New infographic: 9 ways to improve child survival

Drawing of man and woman gazing adoringly at newborn held by woman.

Drawing of doctor with stethoscope examining pregnant woman on a table while man looks proudly on.

Obstetric care: 1.4 million deaths among mothers and newborns and stillbirths could be prevented each year by providing high-quality care during labor and delivery at a cost of less than $1 per person in the general population. Illustration: PATH.

Too often, proper care and lifesaving health tools and innovations are not within reach for women and newborns in low- and middle-income countries. While great progress has been made to improve child health across the globe, one area that continues to lag behind is newborn survival.

Today, newborn deaths make up a growing proportion of under-five mortality: 44 percent of all deaths among children younger than five years old happen during the first 28 days of life.

Yet, the majority of maternal and newborn deaths can be prevented with the delivery of existing interventions across the reproductive, maternal, and newborn health continuum of care.

Drawing of beaming man and woman, woman holding a newborn.

Foundation for the future: Healthy mothers and newborns lay the foundation for healthy families and communities. Taking simple steps to support maternal and newborn survival is a cost-effective way to ensure babies can grow into healthy children and mothers live to celebrate their children’s birthdays. Illustration: PATH.

We’ve created an infographic to serve as an easy-to-understand advocacy tool to show why US investments in the reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child continuum of care will help end preventable newborn deaths. Download the full-size infographic (1.7 MB PDF).

Preventable maternal and newborn deaths can be stopped. Policymakers, donors, and the global community can help through sustained investments that support evidence-based health programming and funding for research and development to advance and deliver priority health innovations.

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Here’s how smart information systems save lives

A man and a woman sit before laptop computers in an office setting.

When a digital health technology comes along that has the strength, versatility, and functional chops to break through barriers, it does a lot more than make our jobs easier—it saves lives. Photo: PATH.

Guest contributor Laura Anderson is an editor at PATH.

PATH’s work to improve health for women and children worldwide takes us to some challenging places. This includes the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a lack of infrastructure, security, and well-functioning health systems adds complexity to even the most powerful efforts.

So when a digital health technology comes along that has the strength, versatility, and functional chops to break through barriers, it does a lot more than make our jobs easier—it saves lives.

A data management challenge

Here’s how. In 2012, PATH was leading a consortium of partners to intercept the devastating trajectory of HIV and AIDS in the DRC. With the help of more than a hundred local groups, the Integrated HIV/AIDS Project (ProVIC) was improving care and services, giving communities new tools to combat disease, and strengthening the country’s health systems.

Yet a lack of data on these efforts was quickly growing from a weak link to a critical gap. How many patients were being treated? Had they returned to clinics for lifesaving follow-up care? Were pregnant women with HIV giving birth in facilities equipped to lower their babies’ risk of infection—and if not, what was keeping them away? Facing urgent need, our partners made do with the data they could gather, but it wasn’t always enough. Continue reading »

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Social entrepreneurs: here are two rules to ensure impact

A smiling health worker reaches for three vials of vaccine.

Vaccine vial monitors (the purple circles shown on these vaccine vials)—developed by PATH, the World Health Organization, and Temptime—show when the vaccine has spoiled due to heat. Photo: PATH/Umit Kartogulu.

“Everyone talks about cross-sector partnerships, but what does it really take to effectively solve global problems and have a viable business?” asks PATH president and CEO Steve Davis on the Skoll World Forum website.

Portrait of Steve Davis.

Steve Davis. Photo: Auston James.

In advance of his participation at this week’s 11th Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford, England, Davis wrote about two ways even the smallest entrepreneurs can make a big impact on pressing global health issues through partnership:

  • Know what’s in it for you and what’s in it for your partner.
  • Think big even when you’re small.

From PATH’s work on the vaccine vial monitor—the “world’s smartest sticker”—to a mobile phone–based sensor that can monitor safe pasteurization of breast milk, we rely on partnerships to get lifesaving solutions into people’s hands. Social entrepreneurs can tap into the expertise of PATH and other organizations to overcome product development hurdles, grow their markets, and create social good.

As Davis points out, “If you’re smart, creative, and eager, there is plenty of room at the table to turn great ideas into tremendous lifesaving solutions.”

To read the full commentary, see the Skoll World Forum website.

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A “woman of courage” reflects on a career in global health

Woman wearing purple sash with text reading "Women of Courage" stands next to smiling man.

Dr. Jacqueline Sherris and PATH cofounder Gordon Perkin at the University of Washington Women’s Center’s Women of Courage awards. Photo: University of Washington Women’s Center/Alan Abramowitz.

This month, Dr. Jacqueline Sherris, our vice president for public health impact, will leave PATH to start a global health consulting business. Jackie is internationally recognized for her expertise in global health and known as a passionate advocate for women’s and children’s health. Michele Burns, PATH’s content director and one of Jackie’s early hires, asked Jackie to reflect on the evolution of global health since she joined PATH in 1988.

Q. I understand you were named a “Woman of Courage” by the University of Washington Women’s Center recently. Congratulations!

A. Thanks. It was an honor to receive that award.

Q. Given the stature of previous honorees—such as Senator Patty Murray and former Washington Governor Christine Gregoire—this is a tremendous testament to your achievements. As you were receiving the award, which of your accomplishments stood out as the most important?

A. At PATH, I’ve been most proud of my ability to channel the tremendous capacity, skill, and knowledge we have across the organization and bring it to bear on critical global health problems. Because I have a history with the organization, I’ve been able to mobilize my networks and experience across PATH to help us move big projects forward. And it’s been so exciting to see long-term projects reach big successes, whether they’re addressing meningitis, cervical cancer, Japanese encephalitis, or HIV in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I’m also proud of the people I’ve hired. I’ve been directly involved in hiring and/or mentoring a number of PATH’s current program and project leaders. If there’s a legacy I have at PATH, they’re it! Continue reading »

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New tools or existing technologies?

A young boy smiles for the camera. He is flanked by a younger girl and boy.

Should we develop new tools or expand the use of the ones we already have? How about both? Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.

Guest contributors Claire Wingfield, product development policy officer, and Elesha Kingshott, senior policy and advocacy associate, are members of our Advocacy and Public Policy team.

Portrait of Claire Wingfield.

Claire Wingfield. Photo: PATH.

As global health advocates, we know that our messages can sometimes seem at odds. After all, one of us may be pointing out that millions of children could be saved every year through the use of simple, affordable interventions—tools that already exist. Meanwhile, the other may insist that to save children’s lives it’s essential to develop new health innovations.

Portrait of Elesha Kingshott.

Elesha Kingshott. Photo: PATH.

Who’s right? Should we expand the use of existing technologies, or develop new ones?

A big job needs a big toolbox

Some 6.6 million children will die this year before they reach their fifth birthday, and more than half of their deaths could be prevented with simple, affordable interventions that already exist. It’s critical that governments fund maternal and child health programs to ensure children in low- and middle-income countries have access to proven interventions that can save them from diseases and conditions that largely have been addressed in high-income countries.

At the same time, existing technologies, as successful as they are, don’t address every illness, and not all are suitable for low-income countries. That’s why we also call for robust investments in research and development to create new health innovations. These new tools have the potential to save children from illnesses that cannot be prevented and treated with today’s technologies. Continue reading »

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It’s not our fault your train is late

Young man gazes at a mobile phone in his hand. Text reads, "Let's connect all the PATHs. #allthePATHS.

Photo: Flickr/Simone Dall’Angelo.

PATH drives transformative innovation to save lives. But we don’t drive trains.

So when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s PATH commuter trains are delayed and you miss your date for pizza, tweeting at us @PATHtweets won’t help. Try @PATHtrain instead.

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Global vaccination efforts must better engage parents and caregivers

A young woman carries a tray with bags of ice on her head as she walks down a line of people.

Getting vaccinated isn’t always a consumer-friendly process. Here, a vendor sells ice and drinks to people in line for meningitis vaccine. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.

Guest contributor Andy Seale is director of advocacy and communications for vaccine implementation at PATH. This post originally ran in The Guardian’s Global Development Professionals Network partner zone.

PATH’s Geneva office has a striking view over the busy airport that helps ensure this modest-sized Swiss city maintains its status as a leading hub for international finance, global health, and diplomacy.

Looking out from our meeting rooms onto the well-maintained runway, I can’t help but admire the thinking, planning, and investment that goes into airport systems. Linking air traffic control to flight scheduling, separating passengers from baggage and baggage from cargo, and managing security and safety are just a few of the challenges that must be overcome to make airports work.

Serving the vaccine consumer

In our work to ensure all children in the developing world receive lifesaving vaccines, we often have discussions with our partners and funders about how best to make the systems that support vaccination smarter. Traditionally, that has meant focusing on systems that develop safe and effective vaccines and ensure they reach children who need them.

Yet while we have effectively mobilized around these critical supply and infrastructure needs, there has been little comparable investment in the systems that support the “demand side” of vaccination. Continue reading »

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Seven lessons for smarter interventions

Guest contributor Lippi Doshi is multimedia advocacy coordinator at PATH.

Woman seated on stage with three men speaks.

Amie Batson, PATH’s chief strategy officer, makes a point during a panel discussion with, from left, Raj Kumar of Devex, Jim Cunningham of Merck Research Labs, and Mark Grabowsky of UNSEO. Photo: PATH/Jean-Pierre Leguillou.

When singer, songwriter, and actress Mandy Moore calls global health “pretty cool,” you know the topic is no longer the sole province of policy wonks and science geeks.

Moore’s Tweet came during Best Buys in Global Health, a set of panel discussions we organized last week along with our partners PSI and Devex. We took as our starting point a survey of a thousand experts on future trends in global health, but we quickly discovered much broader interest in the topic. Our Twitter hashtag #bestbuys4GH, for example, trended nationally in the United States—thanks to Mandy and hundreds of you. Continue reading »

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Water policies’ ripple effect

One young man works the handle of a water pump while another stations an orange bucket beneath the spigot.

How many times have you turned on the tap today? Photo: PATH.

“Think about all the ways you used water in your daily routine this morning,”  Rachel Wilson, PATH’s senior director of advocacy and public policy, writes on our sister blog, DefeatDD. “You probably showered, brushed your teeth, used the toilet, washed your hands—all before making a cup of coffee with water whose safety you assumed without question. It is easy to forget that we didn’t always have such immediate access to water in the United States.”

Portrait of Rachel Wilson.

Rachel Wilson. Photo: PATH.

Today is World Water Day, a time to appreciate the vital importance of a clean, safe supply of a precious resource.

“Access to water, sanitation, and hygiene is particularly vital in the first five years of a child’s life, when pneumonia and diarrhea—the leading killer diseases of children globally—pose the greatest threat to underdeveloped immune systems,” Rachel writes. “In fact, if everyone had access to safe water, almost 90 percent of diarrhea deaths could be prevented.”

The power of policy

Rachel leads our global advocacy team, so it’s not surprising that she believes in the power of policies that prioritize public access to safe drinking water, clean toilets, and hand-washing facilities to improve health. These policies, she writes, “lead to laws that protect us daily, whether or not we realize it.”

Rachel has some intriguing ideas about how we can encourage access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene worldwide. Check out her full post on the DefeatDD blog.

Meantime, on this World Water Day, here’s to your health. Join us throughout the month of March for a virtual, worldwide toast. Simply take a photo of yourself (or with a group) raising a glass of water and share it on social media using the hashtag #cheerstoH2O.

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How water can help douse 2 childhood killers

A woman washes an infant next to a water pump.

Clean water can help lessen the threat of pneumonia and diarrheal disease, the two top killers of young children. Photo: PATH/Heng Chivoan.

This post originally appeared on The Guardian‘s Global Development Professionals Network partner zone.

At a fundamental level, a deluge is a collection of single drops of water. But ultimately its power comes from cohesion—the common purpose of countless individual drops together forming a groundbreaking force. On Saturday, the global development community will celebrate the power of water, marking World Water Day 2014 under this year’s banner of water and energy.

Water is powerful in any form—whether as a force of nature or a simple, clean glass to drink. Water can save lives, but it can also take them. When water is unsafe, communities struggle with disease—particularly childhood diarrhea. Continue reading »

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