|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.
|Request for Proposals: Solicitation Number FY14-RFP03-6012
April 11, 2014
The SSQH-Nord Project anticipates issuing a fixed-price subcontract to facilitate the sustainable delivery of health services by the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) at the primary care and community level via the verification and payment of contracted service providers and operational costs of the Departmental Health Directorates (DDS) and the Zone Ciblée (ZC).
|USAID FRONTLINES highlights Social Health Protection Project's work to alleviate poverty with health insurance
by URC Communications team
April 9, 2014
USAID's Frontlines magazine featured an article by Tapley Jordanwood, URC's Chief of Party in Cambodia for the USAID Social Health Protection Project. In "Lifting Cambodia’s Poorest Out of Poverty with Health Insurance", Mr. Jordanwood introduces families whose participation in the Health Equity Fund insurance program has saved money--and lives.
|URC to Lead Quality Health Services Project in Cambodia, Continue Improving Systems for Maternal and Newborn Health
by Christina Zola, Communications Specialist
March 25, 2014
Through the USAID Quality Health Services project, URC will build on more than a decade of work in Cambodia to strengthen reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition care and systems. The URC-led project team will draw on and scale up successful initiatives started under USAID Cambodia’s recently ended Better Health Services (BHS) project, which was also managed by URC. In addition, the team will apply the knowledge and systems built during BHS to create new capacity-building activities in areas where critical gaps remain.
|URC Programs Recognize World TB Day 2014
by URC Staff
March 24, 2014
URC programs participated in World TB Day, March 24, 2014, to raise awareness of TB. URC program activities spanned the weeks leading up to World TB Day and, in some cases, extended to the end of the month. The following is a summary of URC’s participation in TB awareness-raising events, with links to additional information.
|A New Path Forward for Haiti’s Vulnerable Children: Partners Unite in Effort to Help Haiti’s Children in Need
by By Daniel Joseph, Orphans and Vulnerable Children Quality Improvement Advisor, and Christina Zola, Communications Specialist
March 14, 2014
Representatives from Haitian
Ministries and national and international partner organizations convened recently in Port-au-Prince to sign a significant memorandum of understanding that will foster
cooperation in their efforts to improve the conditions of children’s lives in
Haiti. URC urged the assembled organizations to participate in this open initiative, led by IBESR.
|International Women's Day 2014: Equality for Women Is Progress for All
by Christina Zola, communications specialist
March 7, 2014
March 8th marks International
Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women’s achievements and advocate for
equality in health, home and career, with dignity and respect. URC
is proud to highlight two of its key programs that ensure that women can access
health services that are both cost-effective and patient centered: TRAction and ASSIST
|The Value of Midwives: CHS Program Selected by Ecuadorean Government for National Scale-up
by Yvette Castro-Green, Program Development Consultant and Rebecca Oser, Director of Communications
March 4, 2014
Maternal and infant mortality is a serious problem in Ecuador. In 2011 alone, 241 women died from pregnancy complications and 3,046 children died before their first birthday, according to figures from Ecuador’s National Institute of Statistics and Census.
|Request for Proposals: Solicitation Number FY14-RFP02-6012
February 28, 2014
The SSQH-Nord Project anticipates issuing a fixed-price subcontract to support the development, introduction and management of mobile health (mHealth) and technology solutions designed to improve management of community health worker performance, use of data for quality improvement, patient referrals, community mobilization, and commodity tracking.
|URC Affiliate Launches New English Literacy Instruction Program in Pennsylvania
February 14, 2014
Building on its long-standing history of offering English literacy instruction, URC's non-profit affiliate, the Center for Human Services (CHS), has launched a new fee-based English-as-a-second-language (ESL) program in Pennsylvania. The program will offer customized ESL instruction to companies wanting to give their employees an opportunity to improve their English in closed groups on-site. All aspects of the program, including content, timing, group size and location, will be tailor-made to meet the company’s requirements.
|Nutri-Salud Contributes Article to USAID "Learning in Action" Series
February 11, 2014
The Nutri-Salud: Community Nutrition and Health project recently contributed an article to USAID Learning Lab’s “Learning in Action” series, which intends to paint a more detailed picture of what learning looks like in practice. Following a previous article written by the USAID Mission in Guatemala, the Nutri-Salud article offers insights from the implementing partner perspective. In an engaging question-and-answer format, Nutri-Salud Chief of Party Elena Hurtado discusses how the project has embedded collaboration and learning within its implementation as it seeks to expand coverage of quality, integrated primary health care services and engage communities and local government in improved health and nutrition.
|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.
|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.
|USAID Selects URC to Manage Global Early Grade Reading Project
January 6, 2014
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has selected URC to manage a global early grade reading project to support Goal One of USAID’s Education Strategy 2011–2015: improving the reading skills of 100 million primary school children by 2015. The new five-year, $10 million project will support the development of a Primary Grade Reading Community of Practice, the implementation of a research agenda and the piloting of innovations to improve and promote the effectiveness and sustainability of early grade reading interventions at scale.
|URC to Play Important Role in USAID’s Resilience and Economic Growth Project
December 18, 2013
URC will play an important role in a new project to increase resilience and economic growth in the Sahel, the semi-arid region of western and north-central Africa extending from Senegal eastward to the Sudan. The five-year project, which is funded by USAID and led by NCBA CLUSA International, aims to increase the resilience of chronically vulnerable people, households, communities, and systems in targeted agricultural areas in Niger and Burkina Faso. Resilience will be achieved through 1) increased and sustainable well-being, 2) strengthened institutions and governance, and 3) improved health and nutrition. URC will manage the project’s health and nutrition component.
|ASSIST Relays Project Impact to Tanzania’s National Quality Improvement Forum
by Delphina Ntangeki, Knowledge Management and Communication Advisor, ASSIST Tanzania
December 11, 2013
Dr. M. Rashad Massoud, USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project Director and URC Senior Vice President for the Quality & Performance Institute, gave the keynote at the 3rd National Quality Improvement (QI) Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The forum welcomed over 300 participants from within and outside Tanzania to share knowledge and best practices as a way of harvesting improvement innovations and experiences from different countries. Highlighting the work of the USAID ASSIST Project, Dr. Massoud’s address focused on “Quality Improvement in Health Service Management.” In addition to Dr. Massoud’s presentations, several URC staff from the ASSIST and Tibu Homa (febrile illness) projects made the presentations.
|USAID ASSIST Project and Partners Lead Session on Health Worker Training at Human Resources for Health Conference
December 5, 2013
Dr. Tana Wuliji, senior quality improvement advisor on the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project, joined key partners in presenting a special session on health worker training at the Third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Recife, Brazil, in November. In partnership with the International Training and Education Centre for Health (I-TECH), Jhpiego, USAID Capacity Plus, and the CDC-supported African Regulatory Collaborative, the ASSIST team addressed health worker in-service training (IST), efficiency, and sustainability by examining and harvesting good practices and lessons learned. IST is on-the-job instruction designed to strengthen health worker competence and performance.
|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).
|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.
|Underage Drinking Prevention Project to Manage SAMHSA’s 2014 Town Hall Meetings Initiative
by Barbara Kosogof, Deputy Director, Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives and Niambi Wilder, URC Communications Specialist
November 27, 2013
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will sponsor a fifth round of Town Hall Meetings next year to prevent underage drinking. URC will plan, implement, and manage the initiative through the Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives (UADPEI) project, which ICF International leads. Town Hall Meetings are bi-annual events sponsored by SAMHSA and hosted by community-based organizations nationwide to educate community members on the consequences of underage drinking; empower communities to make environmental changes to prevent underage drinking; and mobilize communities around underage drinking prevention initiatives at the local, state, and national levels. Many organizations that hosted meetings in 2012 will do so again in 2014, moving communities from awareness to action.
|URC Wins MCC Contract to Improve Guatemala’s Education Sector
by Douglas Kerr, Vice President of Opportunity Development and Communications, and Niambi Wilder, Communications Specialist
November 26, 2013
In anticipation of awarding a Threshold Program to the Government of Guatemala, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has chosen URC to conduct an analysis of Guatemala’s education sector, to design future educational programming, and (as an option) to provide technical assistance to education programming over three years. Before entering into country Compacts, MCC focuses on specific, targeted issue areas to boost a country’s eligibility for Compact award. Educational quality in Guatemala is among the weakest in Latin America, and so URC’s new MCC-funded educational assessment and program design activities will allow us to extend our mission of addressing poverty and improving the quality of life in Guatemala, where we have managed development programming for more than 20 years.
|URC and Haitian Government Launch National Quality Service Guidelines for Vulnerable Children
by Diana Chamrad, URC Senior Quality Improvement Advisor, and Niambi Wilder, URC Communications Specialist
November 21, 2013
Through the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) and in collaboration with the Haitian government, URC hosted an event to launch Haiti’s national guidelines for providing quality services to vulnerable children on November 20 in Port-au-Prince. US Ambassador to Haiti Pamela A. White and representatives from the US and Haitian governments and implementing partners attended the event.
|HIV Care Improvement Work Positively Affects Children at Day Care Center in Tanzania
by Delphina Ntangeki, Knowledge Management and Communications Specialist, URC Tanzania
November 19, 2013
URC’s USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) began supporting Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in 2010. The objective was to build health workers’ capacity to apply quality improvement approaches to improve health care services at health facilities in Iringa, one of the country’s 30 administrative regions. But for health workers at Nzihi Health Centre, the training did more than just improve the services they provided. After conducting their first outreach clinic for under-five children at the privately owned Kidamali Kipera Farms (KK Farms) at Kidamali Village, they realized that their knowledge of quality improvement could improve health in the community from outside the health facility.
|Scaling Up: Ecuadorian Ministry of Health Mobilizes Resources to Improve National Maternal and Newborn Care
November 18, 2013
The Ecuadorian Ministry of Health (MOH) is scaling up an innovative essential obstetric and newborn care (EONC) model piloted by the USAID-funded EONC Networks Project in Cotopaxi province. The project, which is managed by the Center for Human Services (CHS), designed and implemented the model in close alliance with the MOH, USAID, and national and provincial NGOs, providers, and users. The model used improvement approaches to implement evidence-based maternal and newborn health (MNH) interventions, which yielded significant improvements in MNH services. As a result, the Ministry issued a national policy making the application of the EONC networks approach mandatory throughout the country’s entire health care system. The Ministry also assigned a special budget to the scale-up to ensure sustainability. CHS is supporting scale-up planning and training efforts, as well as the development of the guidelines and tools needed to make the scale-up successful.
|URC Designs HPV Vaccine Trial to Combat Cervical Cancer in Mongolia
by Kerrianne Monahan, URC Project Coordinator, and Niambi Wilder, URC Communications Specialist
November 7, 2013
Through the Implementation
Support for Non-Communicable Diseases and Injuries project, URC supported the Mongolian government’s
efforts to introduce the human papilloma
virus (HPV) vaccine and combat the country’s high incidence of cervical
cancer: Mongolia has the
highest incidence of cervical cancer in Eastern Asia. The HPV vaccine has proven effective in preventing up to 70
percent of cervical cancer cases. The project, which is funded
by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, worked
with the Millennium Challenge Account Implementing Unit and the Ministry
Health’s National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD) to design and
implement an HPV vaccine trial.
|Making Family Planning More Available in Manyara Region, Tanzania
by Delphina Ntangeki, Knowledge Management and Communications Specialist, URC Tanzania
November 6, 2013
Tanzania’s unmet need for family planning—including for people living with HIV—remains high, hovering near 25%. URC recognized that integrating HIV and family planning services would likely improve service uptake and therefore led efforts to do so at five hospitals in Manyara region early last year.
|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.
|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 Second Regional Psychosocial Support Forum
by Niambi Wilder, URC Communications Specialist
October 29, 2013
URC is participating in the second Regional Psychosocial Support Forum from October 29-31 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) and the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) are co-hosting the forum, which has a theme of “Mainstreaming Psychosocial Support in Child Protection: Linking Evidence and Practice.”
|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.
|Nutri-Salud Gains Project C.U.R.E. Support to Strengthen Guatemalan Health Care
by Kevin Embrey, Nutri-Salud Program Officer; and Niambi Wilder, URC Communications Specialist
October 24, 2013
The USAID Community
Nutrition and Health (Nutri-Salud) Project recently received
more than $300,000 in medical equipment from Project C.U.R.E. to equip health facilities and strengthen primary health care services
in Guatemala’s western highlands. USAID coordinated the equipment’s shipment
|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.)
|USAID Assistant Administrator Visits URC’s Community Nutrition and Health Project in Guatemala
by Lucía Mayorga, Communications Assistant, Nutri-Salud; Nancy Newton, Senior Advisor, Behavior Change & Communication, URC; and Niambi Wilder, Communications Specialist, URC
October 18, 2013
USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez
visited URC’s Community
Nutrition and Health (Nutri-Salud) Project in Guatemala last month to learn
how agency-supported projects, like Nutri-Salud,
are implementing health and nutrition activities in the area. Nutri-Salud Chief of Party
Elena Hurtado and URC Country Director Hernán Delgado accompanied Dr.
Pablos-Méndez, along with representatives from the USAID
Mission, including Health and Education Office Director Eric Janowsky. The delegates visited one of the Convergence
centers that Nutri-Salud supports in Quiché and observed health care providers at
|URC’s Research and Evaluation Director Presents at American Evaluation Association Conference
October 17, 2013
URC’s Director of Research and Evaluation, Dr. Edward Broughton, is presenting at the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Conference in Washington, DC, this week. The conference brings together over 3000 evaluators from various fields to share knowledge about evaluation practices. Dr. Broughton's presentations focus on cost-effectiveness analysis and health data validity.
|URC Staff Participate in International Conference on Quality in Health Care
October 13, 2013
Several URC staff are participating in the 30th International Conference on Quality in Health Care from October 13–16 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The conference, hosted by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), focuses on population health and offers an opportunity for over 1000 delegates from 70 countries to share expertise and knowledge via a multidisciplinary forum. Our conference presentations provide a sample of our current health care quality improvement work.
|URC President Featured in Professional Services Council's Magazine
October 10, 2013
URC President Barbara N. Turner is featured in this month’s Service Contractor magazine, published by the Professional Services Council (PSC.) Ms. Turner’s article, “Being Successful in a Mentor-Protégée Relationship,” shares guiding principles for fostering a successful business relationship like the one URC has with its small business protégée, Women Influencing Health Education and Rule of Law, LLC (WI-HER), for which URC received the first ever Excellence in Mentorship Award from the US Agency for International Development.
|Health Workers Use New Mobile Application to Improve Contraceptive Prevalence in Benin
by Sara Riese, Research Advisor, USAID Translating Research into Action Project; Yetondji Houeyetongnon, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, PRISE-C; and Niambi Wilder, Communications Specialist, URC
October 8, 2013
The Partnership for Community Management of Child Health (PRISE-C) project recently piloted an innovative mobile health (mHealth) application among community health workers (CHWs) and health center staff to improve contraceptive prevalence in Benin’s Toffo and Zè communes. The “Texting for Maternal Wellbeing” pilot equipped seven CHWs and two health center staff (a midwife and a nurse) with mobile phones with an application for data collection and case management.
|URC Senior Quality Improvement Advisor Addresses Women’s Mental Health in Europe and Eurasia at Global Mental Health Forum
by Niambi Wilder, Communications Specialist, URC
October 7, 2013
URC Senior Quality Improvement Advisor Dr. Diana Chamrad addressed women’s mental health during the inaugural Global Mental Health Forum in London, England, last month. She presented findings from a report documenting the depression and alcohol abuse results from a larger study on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Albania, Armenia, Georgia, and Russia.
|URC Leads New USAID Project to Improve Haitians’ Health Status
October 7, 2013
URC is leading a new project in
Haiti, a country with complex public health issues, including decentralization,
HIV/AIDS, and cholera, to
improve the population’s health status. The three-year project,
called Quality Health Services for
(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.)
|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.
|URC Staff Member Discusses Affordable Care Act with US President Barack Obama
October 2, 2013
URC staff member Cintya Renderos met with US President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the White House Oval Office this week to discuss the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Renderos, who volunteers as the Deputy State Director and Vice President of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) for DC, spoke about the important role the law will play in decreasing health disparities in the Latino community and discussed LULAC’s efforts to encourage constituent enrollment in the health insurance programs that became available through www.healthcare.gov on October 1, 2013.
|USAID ASSIST Project Announces Journal Series on Health Worker Training
by Tana Wuliji, Senior Quality Improvement Advisor for Healthcare Workforce Development, Australia Representative, Quality and Performance Institute, and Communications Staff, URC
October 1, 2013
The USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) project announces a new journal series about health worker in-service training (IST), which is on-the-job instruction designed to strengthen health worker competence and performance. Two articles from the series, called “Improving the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of health worker in-service training: Closing the gaps between evidence, practice and outcomes,” are now available through the open-access journal Human Resources for Health. Three more articles will be published over the next few months.
|Webinar: Scaling up High Impact Interventions
by Myriah Lesko, ASSIST Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications
September 27, 2013
On Tuesday, 1 October 2013 at 9:00, join M. Rashad Massoud, Director of the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project and URC Senior Vice President of the Quality & Performance Institute, for an open webinar on “Scaling up High Impact Interventions”. The webinar has been coordinated and will be broadcast by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua). Registration is free but space is limited. If you cannot attend during time of broadcast, the webinar will be available for viewing on the ISQua website.
|Supply Chain and Logistics Management Systems
by Luigi Jaramillo, Senior Technical Advisor
September 25, 2013
For over 30 years, University Research Co. LLC (URC) has been supporting international public and private sector organizations in strengthening their supply chain and logistics management systems for drugs and medical supplies. In doing so, we have provided technical assistance to Ministries of Health, other government agencies, and local NGOs in countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
|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.
|Performance Incentives Spur Improvements in Beninese Health Care
by PISAF project staff and Beth Goodrich, Senior Editor
September 16, 2013
A recent report from the Integrated Family Health Program (PISAF) found significant improvements in key indicators when performance-based incentives (PBIs) were put in place. For example, one region demonstrated an increase from 35.7% to 99% in the proportion of newborns for whom at least 80% of monitoring norms were met in the first 6 hours after birth.
|Ecuadorian Ministry of Health Adopts URC Affiliate's Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care Model
by Kathleen Hill, Deputy Director, USAID ASSIST Project, and Communication Department staff
September 6, 2013
The Ecuadorian Ministry of Health (MOH) plans to expand the Essential Obstetric and Neonatal Care (EONC) network model countrywide. The model is part of a national initiative to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. Since 2009, URC's nonprofit affiliate, the Center for Human Services (CHS), piloted the model to improve equitable coverage and quality of essential maternal and newborn health care services. With support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Child Survival and Health Grants Program (CSHGP), CHS designed and implemented the model in close alliance with the national and provincial MOH, USAID, PVO/NGOs, providers, and users.
|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.
|URC Collaborated on Developing Criteria for Centers of Excellence in Family Planning and Reproductive Health in Jordan
by Communication staff in collaboration with former colleagues from the Jordan Health Care Accreditation Project
August 21, 2013
URC’s Jordan Health Care Accreditation Project (JHAP) worked with key stakeholders to develop criteria for health care clinics specializing in reproductive health and family planning. JHAP’s purpose was to establish a strong system of quality assurance and accreditation to address changing health needs and to sustain health care improvements. From 2007 to 2012, JHAP worked to build the capacity of Jordan’s Health Care Accreditation Council (HCAC), a civil society organization the project helped to establish and build. HCAC, the only accreditation body in the Middle East represented on the Accreditation Council of the International Society for Quality in Health Care, aimed to develop health care standards, certify health care professionals, monitor compliance with standards, and award accreditation. With family planning and reproductive health high on the Jordan Ministry of Health policy agenda, HCAC convened a task force of key stakeholders to identify issues underlying unmet family planning needs.
|Douglas Kerr: Pursuing New Opportunities to Further the URC-CHS Mission
August 19, 2013
Douglas Kerr recently joined the company as Vice President for Opportunity Development and Communications.
In his new role, Doug will be responsible for leadership and oversight of the new business and communications teams and for building relationships with partners from the public, private, academic, and international arenas. He will also raise the organization’s visibility through targeted and strategic outreach, including proactive communications and outreach, market research and trends analysis, and country- and regional-level business strategies.
|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.
|URC Plays Lead Role in Latin America and Caribbean Newborn Health Alliance Technical Meeting
by Evelyn Kamgang, Project Coordinator, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health /Family Planning
August 13, 2013
URC played a leading role in organizing and presenting at the bi-annual Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Newborn Health Alliance Technical Meeting held in San Salvador, El Salvador, last month. URC staff contributed to the meeting’s technical content through various presentations and launched the region’s first-ever Communities of Practice on Kangaroo Mother Care, a method of care for low birth weight and premature infants that emphasizes skin-to-skin contact and exclusive breastfeeding.
|URC’s TRAction Project Issues RFA for Recognition of Maternal and Newborn Health Complications
by Marie Donaldson, TRAction Knowledge Management/Research Analyst; and Pisanu Patchimanon, URC Communications Intern
August 6, 2013
URC’s Translating Research into Action (TRAction) Project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) to document community-oriented approaches to improve recognition of and care-seeking for maternal and/or newborn health complications in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Click here for the full RFA with application details.
|URC Recognizes World Breastfeeding Week
by Beth Goodrich, Senior Editor, with contributions from URC staff*
August 1, 2013
URC is pleased to recognize World Breastfeeding Week, held globally in the first week of August to promote the importance of breastfeeding for infant nutrition and health. The theme this year is “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers.” This story summarizes URC’s work to ensure that WHO recommendations are embraced by both health care systems and families and that mothers are supported in their efforts to breastfeed.
|Mawa: Improving Food and Economic Security in Zambia
by Stacy Griswold, URC Project Coordinator
July 31, 2013
“Zambia is one of 22 African countries with the highest burden of under nutrition in children under 5” reports the United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF. In Zambia’s Eastern Province, one of the country’s most agriculturally productive regions, stunting rates among all children under age 5 are over 45% and highest among boys, whose stunting rates are over 51%. It is within this context that Mawa aims to bridge the gap between food security and malnutrition among lactating women and children under age 2 with a focus in the province’s rural communities.
|URC Embarks on Collaboration to Support Vulnerable Children and Families in Africa
by Fridah Wanjiku, URC Communications Intern
July 30, 2013
URC is embarking on a new collaboration with the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) and the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) to support children and families affected by HIV and AIDS in Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Uganda.
|USAID TB CARE II Hosts Workshop on Childhood Drug-Resistant TB in Bangladesh
by Alisha Smith-Arthur, URC Associate Director, Project Support Team, and Pisanu Patchimanon, URC Communications Intern
July 26, 2013
The USAID TB CARE II Project hosted a workshop ultimately aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric, or childhood, drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) in Bangladesh.
|URC Participates in Child Protection Fair during Haiti’s Week of the Child
by Sarah Kim, Communications Assistant, USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems Project, URC
July 24, 2013
in a Child Protection Fair during the Week of the Child in Haiti in June to share
copies of newly developed standards for improving services to “vulnerable children
and families.” We worked
with the Institute of Social Well-being and Research (its French acronym is
IBESR) to produce the standards and then translated them into Creole and French,
languages spoken in Haiti.
|USAID's Promoting Malaria Prevention and Treatment (ProMPT) Ghana Project Releases Report Celebrating Achievements
July 18, 2013
The Promoting Malaria Prevention and Treatment (ProMPT) Ghana project released a report highlighting achievements from this four year project. ProMPT’s support made significant and broad-based contributions to the achievements of the country’s National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), part of the Ghana Health Service (GHS). These contributions include supporting the NMCP to improve malaria prevention and treatment, mobilize communities to take action to protect themselves and others, and spread evidence-based practices across the country. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), ProMPT was managed by URC with partners the Population Council and Malaria Consortium.
|An Integrated Approach to Obstetric Fistula Prevention, Care, and Treatment: URC Combats a Tragic, but Preventable Medical Problem
by Luis Ortiz-Echevarria, Knowledge Management Specialist, URC
July 16, 2013
Globally, an estimated 2 million women and girls suffer from obstetric fistula, a devastating childbirth-related injury that results in a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labor without medical care. Despite decades of global efforts to improve maternal, newborn, and child health, obstetric fistula prevention and treatment remains under-prioritized in many of the countries with the highest burden. URC takes a systemic approach to fistula prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation for women and girls. We strive to improve community knowledge about obstetric fistula, reduce stigma, increase access to trained medical personnel, and help ensure the provision of high-quality obstetric services, especially for poor women and girls.
|World Population Day 2013: URC Recommits to Global Family Planning
by Luis Ortiz-Echevarria, Knowledge Management Specialist; Luigi Jaramillo, Senior Technical Advisor; and Nancy Newton, Senior Advisor, Behavior Change & Communication
July 10, 2013
On this World Population Day, the global community pays particular attention to the unique reproductive health needs of young people. Globally, 16 million adolescent girls give birth each year. Early marriage, lack of access to youth friendly services, lack of knowledge, peer pressure, violence, and coercion are among the challenges faced by young people. Since 1980, URC has supported more than 40 countries around the world, including the United States, in the development of successful family planning and reproductive health programs. To learn about URC's program efforts in Cambodia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica, the Philippines, Uganda, and more, please see our technical brief and resources.
|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.”
|URC Community Health and Nutrition Project Co-sponsors Latin American Launch of The Lancet Global Nutrition Series
by Fridah Wanjiku, Communications Intern, URC
June 19, 2013
URC’s community health and nutrition project, Nutri-Salud co-hosted a regional event June 6 in Guatemala City to help The Lancet launch its 2013 maternal and child nutrition series. The project, supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), hosted the event in collaboration with its partner, the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP); the Council of Ministers of Health from Central America; Central de Alimentos, S.A.; and the Pan American Health Organization.
|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.
|URC’s Ram Shrestha to Receive Honorary Doctorate
by Beth Goodrich, URC Senior Editor
June 4, 2013
URC staff member Ram Shrestha received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Tufts University in Boston, MA, May 19. The Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, having conferred a Master's degree in international nutrition on the Nepal native in 1990, had invited him back to recognize nearly two decades of work to improve the health of mothers and children.
|12 Million Mosquito Nets and Innovative Thinking Make Ghana Malaria Partnership a Success
June 3, 2013
In a report to be released this month, the Promoting Malaria Prevention and Treatment (ProMPT) Project will describe an innovative model for distributing over 12 million mosquito nets to prevent the transmission of malaria in Ghana. In collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), and funding from the US Agency for international Development (USAID), the four year long project ensured that millions of households learned how to use nets treated with insecticide to kill mosquitoes, which can transmit malaria. The $20 million project, funded through the United States President’s Malaria Initiative, was an interagency initiative led by USAID, with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a key partner.
|The Vietnam National Tuberculosis Program Commends URC’s Work Integrating TB and HIV Services at 4th Conference of The Union Asia-Pacific Region
by Hien Le, URC TB-HIV Technical Manager, Vietnam
May 31, 2013
The Director of Vietnam’s National Tuberculosis Program (NTP), Dr. Dinh Ngoc Sy, presented URC with a certificate of recognition and thanked URC for its technical assistance in integrating TB and HIV services in that country at the 4th Conference of The Union Asia-Pacific Region held April 10–13 in Ha Noi.
|Report Assesses Strengths, Weaknesses of Madagascar’s Community Health Volunteer Activities
by Dr. Sarah Smith, HCI QI Advisor, and Sarah Whitmarsh, Communications Specialist
May 22, 2013
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released a report with UNICEF and the President’s Malaria Initiative today that assesses the strengths and weaknesses of Madagascar’s Community Health Volunteer (CHV) activities. Serving more than 5700 fokontany, or villages, CHV activities have operated for more than a decade, with recent expansion to more than 35,000 volunteers nationally. The report provides a snapshot of the CHVs’ performance as well as the successes achieved and challenges that remain in providing them with sufficient training, supervision, and support for improvement.
|URC Researcher, Colleagues Publish on Medical Record Accuracy in Afghanistan
by Beth Goodrich, Senior Editor
May 20, 2013
“Science and technology revolutionize our lives” said American historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, and in that spirit, a URC-based study has examined the accuracy of medical records on delivery care in Afghanistan with the aim of significant, sustained change. “How accurate are medical record data in Afghanistan’s maternal health facilities? An observational validity study” was published in April by BMJ Open and can be accessed for free.
|URC Receives USAID’s Excellence in Mentorship Award: Nominated by Protégé WI-HER, LLC
May 16, 2013
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded University Research Co., LLC (URC) the first ever Excellence in Mentorship Award during the agency’s Sixth Annual Small Business Conference on Thursday, May 16th, in Washington, D.C. URC President Barbara N. Turner accepted the award, which recognized the significant developmental assistance the company provides to its small business protégé, Women Influencing Health Education and Rule of Law, LLC (WI-HER). The conference provides a venue for small businesses to convene, discuss success stories, network with other small businesses, and receive guidance on business and managerial practices.
|URC Helps Cambodia Ministry of Health Prepare for Cervical Cancer-screening Program
by By Jerker Liljestrand, Team Leader, Maternal and Newborn Health and Family Planning, USAID Better Health Services Project
May 10, 2013
With support from the USAID Better Health Services Project (BHS) implemented by URC in Cambodia, the Preventive Medicine Department of the Ministry of Health and its partners are collaborating to expand the availability of cervical cancer screening to the general population.
|URC and Emory University Celebrate Achievements in Improving Maternal and Newborn Health in Ethiopia with Partners
by Magee McDonald, URC Project Coordinator; Dr. Solomon Tesfaye Abebe, URC Quality Improvement Advisor; and Dr. Lynn Sibley, Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University
May 6, 2013
Last week, the Maternal and Newborn Health in Ethiopia Partnership (MaNHEP) presented project results and celebrated achievements at a dissemination meeting in Addis Ababa. Led by Emory University and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, MaNHEP sought to improve maternal and newborn health care in rural Ethiopia using a community-oriented approach. Emory University contracted URC to support Ministry of Health staff in the community and facilities as well as other community members in six woredas (districts) in Amhara and Oromia Regions to use quality improvement techniques to improve care for mothers and newborns.
|USAID TRAction Project’s Research on Disrespect and Abuse during Childbirth Featured at the Wilson Center
by Sarah Whitmarsh, Communications Specialist, and Dr. Kathleen Hill, Senior Technical Advisor for TRAction
May 3, 2013
A URC staff member and partners affiliated with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Translating Research into Action Project (TRAction) presented research findings at a panel event at the Wilson Center on Thursday, May 2nd at 12 pm. Co-hosted by the Maternal Health Task Force and United Nations Population Fund, the event featured four panelists—all affiliated with TRAction’s work addressing disrespect and abuse during childbirth.
|CAP-Malaria Project Engages Private Sector in Malaria Control in Burma
by Dr. Kheang Soy Ty, URC Chief of Party, and Dr. May Aung Lin, URC Country Representative, CAP-Malaria Project
May 1, 2013
As reforms stimulate economic growth in Burma, the USAID Control and Prevention of Malaria Project (CAP-Malaria) managed by URC in collaboration with Save the Children and Kenan Institute Asia, is creating new partnerships with companies to control the spread of malaria. Many of these companies operate in remote and difficult to access locations that are beyond the reach of public health care services and have high rates of malaria and employ migrant workers from within the country and from neighboring countries. The workers often have no experience with malaria, have limited access to malaria services, and can potentially spread malaria to their home communities in less-endemic areas. CAP-Malaria is assisting companies to provide malaria education and long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), early diagnosis, and treatment to their employees.
|URC’s USAID TRAction Project Hosts Discussion on Social Marketing and Personal Engagement Strategies
by Veronique Porter, Project Assistant
April 29, 2013
URC and USAID's Translating Research into Action (TRAction) Project hosted a discussion, "Putting the Social into Marketing: Personal Engagement Strategies," on Thursday, May 2, 2013, at 10:30am. Richard Burns, Managing Director of the Exp Social Marketing Foundation (ESM), lead the discussion. The event took place at George Washington University's Center for Global Health, 2175 K St NW, Suite 200 Conference Room, Washington, DC.
|URC Co-hosts Event Highlighting Malaria Prevention Developments to Recognize World Malaria Day
by Nancy Newton, Senior Advisor for Behavior Change & Communication, URC, and Niambi Wilder, Communications Specialist, URC
April 26, 2013
In recognition of World Malaria Day on April 25, URC, the Center for Global Health at George Washington University (GWU), and the USAID Translating Research into Action (TRAction) Project co-hosted a roundtable discussion on new findings in global malaria prevention and control. Entitled “Mosquito Be Dead: Developments in Malaria Prevention,” the roundtable took place on April 23, 2013, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
|World Malaria Day 2013: URC’s CAP-Malaria Project Takes an Unconventional Approach to Malaria Control in the Mekong
by Dr. Soy Ty Kheang, Chief of Party, CAP-Malaria, and Aida Olkkonen, Technical Advisor, URC
April 24, 2013
Traditional malaria control interventions are unlikely to be effective in fully eliminating malaria, reports an April article in the Lancet: "As countries reduce their malaria burdens, strategies that address the changing epidemiology, entomology, and anthropology need to be developed, validated, and adopted." One area on the verge of eliminating malaria is the Greater Mekong sub-region, which has seen a rapid drop in malaria cases during recent decades.
The Control and Prevention of Malaria Project (CAP-Malaria), funded by PMI and implemented by URC in collaboration with Save the Children and Kenan Institute Asia, is working with governments and other malaria control partners to systematically control malaria in affected border regions of Thailand, Cambodia, and Burma (also known as Myanmar), aiming to contain the spread of multi-drug resistant malaria in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.