Zambia: Power of Partnerships
Irene Sinzi stood eagerly outside of her home in the village of Mufumbwe, in Zambia's North-Western province, waiting to receive her insecticide-treated net. It was an important day for Irene and her one-year-old child, as the Government of Zambia is undertaking the mass distribution of nearly nine million nets, simultaneously distributing them to all provinces across the country.
"I've had malaria before and it was terrible," said the 21-year old mother. "I'm so happy because this mosquito net will protect us from malaria."
Working together with donors, the UN community, faith-based organizations, civil society, and the private sector, the national mass distribution plan covers all of the country's ten provinces, striving to reach 8.2 million people.
The Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) and the Ministry of Health are currently organizing door-to-door distributions to every household so that people receive the right number of nets to cover their families.
As part of the effort, the Global Fund has supported the procurement and delivery of 4.8 million nets to six provinces. Drawing on their logistical experience, WFP along with UNDP and UNICEF worked side-by-side with the Government of Zambia to make this project a success. Other key partners involved in the coordination effort include U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, WHO and Malaria Control and Elimination Partnership in Africa (MACEPA).
Each partner played a key role so that between mid-April and the beginning of August, 100 percent of the nets had been dispatched from Tanzania and delivered to health centers across Zambia. As the Principal Recipient of Global Funds grants, UNDP ensured the program's successful design, implementation and monitoring, and contracted UNICEF to head the procurement and manufacturing of the nets in Arusha, Tanzania. WFP then transported them to 980 health centers in Zambia.
Delivery of millions of nets across hundreds of kilometers was a challenge made even more difficult by complex supply chains, difficult road conditions and remote locations. But the power of partnerships - each player bringing special expertise to the task - brought the nets to their destinations on time.
Health workers and community volunteers are now working together to hand out the nets, fulfilling the Zambian government's goal of covering all sleeping spaces.
Irene and her baby finally reached the front of the line and the precious net landed in her hands. With a smile, she turned and started home with it, knowing she and her baby would sleep more peacefully that night.
Learning to Listen
A community has a successful malaria prevention program, and wants to expand to other districts. A local group of sex workers needs access to HIV prevention and treatment services, but is hesitant about going to the government health clinic. Migrants working in a mine are getting TB, but fear that going to a doctor could mean deportation. Each of these situations could benefit from technical assistance for civil society organizations, key population networks, women's networks and organizations representing people living with the diseases, specifically around issues of community, rights and gender.
Partners in global health agree that ending HIV, TB and malaria as public health threats will depend on seeing that interventions reach the people who need them most. And successful interventions are often designed not only with the needs of these key populations in mind, but with their active participation throughout the process - from design and development to implementation and oversight.
Country dialogue and community engagement are a critical part of successful grants that support prevention and treatment and care for people affected by HIV, TB and malaria. Engaging and including representatives of key populations and networks, and ensuring that issues of gender, of human rights and of community strengthening are taken into consideration are critical for achieving impact.
In order to see that key populations get access to the knowledge and information needed, the Global Fund is now facilitating access to technical assistance for civil society organizations, key population networks, women's networks and organizations representing people living with the diseases, specifically around issues of community, rights and gender. Organizations and networks can also develop a request in collaboration with their Country Coordinating Mechanism. Technical assistance on community, rights and gender may include situational analysis and needs assessment, engagement in country dialogue, and supporting program design
Technical assistance will be provided by civil society and key population networks and organizations. Where possible, technical assistance providers will be from the same country as the requesting organization. For more information, and to request assistance on issues of community, rights and gender, visit the website here. A request form can be completed and emailed to CRGTA@theglobalfund.org.
Banking on Health Systems
South Sudan has launched its first blood bank, marking a new era of safer blood and blood products. The blood bank was unveiled on 08 July, in a week when the country marked its third birthday. The country also launched new national and regional laboratories, a promise for faster and more efficient diagnostic services.
Inaugurating the new facilities, President Salva Kiir said strengthening the health services of his country will be key to meeting the Millennium Development Goals, especially on maternal mortality. The eastern African nation has the worst reported maternal mortality rate in the world.
South Sudan, the newest nation in the world, which has an on-going conflict between government and rebels, is grappling with challenges of building stronger health systems. Before the completion of the blood bank and the laboratory, blood samples would be sent to the neighboring countries for diagnosis of common diseases. Bringing the services home will make a big difference for the people of the country. "We are now better equipped to save the lives of mothers giving birth or people in need of immediate blood transfusion," said the country's minister of health, Dr. Riek Gai Kok.
Supported by the Global Fund in partnership with UNDP, the laboratories and the blood bank cost US$ 1.5 million. The blood bank is expected to safeguard blood supply and to eliminate unintended transmission of HIV caused by transfusions with tainted blood, said UNDP Acting Country Director Mulugeta Abebe.
Marion Gleixner, Senior Fund Portfolio Manager for South Sudan at the Global Fund, hailed the partnership among the government of South Sudan, UNDP, the U.S. Government and the Global Fund, which she said is delivering great results to the people of the country.
"This launch demonstrates the power of partnerships in helping to improve diagnostic services in South Sudan across a range of diseases including HIV, tuberculosis and malaria," she said. "The hard work and commitment that went into the completion of the blood bank and public health laboratory is laudable."