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CDC Protects Families: My favorite stories

Categories: child health, malaria, tuberculosis (TB), women's/maternal health

Terri Still-LeMelle

Terri Still-LeMelle

As we celebrate families on Mother’s Day, May 11, and the International Day of Families, May 15, I am especially proud to work in CDC’s Center for Global Health.  As one of the Center’s  health communication specialists, I have the privilege to write or edit many stories about how CDC’s programs impact the lives of families around the world.  In honor of this season, I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite accounts about brave mothers, determined families, and CDC’s global health programs.

 
 
 
 

Mozambique FELTP fellows evaluate impact of malaria bed net campaign

Categories: health systems strengthening, malaria

One thing is to read a protocol, and quite another to write a protocol, do the field work, and see it through to the end" - Geraldo Chambe, FELTP resident

One thing is to read a protocol, and quite another to write a protocol, do the field work, and see it through to the end" - Geraldo Chambe, FELTP resident

Four Mozambican epidemiologists-in-training spent a month walking up to ten kilometers a day to make sure that one of the most effective malaria control interventions was reaching the poorest Mozambicans. Malaria is the leading cause of death in Mozambique, and insecticide-treated bed nets are one of the key malaria control measures. Since 2007, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has supported the Mozambican Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) in efforts to reduce the burden of malaria in the country, not only through distribution of bed nets, but other key components as well: indoor residual spraying, diagnostic testing and treatment with effective antimalarials, and intermittent preventive therapy for pregnant women.

Mateusz Plucinski, PhD, MPH, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Malaria Branch

Mateusz Plucinski, PhD, MPH, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Malaria Branch

In 2013, with PMI support, the NMCP launched a universal bed net distribution campaign in six districts in Nampula Province, located in the northern region of Mozambique. The goal was to provide access to a bed net to the entire population living in the 250,000 households within the target area. The definition of “universal” varies somewhat by country; in Mozambique it means one bed net for every sleeping space. Mass distribution campaigns meant to achieve universal coverage are ambitious, complex, multi-step activities. They involve visiting all households in the distribution area to perform a census, determining how many bed nets to distribute per household, and organizing the logistics of delivering hundreds of thousands of bed nets to remote areas. It is therefore important to evaluate their performance and determine how successful they were in achieving their goal so that lessons learned can inform planning for the next campaign. And for the NMCP, it is important to document how increased bed net ownership and use made possible by campaigns affect malaria transmission.

April 7 is World Health Day

Categories: child health, infectious disease, malaria, mosquito-borne disease, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), parasitic diseases

    

April 7 marks World Health Day. This year World Health Day focuses on vector-borne diseases. More than half the world is at risk from vector-borne diseases. What exactly is a vector? A vector is a small organism, like a tick or mosquito, that transmits disease. Malaria, dengue, Chagas Disease and lymphatic filariasis are just four examples of vector-borne infectious diseases.   

Come learn about some of these vector-borne diseases and the work that CDC does to prevent, treat, and control these diseases around the world.    

Strengthening Global Health Security Protects Americans

Categories: HIV/AIDS, flu, global health security, infectious disease, malaria, parasitic diseases

 

This blog was originally posted on CNN.com on February 13, 2014.

 

The 5 Ways Diseases in Other Countries Can Kill You

The world is smaller and people are more mobile than at any time in history. This makes it easier than ever for what’s happening anywhere on the globe to harm Americans’ health. 
 
Here are five ways diseases in other countries pose a threat:

1) The flu could threaten millions. Even in a mild year for flu, in the United States alone, there are thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and billions of dollars in productivity losses.
 
In a pandemic, millions of people worldwide could be killed. H7N9 influenza, also known as bird flu, is spreading in China, though fortunately it has not mutated to become an infectious disease outbreak that could threaten the health of people around the world.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden

2) Antibiotic resistance is on the rise. Antibiotic resistance just might be the most urgent health threat facing us now.

The nightmare strain of bacteria known as CRE, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, arose abroad and was introduced to one state in the United States. Now it’s in at least 44 states. It can resist all or almost all antibiotics, kills many of the people who get it in their blood, and spreads its resistance capabilities to other bacteria.

The World Health Organization estimates multidrug-resistant tuberculosis already has infected a half a. million people across the globe.

CDC Collaborations with the Ministry of Health in Dominican Republic Result in Measurable Public Health Gains

Categories: HIV/AIDS, health systems strengthening, malaria, tuberculosis (TB)

CDC Global Health Director Tom Kenyon (right), CDC Global AIDS Director Deborah Birx (second from right), and CDC-Dominican Republic Director Oliver Morgan (second from left) meet with Dr. Miguel A. Gerardino (left), Director of the Juan Pablo Pina Hospital in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, January 2014.

CDC Global Health Director Tom Kenyon (right), CDC Global AIDS Director Deborah Birx (second from right), and CDC-Dominican Republic Director Oliver Morgan (second from left) meet with Dr. Miguel A. Gerardino (left), Director of the Juan Pablo Pina Hospital in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, January 2014.

For a relatively small country where CDC established a full-time country office only five years ago, the Dominican Republic is suddenly drawing attention.

Oliver Morgan, MSc PhD FFPH, CDC Country Director for Dominican Republic

Oliver Morgan, MSc PhD FFPH, CDC Country Director for Dominican Republic

It’s easy to see why. The Dominican Republic is a popular vacation destination with 1.4 million Americans visiting each year. The country has a unique relationship with its neighbor, Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where CDC also supports many programs. 

Earlier this month, Dr. Tom Kenyon, Director of CDC’s Center for Global Health and Dr. Debbi Birx, who leads CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDs visited the Dominican Republic to review, with Dominican authorities, CDC programs to protect public health. Kenyon and Birx are the highest level CDC officials to visit the DR since CDC’s country office officially opened in 2009.

Number of U.S. Malaria Cases Highest in 40 Years. Have We Forgotten What It Takes To Prevent It?

Categories: infectious disease, malaria, mosquito-borne disease, parasitic diseases

 

This blog was originally posted in the Huffington Post on October 31, 2013.

 

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden

Progress can be dangerous.

Thanks to malaria elimination efforts in United States in the 1940s, most people in the U. S. today have never had any direct contact with the disease and most doctors have never seen a case. That success means it’s easy to have a relaxed attitude about protecting ourselves.

We’re now seeing the result of that relaxed attitude – the highest number of malaria cases in the United States in the past 40 years.

That’s the conclusion of our recent analysis that finds there were 1,925 malaria cases reported in the United States in 2011. Sadly, the number also includes five deaths.

CDC Malaria Hotline—When the Caller is Ill Abroad

Categories: malaria, mosquito-borne disease, parasitic diseases

Photo by Solomon Eshetu, UN driver

Photo by Solomon Eshetu, UN driver

Since 2007, managing the CDC Malaria Hotline has been a large part of my job as a health educator in the Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria at CDC. It’s wonderfully fulfilling because it gives me the opportunity to talk directly with the public to share information that can help them avoid malaria infection when they travel. I can hear the public’s concerns and misconceptions about malaria and work to address them in our educational materials.   

Stefanie Steele, RN, MPH, CPH, CDC Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria

Stefanie Steele, RN, MPH, CPH, CDC Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria

On average the Hotline handles 6,000 calls a year from mostly the public and healthcare providers—the vast majority are from within the United States. 

The public’s primary concern is whether malaria occurs in the area they plan to visit and if so, what they can do to protect themselves. Sometimes people who have returned ill from their travel call to ask if their symptoms might be malaria. Fortunately, in the U.S. there are well-qualified healthcare providers, clinics, hospitals, and labs available most everywhere, as well as CDC prevention information I can direct them to. 

Saving Mothers, Giving Life Explores “Mother Waiting Sheds”

Categories: child health, health systems strengthening, malaria, parasitic diseases, women's/maternal health

 

This is the fourth installment in a five-part series about efforts to save the lives of mothers in Africa through an initiative called Saving Mothers, Giving Life. Be sure to read the other four blog posts in this series.
 

Nakaliga Deziranta rests in a “Mother Waiting Shed”

Nakaliga Deziranta rests in a “Mother Waiting Shed”

Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL) is exploring an innovative concept aimed at reducing pre-delivery complications – the “Mother Waiting Shed.” The sheds provide at-risk mothers, particularly those traveling from far-off villages, easier access to comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care – essential for averting maternal death and disability. Four waiting sheds, renovated by SMGL with funding from CDC and other partners, have been established at Kibaale Health Center IV, Kakumiro Health Center IV, Kakindo Health Center IV, and Kagadi Hospital. These sheds are just one piece of the comprehensive SMGL program that CDC supports through core strengths in reproductive/maternal health, health systems strengthening, monitoring and evaluation and human resources for health.

Erik Friedly, Associate Director for Communication, CDC-Uganda

Erik Friedly, Associate Director for Communication, CDC-Uganda

The system works this way: mothers with a previous scar, a history of obstetric complications, transport challenges, or mal-presentation of the baby are advised to come early and wait in the shed nearer to the health facility. When mothers arrive to give birth, those who still need time to progress in labor are transferred to the waiting shed where they are constantly monitored by midwives who assess delivery progress. This sort of “triage” system allows mothers to be in a safe environment during a critical touch-and-go period for them and their babies. 

Nakaliga Deziranta, a 26-year old mother of three from Kasambya village, understands the value of these innovative waiting sheds.  She had always attended her antenatal care appointments at Kibaale Health Center IV. During her first visit in January 2013, she was given a dose of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria, mebendazole, an insecticide treated net, and tetanus toxoid, and, over the course of her visits, she was identified as an at-risk patient and consequently advised to travel to the health center early—at the first signs of labor. Heeding this advice, Nakaliga left home when she first began feeling labor pain, and, upon arrival at the health facility, the midwife on duty examined her and established that she was in the latent phase of labor. She made a decision to keep Nakaliga in the facility’s Mother Waiting Shed, and, after three days of progressive labor, Nakaliga finally gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Nakaliga was extremely happy with the care she received while at the shed and then during delivery and has promised to “tell other women to come in time and wait for their time of delivery from the shed.” In rural Uganda, word of mouth may be SMGL’s greatest ally, and other mothers share Nakaliga’s enthusiasm for the waiting shed concept.

Investing in the Future

Categories: malaria, mosquito-borne disease, parasitic diseases

Dr. Patrick Kachur

Dr. Patrick Kachur, Chief, CDC Malaria Branch

Last month I took a few days of vacation and traveled to Basel, Switzerland. The sky was grey and a cold drizzle was steadily falling, melting the remaining layer of snow and ice that winter’s last storm had blasted onto the sides of trees and buildings. Many of the staff and students at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) had already begun traveling to warmer places. I had come to take part in a viva voce: the oral examination of a PhD candidate at the Institute. The candidate was M. Irene Masanja, a Tanzanian colleague with whom I had worked for some time. She presented her thesis: “Influence of health systems in malaria case management as part of malaria control in Tanzania,” to three examiners and a lecture room surprisingly packed with her fellow students and supporters (including her mother). She confidently answered all of our questions, including some from an examiner who attended by video link from the UK. Following that, the examiners met privately while Irene and the rest of the crowd waited anxiously outside the door. When they were permitted back into the room, the Department Chair asked her to swear an oath to maintain a high standard of scientific integrity in all her work, and conferred upon her the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, magna cum laude.

Fresh Voices From the Field—Reaching for Zero Malaria Deaths: a Story From Uganda

Categories: child health, malaria, mosquito-borne disease, parasitic diseases

 

This is the second in our ongoing “Fresh Voices From the Field” series, where we hear from ASPPH (Association of School and Programs of Public Health) Global Health Fellows working throughout the world. Global Health Fellows are recent Master of Public Health or Doctoral graduates placed in CDC global health offices in Atlanta and abroad. They work on a range of priority public health issues and bring a fresh perspective to CDC’s efforts in the field. (See other “Fresh Voices” blogs.)

 

Melody_Miles_headshot

Melody Miles, President’s Malaria Initiative team at CDC

As a member of the President’s Malaria Initiative team at CDC, I support malaria efforts in Uganda, where 42% of children are infected with the malaria parasite. Since 2007, Uganda has operated one of the best malaria surveillance systems in the world, providing accurate, timely malaria data from 12 “sentinel” health facilities throughout the country. Despite high demands and limited staffing, these sites perform a laboratory test on every patient suspected of having malaria and ensure all malaria deaths are reported.

To better understand the dramatic burden of the disease on the community, I recently crossed Uganda’s Nile River and made the long, tumultuous drive to a hospital in the northern part of the country. I knew malaria-related mortality was high in this area, but what I found when I arrived brought tears to my eyes.

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