CSIS Video: President Joyce Banda’s Story

In this six-minute interview Joyce Banda, the current president of Malawi, talks about how her life and personal experiences have shaped her mission and policy priorities that she has carried throughout her career. She focuses on three main areas: educating girls, combating domestic abuse against women, and improving post-natal care to keep women alive.

Watch Malawi’s first female President, Joyce Banda, talk about the importance of education for girls and the empowerment of women.

CSIS Video: President Joyce Banda on Women’s Health & Empowerment in Malawi

When Joyce Banda unexpectedly ascended to the presidency of Malawi last April, after the death of President Mutharika, many in her country and around the world wondered what her impact would be as Malawi’s first woman president. Among the many challenges, her government faces high rates of maternal mortality, high total fertility rates, and high HIV prevalence among women and girls, combined with low levels of women’s economic empowerment and widespread violence against women.

CSIS wanted to learn more about how women leaders in Africa are bringing new attention to women’s health and empowerment in their own countries, and to bring those voices into the discussion about U.S. policy priorities for women’s global health. To do this, we sent a small team to Malawi and Zambia in December 2012.

In this video, Malawi’s President Joyce Banda talks to CSIS about the importance of women’s health and empowerment in Malawi.

To learn more visit: http://www.SmartGlobalHealth.org/JoyceBanda

Global Health News Last Week

May 18 was HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.


  • Hundreds of Kenyan AIDS activists held a protest on 18 May in the capital, Nairobi to demand that the government meet its commitment to increase annual health and HIV funding.
  • In response to the mutual expulsion of diplomats, the UK’s DFID announced that it has frozen new aid to Malawi.
  • DDT has made a controversial re-appearance in Uganda.



  • The World Health Organization has just launched a new web-based information resource tool that should be of interest to many in global health and development community, the Global Health Observatory.
  • According to the World Health Organization, the worldwide prevalence of obesity has more than doubled between 1980 and 2008.
  • New research has found that a variant in one gene can lead to a 30 percent lower risk of developing cerebral malaria.
  • A new study from Bangladesh concludes that most of the world’s pregnant women don’t need vitamin A supplements.
  • American scientists have tested a treatment regimen for tuberculosis which will reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the full treatment as compared to current plans.
  • A new report from the Guttmacher Institute finds that that 7 in 10 women in Sub Saharan Africa, south central Asia and south east Asia who want to avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern methods give reasons for non-use which suggest available methods do not fulfill their needs.
  • Average life expectancy across much of the world — except Iraq and South Africa — is steadily climbing and infant deaths dropped across the world during the first decade of the 21st century, according to figures released by the World Health Organization.
  • The Clinton Health Access Initiative and Gates Foundation have teamed up to support research into developing a cheaper version of the drug Tenofovir.


  • China has reduced its AIDS mortality by two-thirds since it began distributing free antiretroviral drugs in 2002; however, the improvements were seen largely in patients who acquired HIV through blood transfusion, rather than through sex or drug use. On a darker note, Chinese authorities ordered an AIDS activists’ web site shut down after it had published an open letter from a retired senior official concerning news restrictions placed on a 20th-century public health scandal.
  • Dr. Orin Levine looks at a disturbing global trend: Infectious killers that had been beaten back by aggressive immunization efforts are making a comeback in places long thought to be safe havens.


The IH Blog was featured in the “Buzzing in the Blogs” section of the Healthy Dose this week! Thanks to Tom Murphy for reading and tweeting us!

Summer Internship Position with VillageReach (Seattle, WA)

The following is a posting for a summer internship position with VillageReach.  The original posting can be found here (pdf).

Background: VillageReach is a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise working to save lives and improve wellbeing in developing countries by increasing last‐mile access to healthcare and investing in social businesses that address gaps in community infrastructure. For more information visit: www.villagereach.org.

Internship Description: The HSG Internship is an opportunity for an experienced graduate‐level student interested in both research and implementation to contribute his/her knowledge to the design and evaluation of health system interventions at VillageReach. The intern will work closely with VillageReach program staff on a variety of activities to support the work of the Health Systems Group. The initial focus of the intern will be on supporting the expansion of our work in Malawi and documenting our work through case studies and other knowledge dissemination reports, although other projects and duties will be assigned.

Expansion of our Work in Malawi: VillageReach has been working at the district and community level in Malawi since 2008. Our focus has been on a deep community health intervention aimed at decreasing key illness for children under five. Now that we have developed strong relationships and infrastructure at the community level, we are  researching new ways to expand our work in Malawi in high‐impact, sustainable ways. The intern will be responsible for conducting secondary research on potential additional interventions that VillageReach could take on as part of their work in Malawi. This will include learning about VillageReach’ interventions to date through report review and discussions with key staff, but also looking at other successful high‐impact community interventions from other projects or other country settings.

Drafting of Case Studies on VillageReach work: The intern will also be asked to assist with documentation of current VillageReach projects through case studies, blog posts, academic articles, website content, etc. This may include documentation of our long‐term work in Malawi and Mozambique, as well as some of our short‐term engagements in other countries.

This position requires strong writing and sophisticated research skills, technical knowledge of global health program design, and experience working in a low‐income country context. Experience working with and/or researching health supply chains is a plus. The successful candidate will be a person motivated by mission, a highly dynamic and flexible environment and the understanding that his or her contribution can and will impact the success of VillageReach.


  • Graduate‐level student studying global public health
  • Skilled writer and researcher
  • Outstanding ability to synthesize, organize, and present research
  • Skilled at accessing secondary sources
  • Fluency in English
  • Experience working in a low‐income country

Commitment: This is a full‐time 8‐10 week summer internship based in the VillageReach Headquarters in Seattle, Washington, USA. The internship is designed for the summer months of June‐August, but there is flexibility for the exact starting and ending dates.

Stipend: The internship has a $3,500 stipend to support living expenses.

Deadline for Application: May 13, 2010.

To Apply: Send resume and cover letter to Info@villagereach.org with the subject line “HSG Summer Intern.”

Global Health News Last Week


  • Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) introduced the Water for the World Act of 2011, a bill in the Senate which will make providing safe and clean drinking water around the world a priority for US foreign aid.
  • More than 60 world nutrition experts met at WHO headquarters last week to revise guidelines and to identify solutions to tackle the growing problems of both malnutrition and obesity around the world.
  • Ministers of health and other high-level health officials from throughout the Americas called for a series of actions to reduce the toll of chronic noncommunicable diseases, in a declaration issued last week in Mexico City.
  • The Global Fund announced that former President of Botswana Festus Mogae and former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt have agreed to lead a high-level panel of experts that will conduct an independent and thorough review of the Global Fund’s financial safeguards.
  • UN agencies are concerned that reduced donor funding due to the recession, combined with free trade agreements, will reduce the availability of low-cost HIV medications in developing countries.
  • The United Nations General Assembly will convene a high-level meeting in September this year to discuss the financial burden caused by non-communicable diseases (NCD) on countries.


  • A study done is Malawi by the World Bank attracted attention (and criticism) from Businessweek. Young women were given to stay in school and deter them from accepting money and gifts from “sugar daddies” in exchange for sex. The study found that HIV infection rates were 60% among schoolgirls who received cash compared to those who received nothing.
  • A recent review of malaria treatment clinical trial results, published in the Chochrane Library, shows that artesunate was more effective that quinine at treating severe malaria.
  • A personalized text messaging reminder service significantly boosted antiretroviral (ARV) adherence over a six-week period compared with a standard beeper reminder system, according to a study published in the March issue of AIDS Patient Care and STDs.
  • About 600 people gathered at the Global Health Metrics and Evaluation conference in Seattle to discuss issues surrounding the evaluation of effectiveness of health programs.


  • Global health blogger Alanna Shaikh discusses how micro-credit and the Green Revolution, two of international development’s biggest successes, are being re-evaluated.
  • The Nepalese government is planning launch a large vaccination campaign against elephantiasis in 40 high-risk districts.
  • Dubai’s Ministry of Health introduced Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine PCV13, a vaccine that protects young children from the worst effects of illnesses including pneumonia, blood infections and meningitis.
  • The National Influenza Center of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been designated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, making China the first developing country to house such an institution.


  • Europe is concerned by the growing incidence of drug-resistant TB, particularly in children.
  • The world continues to follow the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, including the unfolding situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The WHO has assured that there is no danger to individuals being exposed to radiation in nearby nations (e.g. China).
  • As if Haiti needed any more bad news, a study published in the Lancet says that the UN estimate of 400,000 cholera cases in Haiti this year is nearly half of what the real projection should be for the recovering nation. Meanwhile, health officials in Lagos have called on residents to observe high standards of personal and environmental hygiene and have designated emergency numbers to call in case of suspected cases; the Ghana Health Service has set up cholera centers in Accra to deal with the outbreak there; and the interim federal government of Somalia on Tuesday denied reports of an outbreak of cholera in the country, responding to an Associated Press story over the weekend that Somali doctors had reported that more than 20 people had died from the disease.
  • In the February 2011 issue of PLoS Neglected Tropical Disease Journal, contributing editor Serap Aksoy discussed the triumphs behind the control of human African trypanosomiasis, or African Sleeping Sickness.
  • Although women get diagnosed for tuberculosis (TB) later than men, treatment outcomes among women are better than men with higher TB treatment success rate and lower default (drop-out) rate in the female patients. The finding was announced at a meeting on TB and women in New Delhi, India.
  • While the total number of newly reported HIV positive people and AIDS patients are still low in Japan compared with other countries, the number of newly HIV-infected people in Japan has doubled in the past decade due to public complacency and lower awareness.