duration and generally slow progression, NCDs--and other conditions like HIV--are referred to as "chronic diseases."

In Uganda, URC is supporting health workers in hospitals and health centers to help patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes. Photo by Suzanne Gaudreault, USAID HCI Project
In Uganda, URC is supporting health workers in hospitals and health centers to help patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes. Photo by Suzanne Gaudreault, USAID HCI Project
URC Staff Participate in International Health Care Quality Conference
September 12, 2011

Several members of the USAID Health Care Improvement (HCI) Project, which URC manages, participated in the 28thInternational Conference of the International Society for Quality in Health Care, Ltd. (ISQua) in Hong Kong, China.  HCI staff also led two pre-conference events. 

USAID Study Shows Effectiveness of Collaborative Improvement Approach for Improving Health Systems
August 9, 2011

A new study from the USAID Health Care Improvement Project shows that a quality improvement method widely used in the US called collaborative improvement is also effective in low- and middle-income countries.

A quote from James Heiby, Medical Officer in the USAID Global Health Bureau.
A quote from James Heiby, Medical Officer in the USAID Global Health Bureau.
US Senators Coons and Isakson visit URC project in Benin
by Sara Riese and Michelle Kouletio
June 28, 2011

US Senators Christopher Coons (Democrat, Delaware) and Johnny Isakson (Republican, Georgia) visited the HOMEL Pediatrics Hospital in Cotonou, Benin on Saturday, June 5. They visited URC’s USAID-funded Integrated Family Health Project, a program that has been developing low-cost innovations to save lives of children with severe malaria. 

A mother with her child, who is receiving life-saving oxygen. Photo credit: Dr. Gninoussa Akadiri, Malaria Specialist for PISAF.
A mother with her child, who is receiving life-saving oxygen. Photo credit: Dr. Gninoussa Akadiri, Malaria Specialist for PISAF.
URC’s Better Health Services (BHS) project supports the Cambodia Delegation to the Asia Pacific Leadership Forum on Health Information Systems
by Mean Sambath
June 17, 2011

URC’s Better Health Services (BHS) project, which works with the Cambodian Ministry of Health to increase demand for and equitable access to quality health services, provided support to the Cambodian delegation to the Asia Pacific Leadership Forum on Health Information Systems (HIS). Health Information Systems are the mechanism for collecting and disseminating health data from health facilities around the country and are critical for monitoring health services and health indicators and for strategic planning and decision-making.

Dr. Mean Sambath, BHS Program Leader for Health Informatics and M&E, addresses the Forum
Dr. Mean Sambath, BHS Program Leader for Health Informatics and M&E, addresses the Forum
Day of the African Child: Focus on Orphans and Vulnerable Children
by Kate Fatta and Sarah Whitmarsh
June 16, 2011

On June 16, 1971, thousands of South African school children protested the inferiority of their education and the right to be taught in their native languages, and many were killed or injured for speaking out. Since then, advocates mark June 16th, the Day of the African Child, by calling attention to the need to improve the lives of African children. This feature highlights one way URC works to address the needs of African children.

Artwork by girls at Abuja workshop
Artwork by girls at Abuja workshop
URC participates in 38th Annual International Conference on Global Health
June 10, 2011

Several URC staff presented the Global Health Council’s 38th Annual International Conference on Global Health in June 2011.  The theme of the conference was “Securing a Healthier Future in a Changing World” and sessions focused on the challenges of and innovative solutions to address the demographic changes that have shifted the global burden of disease.  It is the world’s largest global health conference not focused on a single disease or health area.

New Interactive Website about Community Health Workers to Launch at the Global Health Council Conference
June 8, 2011

On Tuesday, June 14th, a new website on community health workers (CHWs) was launched at a satellite reception during the 38th Annual International Conference on Global Health. The website, CHW Central (www.chwcentral.org), is an interactive platform that facilitates information- sharing and dialogue about how to support CHWs, who work in communities around the world providing health education and care.  

URC’s Research and Evaluation Director leads seminar on cost-effectiveness in health programs
by Simon Hiltebeitel
June 6, 2011

Dr. Edward Broughton, PhD, MPH, PT, Director of Research and Evaluation for URC’s Health Care Improvement (HCI) Project, led an interactive seminar, “What Cost-Effectiveness Really Means: Economic Analysis for Non-economists,” at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, DC on June 2nd, 2011.

Photo credit: Simon Hiltebeitel
Photo credit: Simon Hiltebeitel
URC staff publish article on Provider Initiated Counseling and Testing (PICT) for HIV in South Africa
June 6, 2011

Two URC staff members published an article, “Provider-Initiated Counseling and Testing (PICT): An Overview,” which outlines the rationale for PICT and provides an overview of the implementation protocol that will equip health care providers with the knowledge required to integrate HCT into routine medical care.  PICT is a key strategy to increase HIV testing and referrals to care, treatment, and prevention services in high burden settings. The authors included Nondumiso Makhunga-Ramfolo, the Project Director for the CDC Counseling and Testing Project in South Africa and URC Vice President Dr. Refiloe Matji, who now directs the TB CAREII project.

Lead article author Nondumiso Makhunga-Ramfolo, Project Director for URC's Counseling and Testing Project in South Africa
Lead article author Nondumiso Makhunga-Ramfolo, Project Director for URC's Counseling and Testing Project in South Africa
Stephen Okiror of Bukedea Health Center in Uganda Wins Best Improvement Report Contest
by Lani Marquez
May 31, 2011

Stephen Okiror, a Clinical Officer employed by the Bukedea District Local Government in Eastern Uganda, submitted the winning entry in the “Best Improvement Report” contest convened by the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) during April 2011.   Mr. Okiror’s report, entitled “Improving Patients’ Retention in HIV Care through Adherence to Scheduled Appointments at Bukedea Health Centre IV, Eastern Uganda,” was selected from among 30 entries in the contest.

Stephen Okiror, the winner of the “Best Improvement Report” contest convened by the HCI Project.
Stephen Okiror, the winner of the “Best Improvement Report” contest convened by the HCI Project.
World Health Day 2011: URC addresses drug-resistant tuberculosis and malaria
by Aida Olkkonen
April 7, 2011

The theme of this year's World Health Day, held annually on April 7th, is “Antimicrobial resistance: no action today, no cure tomorrow.”  According to the World Health Organization, about 440,000 new cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) emerge annually, causing at least 150,000 deaths.  MDR TB is a growing problem in many of the countries where URC works, particularly in countries with a high HIV burden.  URC is helping National Tuberculosis Programs in a number of countries to strengthen their response to MDR TB.

© WHO 2011
© WHO 2011
URC’s Health Care Improvement Project Participation at the 2011 International Forum
by Lanier Weisberg
April 4, 2011

Several members of University Research Co., LLC’s (URC) Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) participated in the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare April 5-8, 2011, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  The International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare brings together 2,000 attendees from over 60 countries to take part in sessions that vary from the basic fundamentals of health quality improvement to the latest thinking in how to improve quality and safety.  

2011 International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Amsterdam © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
2011 International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Amsterdam © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
URC’s Health Care Improvement Project Holds Contest for Best Improvement Reports
by Lanier Weisberg
March 28, 2011

The Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) is searching for improvement report from health care providers and implementers in U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) -assisted countries. Improvement reports are short stories about specific health care improvement experiences in a local setting. HCI is specifically seeking stories for its global database on improving health care.

HCI best improvement reports contest
HCI best improvement reports contest
URC Associate Director for Eastern Europe interviews with Sen. Bill Frist, speaks at cross-national policy event
by Whitney Isenhower and Sarah Whitmarsh
March 27, 2011

Dr. Victor Boguslavsky, Associate Director of the Eastern Europe Region for the USAID Health Care Improvement Project, which is led by URC, recently spoke with former Senator Bill Frist about US-Russia collaborations in health as part of a daylong panel hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

New “Tele-Radio” Program Bridges Health Information Gap in the Philippines
March 23, 2011

The people in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the Philippines face many difficulties in accessing health services such as remote geography, security concerns and limited knowledge of health-related issues. USAID's HealthPRO project has launched a "tele-radio" program in an effort to bridge this information gap.

Suara Kalusugan features guests such as public health personnel and Muslim religious leaders. ©SYHashim/USAID/HealthPRO
Suara Kalusugan features guests such as public health personnel and Muslim religious leaders. ©SYHashim/USAID/HealthPRO
USAID's HealthPRO Launches Health Promotion Caravan in conjunction with the Philippines Department of Health
by Silvia Holschneider and Lanier Weisberg
March 11, 2011

The Philippine’s Department of Health (DOH), with technical assistance from USAID's Health Promotion and Communication Project (HealthPRO), implemented by URC, recently expanded health promotion and service delivery to underserved areas in the Philippines by launching Lakbay Buhay Kalusugan (LBK)  – an innovative customized mobile health clinic to promote family health messages on safe motherhood, child health and nutrition, and family planning throughout the Philippines.

The Lakbay Buhay Kalsugan bus is an innovative customized mobile health clinic to promote family health messages.
The Lakbay Buhay Kalsugan bus is an innovative customized mobile health clinic to promote family health messages.
South African TV show spotlighting the challenges of living with HIV and TB nominated for multiple awards
February 14, 2011

The e.tv adult drama 4Play: sex tips for girls has garnered seven South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) nominations – the highest number for any television drama in this year’s awards.  4Play: sex tips for girls was written and produced by Johannesburg-based Curious Pictures, for Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), an affiliate of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs. The series was funded by USAID and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in part through the USAID TB Project, implemented by University Research Co., LLC.

4Play Stars: Tiffany Jones (Danny), Kgomotso Christopher (Nox) Portia Gumede (Noma), and Mbali Maphumulo (Amira)
4Play Stars: Tiffany Jones (Danny), Kgomotso Christopher (Nox) Portia Gumede (Noma), and Mbali Maphumulo (Amira)
URC Employee’s Article Featured on ChildFund International Website
by Lanier Weisberg
February 4, 2011

Wondwosen Hailu, a University Research Company, LLC (URC) employee, recently contributed a story to the ChildFund International website.  Wondwosen is a URC Quality Improvement Advisor working with ChildFund’s Strengthening Community Safety Nets (SCSN) project in Ethiopia.

Biruk leads the Scout Club, which provides children with life skills, counseling support and recreational activities. Copyright © Ethiopia Scout Association.
Biruk leads the Scout Club, which provides children with life skills, counseling support and recreational activities. Copyright © Ethiopia Scout Association.
Project Spotlight: NuLife — Food & Nutrition Interventions for Uganda
by Mary Nabisere and Margaret Kyenkya
December 15, 2010

Mr. Thabit Obed, a Ugandan coffee farmer who is HIV positive, decided to change the focus of his farming to produce raw materials—groundnuts—for ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to treat malnourished people living with HIV/AIDS, a key goal of a program called NuLife—Food and Nutrition Interventions for Uganda. NuLife is funded by the US Agency for International Development and managed by University Research Co, LLC.

Mr. Thabit Obed mobilized fellow farmers to produce groundnuts for ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to treat malnourished people living with HIV/AIDS
Mr. Thabit Obed mobilized fellow farmers to produce groundnuts for ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to treat malnourished people living with HIV/AIDS
URC Partner RECO Industries wins 2010 Small Scale Investor of the Year in Uganda
December 13, 2010

On Friday, December 10, 2010, RECO Industries, Ltd. was named a 2010 Investor of the Year by the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), for its contribution to the economic and social transformation of Uganda’s community. RECO was the overall winner in the small scale industries category.

Winners at the 2010 Investor of the Year award ceremony in Kampala, Uganda
Winners at the 2010 Investor of the Year award ceremony in Kampala, Uganda
Social Support Program for HIV-positive Women with Children in St. Petersburg, Russia
by Irina Kriukova and Lanier Weisberg
December 1, 2010

In honor of World AIDS Day, the St. Petersburg, Russia City Committee on Social Policy held a press conference on December 1st, 2010, to share the results of the 4-year program to establish a city-wide system of comprehensive treatment, care, and support for HIV affected families in St. Petersburg.

URC helped develop standards for social service delivery to HIV-infected women with children in St. Petersburg
URC helped develop standards for social service delivery to HIV-infected women with children in St. Petersburg
Listening to Patients -- First-hand Account from Uganda
by Mabel Namwabira Kamoga
December 1, 2010

Mabel Kamoga's work as a Quality Improvement Advisor with the HCI Project supports the Uganda Ministry of Health to implement the Quality of Care Initiative, which aims to improve the quality of HIV services. Over the past ten months, she has worked with 14 facilities to ensure that everyone who receives ART (antiretroviral therapy) remains in care. Her work involves visiting facilities to help them form quality improvement teams, identify areas for improvement, plan improvement projects, and measure their performance.

"I learned that listening to the perspective of patients in health care gives them a sense of relief and satisfaction with care." -- Mabel Namwabira Kamoga, Quality Imrpovement Advisor
Integrating TB & HIV Care in Swaziland
by Lungile Dlamini and Lanier Weisberg
December 1, 2010

Lungile Dlamini’s role as a Lay Counselor is part of URC’s work with the national and provincial Departments of Health in South Africa and the Ministry of Health in Swaziland to increase access to HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC). The HTC project, implemented by URC and funded by the Centers for Disease Control, integrates HIV testing with key services – including prenatal and family planning care, services for sexually transmitted infections, and TB care.

“I love my job as a lay counselor and I ensure that every client who walks through my door leaves with more information on TB/HIV co-infection.
“I love my job as a lay counselor and I ensure that every client who walks through my door leaves with more information on TB/HIV co-infection." -- Lungile Dlamini
Nsukka District Hospital's Renovations: Improving Patient Care and Boosting Staff Morale
by Tyavyar Akosu and Bernard Owino
November 18, 2010

Nsukka District Hospital in Enugu, Nigeria was created for the health care needs of the district’s population of over 650,000.  This year the HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Initiative, funded by the Center for Disease Control and implemented by URC, renovated and equipped the Nsukka District Hospital’s laboratory with modern equipment to diagnose and treat HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

Staff and patients now have more confidence in the laboratory services.
Staff and patients now have more confidence in the laboratory services.
URC’s expertise in Health Systems Strengthening highlighted in USAID annual report
October 31, 2010

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s 2010 annual Report to Congress (please hyperlink to report on USAID site) highlighted URC’s contribution to global health efforts, with a particular focus on strengthening health systems.

University Research Co., LLC Celebrates 45th Anniversary: Company Leads Efforts to Improve the Quality of Health Care Around the World
by Brett Andriesen
October 19, 2010

Beginning 45 years ago with a focus on addressing urban public health issues in the US, URC is now a leader in international health reform, quality improvement, behavior change communication, and operations research.

URC staff conducts an assessment in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
URC staff conducts an assessment in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
United States Agency for International Development awards PrevenSIDA Project to URC
October 5, 2010

URC will work to reduce HIV among high-risk populations in Nicaragua through PrevenSIDA, a five-year contract funded by the US Agency for International Development.

Carlos Jarquin, Organizational Development Specialist; Oscar Nuñez,Chief of Party; and Roberto González, Grants/Finance Associate work on the planning stage of the project.
Carlos Jarquin, Organizational Development Specialist; Oscar Nuñez,Chief of Party; and Roberto González, Grants/Finance Associate work on the planning stage of the project.
URC's Dr. M. Rashad Massoud contributes to Global Health Magazine blog
October 1, 2010

URC Senior Vice President and Director of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project, Dr. M. Rashad Massoud, shares his thoughts on the role quality improvement (QI) can play in meeting Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the online Global Health Magazine, published by the Global Health Council.

URC Senior Vice President and Director of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project
URC Senior Vice President and Director of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project
URC to support the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance II project
September 27, 2010

URC will provide support to the Academy for Educational Development, the prime contractor for the USAID Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance II (FANTA-II) project.

URC to lead project to support the sustainable scale-up of HIV/AIDS services in Uganda
September 20, 2010

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) awarded URC a five-year cooperative agreement to support the sustainable scale-up of HIV/AIDS services in Uganda. The Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally Project (SUSTAIN) will work in close collaboration with the Ugandan Ministry of Health (MOH) to ensure continued provision of quality HIV/AIDS diagnosis, treatment, and care at 11 regional referral hospitals and 13 district hospitals throughout the country, reaching a total of over 26,000 patients.

URC Participates in 2010 International AIDS Conference
July 30, 2010

Several URC staff members participated in the 18th annual AIDS conference, which was held in Vienna, Austria, from July 18-23, 2010. Nine URC staff members presented posters.

URC Namibia Chief of Party co-authors article on detecting HIV in infants to inform Tanzania's program
June 29, 2010

Dr. Abdallah Aziz, URC Chief of Party in Namibia, co-authored an article on work to foster early diagnosis of HIV in infants in Tanzania, where less than a third of HIV-infected children estimated to need antiretroviral therapy were receiving it.

USAID and Health Care Improvement Project hosts workshop on improving the quality of care for chronic conditions in Africa
by Brett Andriesen
June 10, 2010

The US Agency for International Development, in partnership with the USAID Health Care Improvement Project, sponsored a workshop in Kampala, Uganda, May 31–June 3, 2010 on how to apply the Chronic Care Model to manage HIV/AIDS in Africa.

USAID | Calidad en Salud: Overcoming Cultural Barriers and Improving Health Care for Guatemala’s Underserved
May 13, 2010

Calidad en Salud, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and managed by URC, improved the quality of and broadened access to clinical health services, particularly for traditionally underserved populations, in Guatemala’s remote highland regions.

Even simple, incremental changes can notably improve the quality of health services and save lives, URC’s Dr. Rodrigo Bustamante, Chief of Party, told participants at a conference held in September 2009.

Calidad trained Mayan auxiliary nurse-midwives to recognize obstetrical complications.
Calidad trained Mayan auxiliary nurse-midwives to recognize obstetrical complications.
Calidad en Salud Project in Guatemala Innovates Ways to Communicate Project Results
April 7, 2010

A URC conference took a creative approach in conveying project results that successfully expanded the availability and improved the quality of family planning and child health services in Guatemala. The conference featured results from Calidad en Salud, a USAID-funded project that partnered with the Guatemalan Ministry of Health to improve health care services.

A nutritionist (right) shows conference attendees how to prepare complementary foods for young children.
A nutritionist (right) shows conference attendees how to prepare complementary foods for young children.

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