A woman. A newborn. A child. The best indication of a strong health system is the health and well-being of its women and children. Yet, in many countries, basic health and rights are tenuous due to the lack of functional health systems. Local communities have the skills and desire to improve their own health, but they often lack resources, education, and training.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a woman is ostracized after suffering from fistula, but after care is teaching again and part of the community. An elementary-age girl learns about the benefits of breastfeeding and shares that knowledge with her mother. In Honduras, men in remote communities are learning the value of maternal and reproductive health and family planning. A midwife at a rural health center in Zimbabwe takes a leadership course on midwifery management and uses mobile technology to educate HIV-positive women to stay on antiretroviral treatment, preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV to their newborns. All are the result of MSH’s focus on building health systems and empowering local people and communities.
Regardless of where families live, or their ability to pay, MSH’s comprehensive approach to strengthening health systems ensures that underserved women and children are getting the full spectrum of care they need. MSH provides access to integrated health interventions and medicines across the continuum of care—from pre-pregnancy through the postpartum period; from newborns through childhood; from households to communities to facilities to nations. MSH works with governments, partners, and communities to end preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths and improve the health of women and children through services integrated with family planning, HIV, TB, and malaria health services.
Photo credit: Warren Zelman