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The Action Thread Part Two


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“These experiences were completely new to Fauzia and she found them intensely traumatic, resulting in a catastrophic deterioration in her mental state.” 
Fauzia spent 22 long months at an inpatient unit, away from her family.

We want to see people with a learning disability back home in their communities, living fulfilling lives close to their families and friends, with proper support in place for them in their local area.

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HEALTH

These health workers are fighting TB one community at a time

19 March 2019 4:23PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

SIGN THE PETITION

Tell world leaders to step up the fight against preventable diseases

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Tuberculosis (TB) is the number one infectious killer in the world, but around 36% of people with TB still go undiagnosed every year. To help step up the fight against TB, countries — like Ethiopia — are adopting community health worker programs.

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At Mekelle Health Sciences College in Ethiopia, a class for health extension workers strengthens their skills as providers of services in their villages.

Ethiopia’s National Health Extension Program was founded in 2004 with funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. At the time, there was a critical shortage of health services, with a ratio of one health worker per 40,000 citizens. The extension program was introduced to help bridge the gap between rural communities and health care by training health extension workers (HEWs) to provide services at a community level.

By 2016, 38,000 HEWs — the majority of whom are women — were providing health services to 15,000 villages across Ethiopia.

Health Workers in Action

Every day, HEWs — trained for a full year in basic health delivery — trek through Ethiopian communities, knocking on doors to speak with local residents and check on their health. They are trained to conduct basic health tests for preventable diseases like TB, maintain family health records, provide treatment for diseases and encourage communities to use contraceptives and get vaccinated.

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Health extension worker Workalem talks to villagers during one her frequent visits to this rural community.

Workalem Haile, a HEW in Southern Ethiopia’s Chama Hembecho village, manages the local health centre which provides care to over 2,200 families. She tests patients for disease and provides long-term care and support as her patients go through treatment.

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Workalem visits a husband and wife who are both HIV-positive and explains proper use of antiretroviral treatment.

Abinet was one of Workalem’s patients. “At the beginning, I thought it was just a common cold but I had a very serious cough. I couldn’t sleep late at night,” he said. His condition did not improve with traditional medicines, so, with help, he made his way to the local clinic where he was tested for TB. After Abinet’s results came back positive and he was prescribed the proper medication, Workalem visited him regularly over the next 6 months to support him with his treatment. Abinet says, “My health has improved because of Workalem’s help. I would like to thank her very much.”

The Impact

By 2016, over 95% of Ethiopia’s population had access to primary health care resources within 10 kilometres. Now, communities are better educated about how to limit the spread of communicable and preventable diseases, like TB, and have better access to treatment. Plus, health issues are addressed earlier and communities have better access to effective long-term care. Life expectancy in Ethiopia has increased to 64 years, jumping by 10 years since the program’s launch in 2004.

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Sister Eden, another Ethiopian HEW, regularly visits 50-year-old tuberculosis patient Desta in her home to oversee the final months of her TB care.

Excitingly, the introduction of the program didn’t just improve people’s health. The HEW program shifted gender roles and cultural norms in Ethiopia by creating a wealth of new opportunities for women to enter the workforce. “In a country where unemployment is still high, finding fulfilling work can be life changing. The health extension worker program has transformed the lives of thousands of workers who have become breadwinners for their families,” said Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, Ethiopia’s former minister of health.

The Global Fund

To make sure the Global Fund can continue its critical work, like funding Ethiopia’s National Health Extension Program, it will be hosting its sixth replenishment conference in October. They’re asking world leaders and private investors to come together and help save 16 million lives over the next 3 years by investing a minimum of US$14 billion.

This is the bold ambition the world needs to get us on track to stop the spread of diseases like tuberculosis — and it’s why we’re calling on world leaders to #StepUpTheFight by fully financing the Global Fund.

Add your name now to tell world leaders they must back this bold initiative this year.

Tell world leaders to step up the fight against preventable diseases

More than 17 million people are alive today because of your investments in the Global Fund’s work to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Please fully finance the Global Fund so it can save 8 million more lives over the next 3 years.

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HEALTH

There’s a health care revolution in the DRC

4 March 2019 10:25AM UTC | By: MELANIE RHODES

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Vaccines don’t just stop us from getting sick, they keep us healthy too, which means we can take advantage of all the opportunities that life has to offer. For many of us, getting vaccinations is pretty easy – we just arrange an appointment at our local health centre. For others, it’s a lot harder.

Victor is a health worker in the rural outskirts of Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) capital city. Delivering healthcare in communities affected by extreme poverty is hard enough, but without a working fridge to store and transport vaccines, it is even harder for Victor to vaccinate children who need it.

Health worker Victor, DRC.

Health worker Victor, DRC.

“We were only doing two or three vaccination sessions per month. We had to take the cooler back and forth to pick up the vaccines – a distance of four kilometres between here and the central office. The only mode of transport, the motorbike, cost CF2000 (US$ 1.25) for each journey. That cost us a lot.”

Delivering vaccines by motorbike in the rural outskirts of Kinshasa, DRC.

Delivering vaccines by motorbike in the rural outskirts of Kinshasa, DRC.

Keeping cool

Vaccines need to be kept at stable, low temperatures. If not, they stop working. So, cold-chain equipment such as fridges and cool boxes are essential to keep vaccines chilled. This hasn’t been an easy feat to achieve in the DRC – an equatorial country with a tropical climate. Until now, health centres have used petrol-fuelled fridges to keep vaccines cool, but they are unreliable, often breakdown and fuel is hard to get and transport.

What makes transportation even harder, is that the DRC is a big country – the size of Western Europe, much of which is covered by dense forest without good roads.

“The distances here are too large to supply some areas with vaccines,” said Didier Maundé, Head of Logistics for the DRC’s Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI). “Sometimes fuel was nowhere to be found either, or was too expensive. The cold-chain was at risk, and it was having a negative impact on vaccination.”

Despite some recent progress, the DRC still has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world. Every year nearly two million children miss out on a full course of vaccines, contributing to almost one in ten Congolese children not surviving to see their fifth birthday.

Now the good bit…

In October 2018, the Ministry of Health, working closely with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and other partners, launched a plan to increase immunisation by 15% by 2020. If successful, an additional 220,000 children could be immunised.
Crucial to the success of the Ministry’s plan is improved cold-chain equipment. With more reliable equipment and better methods of transportation to cover the country’s huge distances, children in the DRC will be able to reap the benefits of life-saving vaccinations.

Almost 5,000 new solar-powered fridges have been delivered to the DRC and more are on the way!

Health worker Victor received a solar fridge to store vaccines last year.

Health worker Victor received a solar fridge to store vaccines last year.

Victor, who received his solar fridge last year, said “This has reduced the cost for us and increased the number of [vaccination] sessions. I think we are at ten sessions per month now. We are very happy to have this.”

Supersizing

Meanwhile, another quiet revolution is also taking place that will improve healthcare in DRC: the creation of Central Africa’s largest vaccine storage hub.

The hub (funded by Gavi) recently opened in Kinkole, just outside central Kinshasa. It can safely store more than 200 million vaccine doses and other medical supplies before they are distributed to health centres.

The state of the art facility is also equipped with all kinds of transportation, including 150 canoes and boats powered by outboard motors to help deliver vaccines around the country. For a nation that currently uses aeroplanes to deliver 80% of its vaccines to the provinces, the use of boats is expected to deliver massive long-term savings. Excitingly, two more major regional hubs are planned. “The impact is visible,” said Didier Maundé. “More and more vaccines are available in the field. The cold chain is now reliable, and long distances are less of a problem.”

A big thank you to Gavi for providing the story.

Gavi is a global Vaccine Alliance that brings together public and private organisations with a shared goal — to make vaccines more available, accessible and affordable to children who need them the most. Incredibly, Gavi has so far supported some of the world’s poorest countries to immunise 700 million children, averting 10 million future deaths that would be lost to vaccine-preventable diseases.

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HEALTH

Why are nearly 1000 girls and young women infected with HIV every day?

5 February 2019 2:18PM UTC | By: MEGAN O’DONNELL

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Sign now: we demand more action in the fight against AIDS

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We have come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS since the outbreak of the crisis, with institutions like the Global Fund and PEPFAR partnering with country governments to prevent mother-to-child transmission, allow those infected with HIV to access treatment, and ultimately save tens of millions of lives.

But despite these impressive efforts, there is still one demographic that is disproportionately likely to contract HIV. Globally, girls and women ages 15 to 24 are infected at a rate of nearly 1000 every day, and the vast majority of them live in sub-Saharan Africa. Here, young women are twice as likely as young men to be living with HIV.

Ong%E2%80%99ielo-Health-Center-Kenya-EDI

The Ong’ielo Health Center in Kenya is funded by the Global Fund and covers 10,300 people and offers a range of health services, including malaria and HIV testing and treatment.

And though those figures might be surprising at first, upon closer inspection we shouldn’t be surprised at all.

Risk Factors

The risk of getting infected with HIV is tied not only to physical health but to economic and social factors – and more specifically, layers of gender-based discrimination.

Across the globe, stigma and social taboos still surround girls being sexually active. This limits open conversation and education about safe sex and protection. As a result, girls often don’t have vital information they need to protect themselves against HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases.

High infection rates are also tied to girls’ economic vulnerability. Facing limited opportunities to earn income, girls face pressures to enter into transactional sexual relationships, where unprotected sex is exchanged for financial support. This is true both outside and inside of marriage, as many parents opt to marry their daughters off as children, due to a combination of economic constraints and social norms.

Finally, high rates of infection among women and girls are tied to their limited autonomy and bargaining power in their relationships; particularly at risk are those forced to marry as children. Even financially secure girls and women armed with information about protection face pressures from their partners to have unprotected sex.

The Global Fund

Fortunately, we know there are evidence-based ways to address all of these constraints, and the Global Fund and its partners are prioritising a holistic approach that gets to the root of all of them.

More than half of the Fund’s spending is now specifically targeted to programs for women and girls, contributing to a total investment of US$18 billion since 2002. The Global Fund launched a program called (HER) to mobilise additional resources to address the specific needs of adolescent girls and young women.

In Botswana, the Global Fund provides legal aid services and support to women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence, while eliminating structural barriers to quality health care.

In Kenya, Swaziland, and South Africa, programs aim to keep girls and women ages 14-22 in school and to offer them additional educational and social support.

Sexual and reproductive health services have been integrated into HIV services in Lesotho so women can access both services in one place.

Quality secondary education (including comprehensive sexuality education), cash transfers that decrease girls’ economic insecurity, and interventions aimed at increasing girls’ agency and bargaining power all contribute to ensuring girls are less likely to contract HIV.

We Need to #StepUpTheFight

As we gear up for the Global Fund’s 2019 replenishment, let’s make sure the fund is able to access the financial resources it needs and eradicate HIV/AIDS once and for all, by continuing to put the needs and constraints of girls and women front and center in their investments.

Add your name now to tell world leaders they must back this bold initiative this year.

Sign now: we demand more action in the fight against AIDS

Dear government and business leaders,
We're urging you to show ambition in ending AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. This is a fight we can win – but only if we all do our part. I’m in, are you? Please fully finance the Global Fund to help save another 16 million lives and bring us closer to eliminating these diseases for good.

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FEB. 5, 2018

 

12
 
FINANCE & INNOVATION

Bill Gates Is Investing in a Technology That Turns CO2 into Clean Fuel

Engineers are creating “mechanized trees” to clean up the air.

Microsoft billionaire and Global Citizen Bill Gates is banking on a new technology that could reduce atmospheric CO2 levels on an industrial scale, The Guardian reports.

Known as Direct Air Capture (DAC), this technology enables scientists to literally suck CO2 out of the air by separating it from other molecules and converting it to solid matter.

Carbon Engineering, one of a handful of companies leading the development of these technologies, and a recipient of Gates Foundation funding, claims their current prototype technology can remove 1 million tons of pure CO2 from the air each year.

Take Action: Stand Up for the Arctic

 

 

 

While this technology could play a part in the fight to reduce climate change,   its exorbitant costs pose a serious challenge. According to a 2011 paper, the cost of removing one single ton of atmospheric CO2 is anywhere from $600-$1,000.

 

Experts estimated that total CO2 emissions in 2017 were around 37 billion tons, which means the world would need about 370,000 of Carbon Engineering’s plants to absorb all emissions.

The discrepancy between cost and effectiveness is tempering scientists’ enthusiasm for DAC as a long-term solution to human carbon-emissions. However, Carbon Engineering has developed a potential solution to this problem by creating a highly-valuable byproduct from their carbon removal process: clean fuel.

Carbon Engineering predicts that fully-operational commercial plants would be able to remove carbon from the atmosphere at a cost of only $100-$150 per ton.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals. Taking action on climate change is goal number 13. You can join us by taking action here.

Some scientists are concerned that focusing on DAC technology could also prohibit scientists from finding a much more more affordable and logical solution: reducing and preventing CO2 from entering the atmosphere in the first place.

Read More: These Tweets From Bill Gates Will Remind You That 2017 Wasn’t All Bad

Jon Gibbins, the director of the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre told the Guardian that working to clean up emitting industries should be the number one goal.

“Cutting emissions from existing sources at the scale of millions of tonnes a year, to stop the CO2 getting into the air in the first place, is the first priority,” he said. “We need to get to net zero emissions before the sustainable CO2 emissions are used up.”

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FEB. 5, 2018

 

12
 
FINANCE & INNOVATION

Bill Gates Is Investing in a Technology That Turns CO2 into Clean Fuel

Engineers are creating “mechanized trees” to clean up the air.

Microsoft billionaire and Global Citizen Bill Gates is banking on a new technology that could reduce atmospheric CO2 levels on an industrial scale, The Guardian reports.

Known as Direct Air Capture (DAC), this technology enables scientists to literally suck CO2 out of the air by separating it from other molecules and converting it to solid matter.

Carbon Engineering, one of a handful of companies leading the development of these technologies, and a recipient of Gates Foundation funding, claims their current prototype technology can remove 1 million tons of pure CO2 from the air each year.

Take Action: Stand Up for the Arctic

 

 

 

While this technology could play a part in the fight to reduce climate change,   its exorbitant costs pose a serious challenge. According to a 2011 paper, the cost of removing one single ton of atmospheric CO2 is anywhere from $600-$1,000.

 

Experts estimated that total CO2 emissions in 2017 were around 37 billion tons, which means the world would need about 370,000 of Carbon Engineering’s plants to absorb all emissions.

The discrepancy between cost and effectiveness is tempering scientists’ enthusiasm for DAC as a long-term solution to human carbon-emissions. However, Carbon Engineering has developed a potential solution to this problem by creating a highly-valuable byproduct from their carbon removal process: clean fuel.

Carbon Engineering predicts that fully-operational commercial plants would be able to remove carbon from the atmosphere at a cost of only $100-$150 per ton.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals. Taking action on climate change is goal number 13. You can join us by taking action here.

Some scientists are concerned that focusing on DAC technology could also prohibit scientists from finding a much more more affordable and logical solution: reducing and preventing CO2 from entering the atmosphere in the first place.

Read More: These Tweets From Bill Gates Will Remind You That 2017 Wasn’t All Bad

Jon Gibbins, the director of the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre told the Guardian that working to clean up emitting industries should be the number one goal.

“Cutting emissions from existing sources at the scale of millions of tonnes a year, to stop the CO2 getting into the air in the first place, is the first priority,” he said. “We need to get to net zero emissions before the sustainable CO2 emissions are used up.”

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