Women, newborns, and children are the health system.
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MSH Global Health Impact
March 2016 (Issue 3)

Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health: Stronger hEALTH Systems Save Lives

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman}
Photo: Mark Tuschman

A woman. A newborn. A child. In many countries, their basic health and rights are tenuous. 

These women, newborns, and children are the health system.

A woman is ostracized: abandoned by her husband, her family, and her community. She suffered a fistula after giving birth to her son. After 20-plus years, an operation repairs her fistula; now, she is teaching again, and a part of the community.

An elementary-age girl learns about the benefits of optimal breastfeeding and nutrition in school, and shares the knowledge with her mother, who quickly adopts the practices with the girl’s new baby brother. The mother also applies the lessons to better nutrition for her older children, joins an Infant and Young Child Feeding Support Group, and helps educate her community on best practices.

A midwife at a rural health center takes a leadership course on midwifery management. She stays in touch with support and peer networks through her mobile phone -- and What'sApp. She and her team apply this same mobile technology concept to educate and support HIV-positive postnatal women to stay on antiretroviral treatment, preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV to their newborns.

Read their stories below. 

From households to communities to facilities to nations, MSH and partners are helping low- and middle-income countries build stronger health systems that improve maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH). Our MNCH interventions reach women throughout the lifecycle: from pre-pregnancy, to during pregnancy, through the postpartum period, to newborns,  through childhood, and at each level of the health system. Our MNCH work is integrated with family planning, HIV, TB, and malaria health services, with attention to quality and respectful care.

In this issue, see five ways to sustain high-impact and high-coverage MNCH interventions that significantly improve the health of large human populations and become part of the timeless fabric of their families, communities, and health system.

P.S. Don’t miss the new resources for health workers, midwives, program managers, ministries of health, and more. See a sampling below or find more on


Five Keys to Ensuring Sustainability of High-Impact, Scalable MNCH Programs

by Luis Tam
Five keys to sustainable, high-impact, scalable MNCH programs {Photo credit: Tuschman}
Photo: Mark Tuschman
What are the keys to sustaining high-impact, scalable MNCH programs? Dr. Luis Tam, MSH's Global Technical Lead on MNCH, tells all.

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Learn from the Children: A Young Student Helps her Mother Better Nourish the Family

DRC: Learn from the Children [Photo: MSH]
Photo: MSH staff
Equipped with knowledge from a trained community health worker, a fifth-grader in Ndekesha health zone, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), instructs her mother in the practice of breastfeeding and child nutrition.

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Video: Beatrice's Story

Beatrice's Story
Beatrice, a school teacher who suffered from fistula for many years after the difficult birth of her son is no longer in pain, has returned to teaching, and has regained control of her bodily functions, thanks to MSH and partners intervening through the USAID-funded Integrated Health Project (IHP).

mHealth and Leadership Skills Helping Midwives Improve Service Delivery for MNCH and HIV

Zimbabwe: Helping HIV-positive postnatal mothers adhere to antiretroviral treatment {Photo: Amref Health Africa}
Small-scale use of mobile phone technology, including WhatsApp, is supporting health workers in 10 developing countries overcome day-to-day challenges and effectively deliver health services, especially in rural communities.

(Pictured: Mary, a midwife, led the Mucheke Community Health Center team that improved health service delivery and MNCH indicators in their community in Zimbabwe.)  

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Photo: Amref Health Africa

Honduras: Involving Male Partners to Support Improved Women’s and Family Health

Zimbabwe: Helping HIV-positive postnatal mothers adhere to antiretroviral treatment {Photo: Amref Health Africa}
In Southern Honduras, men in remote communities are learning the value of maternal and reproductive health and family planning.  

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Photo: MSH staff


Celebrating Ten Years of Health Impact in Nigeria

{Photo: Warren Zelman}
Photo: MSH staff

For over 10 years, MSH has partnered with the Nigerian government to strengthen health systems and improve access to, and use of, quality health and social welfare services.

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Advocating for Better Health of Women, Newborns, Children, and Youth: FCI Program of MSH

by Julia Marion
[Photo: Catherine Lalonde/MSH]
Photo: Catherine Lalonde/MSH

“We fit together so well because MSH’s work to strengthen health systems is absolutely essential to fostering the health equity and accountability for which FCI [Family Care International] was always such a powerful advocacy voice,” says Amy Boldosser-Boesch, senior technical director, of the new FCI program of MSH, launched in January 2016.

“And our team’s work to strengthen civil society and community voices, and to bring the power of evidence into global and national health dialogues, is equally essential to building sustainable health systems that truly meet the needs of all citizens.”

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More News

DRC Moves to Improve Access to Life-Saving Commodities for Mothers and Children

DRC 13 commodities {Photo credit: Rebecca Weaver/MSH}
For the first time in the DRC, 13 life-saving health commodities for mothers and children have been included in the National Health Development Plan, which will guide interventions for the health sector for five years.
Photo: Rebecca Weaver/MSH

Tuberculosis in Children: Ending a Global Epidemic

map of Afghanistan
A new analysis shows that a persistent divide between policy and practice threatens progress gained for addressing childhood TB in 12 African countries and across the region. Maternal and child health programs are critical for curbing TB. The analysis was a collaboration between USAID and the African Strategies for Health (ASH) project, led by MSH.
MSH Country Teams Introducing a New Fixed-Dose Combination for Treating Childhood TB {Photo: Rui Pires}
In 10 high-burden countries, children with TB will soon have access to a new pediatric formulation for treatment.
Photos: MSH staff (top). Rui Pires (bottom).

InterAction’s "Choose to Invest" Features MSH Successes

InterAction's annual "Choose to Invest" is an invaluable resource for the US Congress, pairing development funding recommendations with examples of demonstrated impact of investments. The fiscal year 2016 publication features MSH-led health impact on nutrition (DRC) and pediatric TB (Bangladesh).

Defeating Pneumonia: Achieving Medication Adherence

Adherence to and completion of treatment for pneumonia with amoxicillin dispersible tablets depends on caregivers -- and the health workers who explain to them -- having a clear understanding of how to administer the medicine to their children, including the correct dosage, frequency, and timing of treatment as well as how to disperse the tablets.


MSH at Women Deliver 2016

Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, MSH President & CEO, will present a TED-style talk on a “To the Point” plenary at Women Deliver’s 4th Global Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2016 conference will bring together world leaders, policymakers, and young people from May 16-19 to advance the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women. MSH, a gold sponsor of Women Deliver 2016, is co-leading three session clusters (NCDs Along the Lifecourse; Data, Accountability and Advocacy; and Quality of Care); presenting at the exhibit hall; hosting a concurrent US Congressional Study Tour, and more. 

RMNCH Quantification Supplement Webinar: April 5

Learn how to estimate your country's needs for underused reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) commodities in this free webinar on April 5, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., US Eastern Time.


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Saving lives and improving health
of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people
by closing the gap between knowledge and action in public health.
We envision a world where everyone has the opportunity for a healthy life.
GuidestarManagement Sciences for Health (MSH) uses proven approaches developed over 40 years to help leaders, health managers, and communities in developing nations build stronger health systems for greater health impact. We work to save lives by closing the gap between knowledge and action in public health. Since its founding in 1971, MSH has worked in over 150 countries with policymakers, health professionals, and health care consumers to improve the quality, availability, and affordability of health services.

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