The Global Fund has been backing away from efforts to promote generic competition

Reprinted from original source, Global Fund Observer, Issue 284 6 April 2016: The Global Fund has been backing away from efforts to promote generic competition  Fund’s strategy has come under growing scrutiny by Nathalie Abejero With progressively stricter patent protections, the costs for new treatments continue to rise. It is a global problem that affects countries across income levels, but is particularly challenging for poor and transitioning economies. Until recently, The Global Fund has advocated for the affordability, availability, and financing of medicines and other health commodities, taking the time-tested position of promoting generic competition as the most effective means for bringing down the price of … [Read more...]

Touring Cambodia: Assessment of process quality in health facilities

After 3 years, our quality assessment system was finally endorsed by the Ministry of Health [yey]! Then came the task to collect baseline data in all USAID-supported areas by year's end [gulp]! That's 33 questionnaires to administer, 80 enumerators fresh out of medical, midwifery and nursing schools to train, and over 601(!) public health facilities across 9 provinces to assess. It's an enormous logistical feat, and my team made it happen just in time for tonight's countdown at Angkor Wat! Having a proud professional moment :-) Happy new year indeed! … [Read more...]

Silent courage of mothers in rural Cambodia

Welcome to the March 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Everyday Superheroes This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the remarkable people and characteristics that have touched their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants... Nothing against workdays at the office. There’s something to be said for air-conditioned comfort when the blistering sun and uneven roads await activities that donors have pledged tax dollars for. Besides, all the preparatory, follow-up and administrative work is necessary. But fieldwork is where the action is - where meaningful … [Read more...]

Persistent myths about foreign aid

No, we do not spend 28% of the budget on aid. The actual figure is less than 0.7% (eg less than 1%). There's no shortage of polls that demonstrate just how uninformed people are on a range of everyday topics. I certainly might bump the stats against Americans myself if interviewed. But a curious myth that just won't die is how much of the budget Americans think goes to foreign aid. With so many clarifications across news and edutainment sources, why do people hold on to the belief that foreign aid is bankrupting the country?? No, foreign aid is not all about altruism. There must be hundreds of (google-able) essays on the objectives of foreign aid, and it isn't about helping the poor. Perhaps people on the ground, like me for … [Read more...]

Democrats and Republicans on Foreign Aid

A useful article on the differences between the platforms on US foreign aid. Especially interesting for my field is the debate on where to park Obama's signature Global Health Initiative. This year a decision was made to maintain its diplomacy focus by parking it in the State Department (versus transferring it to USAID, the USG's development agency). The discussion is an interesting one because it explores the nature of US foreign aid, which is managed by multiple USG agencies. … [Read more...]

Medical consent form – Lost in translation?

This is the English translation of a surgery consent form included in the hospital guidelines. It has the gist, but perhaps it isn't quite what the writer meant..? … [Read more...]

Healthy baby girl, FREE to whoever can feed her

As a mom, it tears at my heart. It was shocking at the same time that I know it meant a better life for the baby. It's commonplace, but I don't often personally see or hear of it. A woman gave birth to a healthy baby girl around 7am, at a health center where we were field-testing some questionnaires. Usually anyone admitted to a facility is accompanied by throngs of family members, who provide the care to the patient that back home would be done by health staff (eg providing meals, making sure medicines are taken, changing the dressings etc). But there was no one with this very young mother. She was thin, ragged, and very weak. She breastfed the baby a bit, on prompting by the staff, but by evening someone noticed that she hadn't eaten … [Read more...]

Chlong tonle – the other side of the river is so far for some women in Cambodia

A woman died today after giving birth to a healthy baby boy. We came to the health facility and saw her just in time to see the life fade from her eyes after hemorrhaging in the ward where there were four midwives and an obstetrician on duty. Only one staff was attending to the patient at the time of death - a student midwife. The student claimed she told the staff, but they were busy with other patients. The staff corroborated this. The fact that there was no prioritization for the emergency case is testament to how dysfunctional the health sector still is, and how poor the capacity of health staff are that this is allowed to happen. There won't be a maternal audit, or changes to standard operating procedures, because this facility is not … [Read more...]