A Toilet Brings Hope and Dignity

In many parts of the world, when nature calls, there is simply nowhere to go. Like most people in her community, Virginie Anagonou knows all too well the  challenges of living without a toilet – and the safety and dignity it offers. The everyday act of relieving oneself becomes a test of will. “We would

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World Population Day

World Humanitarian Day: How Local Leaders are Inspiring Us All

By Anna Dirksen, PSI Consultant Today is World Humanitarian Day, a relatively new day of celebration and commemoration within the global development community. On this day in 2003, 22 aid workers were killed in a bombing at UN headquarters in Baghdad. The friends of one of the diplomats killed that day — Sérgio Vieira de Mello

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Benin, Malaria, Counterfeit drugs, Sub-standard drugs, pharmaceuticals, USAID, Partnerships, Malaria Treatment, Public Health, USAID

Fighting Fraudulent Malaria Drugs in Benin

By Bijan Manavizadeh, ABMS Technical Assistant/Peace Corps 3rd year volunteer The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently posted a video to their YouTube page featuring PSI’s network member in Benin, the Association Béninoise pour le Marketing Social (ABMS). The video marks the launch of the Fighting Fraudulent Malaria Drugs campaign in the country’s

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Acting Peace Corps Director visits ABMS’s Amour & Vie program

Amour-&-View-demonstration

On March 17, Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet visited the Association Béninoise pour le Marketing Social (ABMS), a member of the PSI network, to see firsthand the partnership between the Peace Corps and ABMS in Benin.

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Multiplying Health Impact in Benin: A Peace Corps and PSI Collaboration

By PSI and the Peace Corps

UntitledThe small West African country of Benin hosts over a hundred Peace Corps Volunteers serving in local communities as teachers, health and enterprise advisers and environmental educators. Volunteers work at a local level to support underserved people and communities in each of these sectors. From their local vantage point, Peace Corps Volunteers know that the delivery of primary health care in resource-constrained countries like Benin faces many challenges that negatively impact both the quality of care and the achievement of sustainable clinical and public health outcomes.

To address these challenges, Population Services International (PSI) and its affiliate Association Beninoise pour le Marketing Social (ABMS) have undertaken programs to improve the provision of quality of services and products in Benin’s health sector.

Peace Corps Benin and PSI have had a long partnership, which has evolved and matured over the past eight years. Initially Peace Corps assigned one or two Volunteers to work directly with PSI. While this partnership was fruitful, it had a limited impact, and did not involve the many other Peace Corps Volunteers in Benin, serving both in the Rural Community Health and other programs.

Recently, PSI has been able to broaden its relationship with Peace Corps Benin and extend to include other Volunteers and to increase the impact of their joint activities. This collaboration complements Peace Corps’ recent emphasis on partnerships, increased emphasis on technical training, and a more focused programmatic approach. Peace Corps Benin sees in PSI a partner who can help improve pre-service and in-service technical training modules, assist in the development of job aids and tools for Volunteers after training, provide continued technical support over a number of years, and offer a structure and/or framework for Volunteers to better deliver their messages or assistance.

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Community-Based Activities to Improve Child Survival in Benin

By Paula Agebemavo, Public Relations Coordinator, PSI affiliate ABMS (Association Beninoise pour le Marketing Social)

Out of every 1,000 live births in Benin, 68 infants die before age 1, and 125 infants die before reaching the age of 5 (EDS 2006). Around 70% of infant deaths, due to diarrhea, pneumonia, or malaria, occur in households or within local communities. This is due mainly in part to a lack of access to health centers and/or the preference of the population to use medicinal plants for treatment, as opposed to modern care. To reinforce its interventions in child survival, the IMPACT/USAID project, in collaboration with the Mother and Child Unit of the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and AFRICARE, financed three training sessions from April 2nd through May 5th 2012. These sessions reached out to 142 community workers from 71 villages in one of Benin’s most critical health zones. The training included discussions and material on malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea treatment, preventive inoculation, promotion of essential family health practices, pregnancy and delivery, and baby monitoring.

Furthermore, the project reinforced the capacity of 79 health professionals and 46 health assistants in an effort to increase the skills and knowledge of community workers on the implementation of the community-based activities as related to child survival. In the Avrankou-Akpro-Missérété health zone, only 42 out of around 100 villages benefited from malaria and diarrhea treatment. Following the training, an integrated management for infant diseases was launched on June 6th throughout all the villages during which equipment and medicines for treatment of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, fever, and cough were distributed by UNICEF. This intervention was an important step in the progression of one of the greatest challenges for the Ministry of Health, which is to increase, among other interventions, the integrated management of infant diseases at a national level.

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Like, Friend, Empower: Using Facebook to Tell Youth About Safer Sexual Health

Facebook is thriving among young people in Benin’s urban areas. There were more than 142,600 Facebook users in Benin at the end of June, nearly half of whom are 18-24 years old. Recent research of young people in Benin’s four largest cities – Bohicon, Cotonou, Djougou and Parakou – found that youth prefer Facebook as

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Impact: Broadcasting the Message

It is Wednesday, and the Amour & Vie weekly radio program – Love & Life in English – is starting in 15 minutes. Patricia Montcho and her co-host, Yann Kounde, look over their scripts and run through some lines. African pop music streams proudly through the crowded radio station. Amidst the chaos, Patricia seems relaxed, prepared and professional. She walks into the sound booth.

The intro jingle starts to play, and Patricia kicks off the show. “Hey out there, glad you could join us for this week’s show. Today we’re talking about abstinence and why or why not have you, as a young person, abstained from sex.”

Two years ago, Patricia joined Amour & Vie, a youth program organized by ABMS, PSI’s affiliate in Benin. She works voluntarily as a freelancer for the program and host for the weekly radio show. She also studies Linguistics and Public Health at the University of Abomey- Calavi in Cotonou.

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Interview: Benin Minister of Health Prof. Dorothée K. Gazard

The Association Beninoise pour le Marketing Social, an affiliate of PSI in Benin, took time to speak with Benin’s Minister of Health, Prof. Dorothée K. Gazard for their FoQus newsletter.  In the discussion, Prof. Gazard shares her vision for moving Family and Reproductive health forward in Benin. 

FoQus : After six months at the helm of the Ministry of Health, what can be learned from the actions you have taken?

Prof. GAZARD: I would first like to thank you for the honor you have bestowed upon me to express myself in your magazine on issues related to people’s health in our country. It is always a pleasure to respond to your questions, because it is an exercise that informs your readers concerning key issues relating to the health system of our country. The health sector is a sensitive area that deserves special attention. Since I took of the head of the Ministry of Health, the actions we have taken can be summarized in three points:

1) The first thing I proceeded to do is to analyze the existing situation. It was important to know the state of the system and measure the extent of challenges. In this context:
– I conducted a series of scheduled or unannounced visits to health facilities both public, private, faith-based along with other organizations (such as fire departments) involved in the health system of our country;
– I met health facility directors on all levels of the health pyramid in Natitingou during the Independence Day celebration.

2) As I took over as the Director of the Ministry we instigated the following actions:
– The building of a new team.
– The orienting of new workers to teamwork and the vision of the Head of State in the health sector. This was achieved by organizing a two-day workshop on the subject.
– The immediate resumption of dialogue with social partners, including the implementation of the sectoral committee for social dialogue and periodic meetings conducted with social partners to maintain a strong relationship.
– The resumption of contact with the technical and financial partners, including the reinstatement of quarterly meetings with all contributors to national health. The first day of work with the PTF and the Ministry of Health was recently held in Ouidah, November 3, 2011.
– Meeting with the media during a press dinner at which the Head of State shared his vision concerning public health.

3) The main reforms:
These reforms are just variations of the President of the Republic’s vision for national health. One of the greatest reforms already executed is
~The presidential initiative for free malaria treatments for pregnant women and children under five years.

Further reforms are about to be initiated. They are as follows:
– Universal Health Insurance Plan (UHIP).
– The extension of free caesarean sections for obstetric emergencies such as hemorrhaging and complications due to respiratory diseases in birthing.

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Healthy Dose October 14, 2011

Top Story Indoor Cookstoves Kill More than Malaria Indoor cooking stoves kill more than 2 million people a year say researchers. AFP reports: Three billion people worldwide cook indoors by burning solid fuels such as wood, charcoal or dung, yet little public awareness surrounds what the World Health Organization describes as the globe’s top environmental

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On the Road…Cotonou, Benin

Ed note. This item, by PSI Associate Communications Manager Mandy McAnally, is part of our On The Road series. Special thanks to Leonce Dossou and Megan Wilson. Photo credit: Olivier Girard Day 2 2:00 PM Amour et Vie We’re in a loud, crowded radio station when I meet Patricia for the first time. Graffiti art

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On the Road…in Benin

Ed note. This item, by PSI Associate Communications manager Mandy McAnally, is part of our On The Road series.  I was in Benin, recently, and I had the opportunity to see some of the incredible work that the staff of PSI’s affiliate, ABMS, is doing in the capital city Cotonou. We visited three USAID-funded health

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