Tag Archives: conference call

APHA IH-MCH Working Group Conference Call: Wednesday, March 11 (12-1 p.m.)

All section members are invited to attend the next Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Working Group conference call this Wednesday, March 11 from 12-1 p.m. (EST)

GUEST SPEAKER ON THE TOPIC: Global Strategy for Women´s and Children´s and Adolescent Health for the Post-2015 Agenda

Our guest speaker will be:
Health Practice| Director, Chemonics International
Governing Councilor – APHA International Health Section

Call-in information:

USA/Canada (toll free): 1-888-757-2790
For those calling from outside of the US: +1-719-359-9722
Guest Passcode: 424573

This conference call is being organized by the IH-MCH Working Group of the International Health Section of APHA, but all section members are invited to attend!

For more information and supplemental materials, please contact Laura Altobelli, MCH Working Group Co-chair, at laura [at] future [dot] edu.

Conference Call to Discuss Closing of Global Health Council

Dear IH Section Members,

As some of you may already know, the Global Health Council has recently announced that it will be closing its doors and cancelling its 2012 conference in Washington, DC. The leadership of the IH section has been discussing how best to respond to this news. Below is a message from Peter Freeman, our Advocacy/Policy Committee Chair, which outlines ways in which you can have input in this discussion. Please consider joining the conference call or at least providing him with your feedback. Peter can be reached by e-mail at pffreeman [at] gmail [dot] com.

Hi all –

I spoken with Vina and Malcolm to start discussing the steps APHA is looking to take regarding the close of GHC and the ways in which the association can respond.

Vina informed me that APHA is in the process of a setting up a series of 2 discussions:

  1. The first discussion will be internally for APHA staff only, to gather their thoughts/ideas on what GHC’s role was in the international health community, what roles make strategic sense for APHA to absolve, and our association’s current capacity (and potential growth trajectory) to take on these roles.
  2. The second discussion will happen after APHA’s staff-only one, and may include interested representatives from other APHA sections (IH isn’t the only one that’s weighed in on this) as well as representation from GHC. This discussion will invite the IH section leaders; APHA recognizes the importance of everyone’s voice but having too large a group on the call may not be productive.

In light of this second call, Malcolm and I thought it would be a good idea for our section to have our own brainstorming call prior to APHA’s group call. This way, we can make sure our section’s ideas/thoughts/concerns are collected in an organized fashion; we will have these typed up and sent to whomever represents our group on the APHA group call.

Malcolm and I have scheduled this call for Wednesday, May 9th at 1 p.m. EST for 90 minutes. A prior e-mail mentioned a call on Monday, May 7th; Malcolm and I agreed to not hold the call on Monday and instead hold it on Wednesday, May 9th. I have been assured by Vina that the APHA group call will not be happening before this.

The call-in information is:
1-877-393-3856 (U.S. callers)
1-719-867-7624 (toll number and for international callers)
Participant passcode: 373785

If you are planning on attending, please let me know; an RSVP is not required, but it will help me be aware of who to expect come next Wednesday.

If you are unable to make the call, please e-mail me your thoughts/concerns/ideas around this. I have received the feedback that some of you have sent via e-mail already; thank you for sending that and I promise it will be incorporated into notes from this call.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Conference Calls and Radio Shows of Interest

Our very own Mini Murthy and Elvira Beracochea are co-hosting a radio show on the MDGs! The inaugural episode aired last week, but you can listen to it in the archives and tune in for future episodes. They will be on every Thursday at 12 p.m. EST. More information can be found below.

Millennium Development Goals: Progress and Challenges

PROGRAM: Millennium Development Goals
TOPIC OF DISCUSSION: Millennium Development Goals: Progress and Challenges


In 2000, 189 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. This pledge became the eight Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. The MDGs provide a framework for the entire UN system to work coherently together toward a common end. UNDP, global development network on the ground in 177 countries and territories, is in a unique position to advocate for change, connect countries to knowledge and resources, and coordinate broader efforts at the country level. In September 2010, the world recommitted itself to accelerate progress towards these goals.

The declaration established eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and time-bound targets by which progress can be measured. With the 2015 deadline looming, how much progress has been made? And is the pace of progress sufficient to achieve the goals? The MDGs break down into 21 quantifiable targets that are measured by 60 indicators.

In our inaugural episode we hope to give a brief over view of the progress and challenges made from the year 2000- 2005 and focus on Sub Saharan Africa to review the progress made with reference to MDGs 1 and 4.

Join us as we explore this very important topic on MDGs.

Padmini (Mini) Murthy is a physician and an activist who did her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has practiced medicine in various countries. She has a Master’s in Public Health and a Masters in Management from New York University (NYU). Murthy has been on the Dean’s list at NYU stein hart School of Education and named Public service scholar at the Robert F Wagner Graduate School at New York University. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Elvira Beracochea, MD, MPH, has more than 25 years of experience that encompass her work as physician, public health and international development expert, human rights advocate, epidemiologist, health policy advisor, researcher, health systems and hospital manager, consultant, professor and coach. She has worked in over 30 countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the South Pacific. Dr Elvira is committed to helping realize the right to health and the right to development and to improving the effectiveness of development assistance. For this reason, in 2005, she founded MIDEGO, an organization with an urgent rights-based mission: accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approved by the United Nations in the year 2000.

The Millennium Development Goal is a weekly discussion on AV Radio based on the Millennium Declaration, adopted by all 189 United Nations Member States in 2000, promised a better world with less poverty, hunger and disease; a world in which mothers and children have a greater chance of surviving and of receiving an education, and where women and girls have the same opportunities as men and boys. It promised a healthier environment and greater cooperation-a world in which developed and developing countries work in partnership for the betterment of all.

LISTEN TO THIS RADIO PROGRAM ARCHIVES AT: http://www.africanviews.org/index.php/av-radio/av-radio/AV-Radio/womens-education_c1021_m157/

Next month, APHA’s Trade and Health Forum will be holding an open Educational Session on Tobacco and International Trade Agreements. It will take place on April 12 at 2:30 PM Pacific/5:30PM Eastern.

The first 30 minutes of the call will be an educational session about recent activity pertaining to alcohol and tobacco in trade agreements and the question of “carve outs”. Donald Zeigler, PhD, Director of Prevention and Healthy Lifestyles at the American Medical Association (AMA) will lead the session. Dr. Zeigler has been active in the Trade and Health Forum, representing the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Section of the American Public Health Association and has been interested in trade and health issues for almost a decade. He was instrumental in getting the AMA to adopt policy on trade and has worked with other medical specialty societies to adopt policy, as well. The AMA recently called on the US Trade Representative to carve out tobacco and alcohol from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
The second 30 minutes of the call will be dedicated to Trade and Health Forum business. You are welcome to join for the full call, and we welcome your input.

To dial in, please call (605) 475-4850 and use the following access code: 810329#. If you have questions, please direct them to Natalie Sampson (nsampson@umich).

Very best,

American Public Health Association’s
Trade & Health Forum Leaders

IH Section Conference Call: Health Systems Strengthening

Please join us for our next bi-monthly conference call!  The IH Section is hosting its topic-focused conference call for the month of October.  The call will be held on Tuesday, October 18, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. EST.  This call will be hosted by section members Kaja Abbas and Chad Swanson, who have just formed a new working group on health systems strengthening and will be discussing current developments in that area.   

TOPIC: System Science for Health Systems Strengthening
DATE AND TIME: Tuesday, October 18, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST
PHONE NUMBER: (712) 432-1001 (please note that this is not a toll-free number)
PASSCODE: 477461343#

You are welcome to submit comments and questions for the speakers; however, we ask that you submit them in advance, as callers cannot pose questions to the speakers directly. This will allow us to keep things organized. Please e-mail questions for the speakers to kaja.abbas@gmail.com or swancitos@gmail.com by Friday, October 14 at 8 p.m. EST.

Notes on IH Section Conference Call: Current Developments in MCNH (June 27, 2011)

The IH Section held its third topic-focused conference call on Current Developments in MCNH on Monday, June 27, 2011 from 1:00 to 2:00 EST. We had several members of the IH section offer their commentary and expertise on current issues concerning maternal and child health.

Laura Altobelli (Future Generations)
Elvira Beracochea (Midego)
Carol Dabbs (U.S. Department of State)
Miriam Labbock (Carolina Global Breastfeeding Insititute)
Mary Anne Mercer (University of Washington)

Laura Altobelli: Brief presentation of the APHA policy resolution proposal submitted by the IH section entitled, “Call to Action to Reduce Global Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Morbidity and Mortality.”
Laura discussed the new APHA policy proposal on MCH. There was nothing previously on the APHA policy regarding global action on this issue per se – one previously existing resolution focuses on reducing maternal and child mortality in the US, and one focuses on breastfeeding and has both domestic and global aspects. This, then, is the first policy proposal on global MNCH. Justification for the policy proposal is lack of progress on the MDGs and lack of policy commitment to protect vulnerable populations. APHA will be joining important other organizations that are putting out strategies, including the Partnership for MNCH (WHO), and the UN, and attended global meetings in 2010 in observation of the Year of Maternal Health (some of these mentioned below). There is also an effort to increase attention to this in the Global Fund and GHI. Six other sections/forums are co-sponsoring the resolution.

Elvira Beracochea: Update on the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.
A factsheet has been sent out (available upon request – please contact jmkeralis [at] gmail [dot] com). These MDGs and their targets have served us well to measure our progress so far. There have been improvements, though progress has been uneven. MDGs 4 and 5 focus on reducing mortality but not necessarily on improving health, development and well-being, and we need to address this as well. We know where women and children die and how. We also have the knowledge to prevent these deaths. We need to coordinate work at global scale and have a concerted strategy to ensure the rights of all women and children are met. We need to take global health goals to a new level of effectiveness using efficient strategies and a human-rights-based approach. A rights-based approach does not focus on only survival, but also on development. We need new targets and indicators that measure not only deaths but also number of children whose right are fulfilled; the children that are breastfed, fully immunized, drink clean water, are protected from malaria, and that that attend school. We need targets and indicators that measure not only the number of women that died or delivered with assistance of a skilled attendant, but that also measure the number of pregnancy complications effectively treated. We need new MDGs and targets.

Miriam Labbok: An update on reproductive health continuum (birth, breastfeeding and birth spacing promotion, protection, support) as an essential MNCH intervention approach.
It is vital that we pay attention to the reproductive health continuum within the life-cycle approach: birth, breastfeeding and birth spacing. Programming must include not only promotion, but also skill- and capacity-building so that support can be provided. In addition, policy change is needed to: support treating women with dignity, provide NFP knowledge (at least for the times that family planning supplies run out), and create the capacity to support health-supportive birth, breastfeeding and spacing practices. All such programming and policy creation should be carried out with recognition of the rights of both women and children to the best possible health support and with attention to appropriate technologies, as one size does not necessarily fit all. In addition, programs that address cultural change and intimate family and social decisions demand the building of trust that comes with reliability and long-term relationships. Programming should be designed for the long term, with a strong base and phased in activities, and with excellence and sustainability as the focus.

Mary Anne Mercer: Partnership for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health – what it does and how one can get involved.
The Partnership for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health is a WHO-based coalition of organizations that support increased funding commitments to MDGs 4 and 5. Any organization that supports MCH can be a member simply by filling out an application from the PMNCH web site at http://www.who.int/pmnch/. Be sure your organization is a member (it’s free!) by checking the member list. Also check out the ‘Knowledge Portal’ that aims to maintain updated programmatic information on current approaches to improving MCH. I am on the Board of Directors of the Partnership as an NGO representative, and we will be electing a new member of the Board this year that will represent an Africa-based NGO or the Africa office of an international NGO — please let me know if you have any suggestions for good candidates for that position.

Carol Dabbs: Trends in US government funding levels for global MNCH.
Funding has increased and is overseen by the State Department. Global Health targets are to be achieved with funding from FY 09-14, generally for implementation in FY 10-15. The Global Health Initiative includes principles supporting country-led plans and to coordination with other partnerships and donors, as well as between USG agencies and health programs. Eight countries have been selected as “plus” countries (places to conduct learning laboratories): Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Guatemala. Almost all of the Global Health Initiative funding is from USAID and State (there is also some DHHS funding, but that was not included in this discussion). There are two stages in the fiscal year: requesting funds from Congress and appropriation of funds by Congress. Unfortunately, delays have been a reality this year. However, we should look at trends and context of the rest of foreign assistance and of overall health fundig. The budget now includes nutrition as a separate item, and it’s included in the MNCH numbers here. There has been a trend of increased funding; funding for MNCH has increased about by 22% over two years (FY 2008 to FY 2010), but the full year continuing resolution for FY 2011 allocation to MNCH is still pending. We do not know what the appropriations for FY 2012 and FY 2013 will be.

Discussion: Is this in addition to Dept of State HIV funds? Yes, there are additional funds in USAID for HIV/AIDS, as well as funds for MCH and the rest of the health programs.

IH Section Conference Call: Current Developments in MCNH

Please join us for our next bi-monthly conference call!  The IH Section is hosting its topic-focused conference call for the month of June.  The call will be held on Monday, June 27 from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EST.  This call will be hosted by section members Miriam Labbock and Laura Altobelli, who will be discussing current developments in maternal, neonatal, and child health (MCNH).  The call will include:

  • Brief presentation of the APHA policy resolution proposal submitted by the IHS entitled, “Call to Action to Reduce Global Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Morbidity and Mortality”
  • Update on the Millenium Development Goals 4 and 5
  • An update on breastfeeding and child spacing as essential MNCH interventions
  • Update on the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth
  • Partnership for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health – what it does and how one can get involved
  • Trends in US government funding levels for global MNCH

Background information to review before the call includes:

  • APHA policy resolution proposal submitted by the IHS entitled, “Call to Action to Reduce Global Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Morbidity and Mortality*
  • Factsheet on the Millenium Development Goals 4 and 5*
  • Innovations June 2011 (newsletter on maternal health)*
  • Partnership for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health
  • Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth:
    1. The Lancet special series on Stillbirth came out in late April and all articles and comments are available for free from the series webpage. People may need to register on The Lancet website, but that is also free.*
    2. The Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth plans to launch additional advocacy around preterm and stillbirth and the GAPPS conference in July 2012 will highlight research and discovery needs around both PT and SB.*

*If you would like copies of these documents or have questions about these two issues, please contact Andrew E. Barrer, Ph.D., at aebarrer@gmail.com or (202) 674-9294.

 TOPIC: Current Developments in Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (MCNH)
DATE AND TIME: Monday, June 27, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST
PHONE NUMBER: (712) 432-1001 (please note that this is not a toll-free number)
PASSCODE: 477461343#

You are welcome to submit comments and questions for the speakers; however, we ask that you submit them in advance so that the panel can present them to the speaker. This will allow us to keep things organized. Please e-mail questions for the speakers to jmkeralis [at] gmail [dot] com  by Friday, June 24 at 8 p.m. EST (June 3, 2011).

Notes on IH Section Conference Call: Discussion of the Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel (April 11, 2011)

The IH Section held its second topic-focused conference call on the Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel on Monday, April 11, 2011 from 1:00 to 2:00 EST.  We had several excellent speakers and panelists and a very productive discussion.  Unfortunately, due to members of leadership being unavailable due to travel and limited connectivity, the call experienced some technical difficulties.  Many attendees who called in to listen may have missed the discussion due to its late start; therefore, we have posted a detailed summary of the discussion (graciously recorded by Dr. Amy Hagopian) here for those interested.

John Palen (Sr. Technical Advisor, State Department’s Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator)
Pascal Zurn (World Health Organization’s Global Health Workforce Alliance team)

Polly Pittman (George Washington University),
Cheryl Peterson (American Nursing Association),
Estelle Quain (USAID), and
Anke Tijtsma (Netherland’s Wemos organization)

Moderator and note-taker: Amy Hagopian (University of Washington)

We opened with Pascal describing the process so far, and how WHO is organizing to update member States at this year’s upcoming World Health Assembly. John talked about how the U.S. is organizing to respond to the guidelines and prepare data reports. He also noted the numerous HRH activities supported by the PEPFAR mechanism to train and retain health providers in PEPFAR supported countries.

Polly updated us on the pace of medical immigration to the U.S. in the last year or two. While physician migrants are up (pushing 30% of the total number of US physicians now), nurse migration is currently down. Clinical auxiliary personnel are immigrating at a greater pace (lab scientists, PTs, OTs). These latter personnel, along with nurses, are coming from the Philippines, Canada and Mexico, among other places. The Alliance for Ethical International Recruitment Practices is getting organized now, however, for the coming influx of nurses that is anticipated when the economy improves in the U.S. For-profit recruiting firms are also gearing up.

Cheryl talked about the role of labor in keeping working conditions strong in the U.S., and protecting the rights of immigrant health workers.

There was a question about whether there might a role for the Alliance as a part of the National Authority process.

Estelle said the Global Health Initiative continues to have a focus on human resources for health as a part of health system strengthening. The focus of USAID and the PEPFAR side of the U.S. government, is on the “push factors” motivators such as source country working conditions, wages and supervision.

Anke talked about how the Netherlands is responding. The Ministry of Health will be the reporting authority, which was transmitted to the WHO months ago. There is a role for labor unions and professional organizations as well. After the Code was translated to Dutch, a meeting was organized at the Hague to inform national stakeholders about the content of the Code and what will be expected of each party. They are now working on data flows, and revisions to law and regulation. Anke did express concern that the “other stakeholders” page of the reporting form from WHO was a little too brief and unfocused.

Pascal confirmed that WHO plans to hold conversations with interested member States (such as the U.S.) to offer guidance on how to complete the reporting form, after the web hearing is completed on April 17.

Polly and others noted there is a bifurcation in the U.S. government of people working on the Push factors and those working on the Pull factors pertaining to health workforce immigrants. There is a strong need to bring together these parties. The significant number of U.S. medical residency training positions (that exceeds the number of medical school graduates by about a third) creates a strong pulling force on medical migrants, and there has been no discussion about addressing this. (To the contrary, one of last summer’s health reform bills called on an expansion of the residency training program in the U.S.)

John called our attention to the proliferation of private for-profit training schools in Southeast Asia, creating further fodder for the migration stream.

We discussed where the discussion should take place, and there was consensus that HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) was the most probably agency to host discussions about the combination of push and pull factors that create health worker migration flows. Further, there is a strong need to generate appropriate data for reporting purposes, some of which is now only in the private sector and not organized. HRSA can address all these issues, given its portfolio of work. There is also probably a role for universities on the data, research and reporting side.

Amy noted that neither the State Dept nor HHS had responded to either letter sent to them (one from the “community of interest” and one from APHA). The APHA also has a resolution endorsing the Code.

Note: We discovered later that there Nils Daulaire, from HHS, has issued a letter in response to Dr. Benjamin’s letter on the Code of Practice.  We are very grateful to our excellent speakers and panelists, and to Dr. Hagopian for organizing and moderating this call.  Many thanks to our members who called in to listen – please call in for our June discussion!