True Condoms

New Trust “Kuwa True” Campaign Goes Live

By C. Montague Hermann, PSI Social Marketing Technical Advisor PSI Social Marketing Technical Advisor C. Montague Hermann regularly writes about news and his opinion on what’s happening in the condom business in East Africa and beyond for his blog, Condom Collective, where this piece originally ran. Despite a storied history of championing condoms in Kenya,

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Overcoming Hypertension in Africa

By Mark Mallon, Executive Vice President International, AstraZeneca In advance of World Hypertension Day on May 17, PSI and Jhpiego have teamed up to bring awareness to the tremendous cost of hypertension to low- and middle-income countries. Together with several other international and local NGOs, the organizations are working to implement Healthy Heart Africa, a

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Tackling Africa’s burden of hypertension through communities and partnerships

By Dr. Stella Njagi, Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK) In advance of World Hypertension Day on May 17, PSI and Jhpiego have teamed up to bring awareness to the tremendous cost of hypertension to low- and middle-income countries. Together with several other international and local NGOs, the organizations are working to implement Healthy Heart

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#OneBillionNets to Save Lives and Defeat Malaria

By Jenny Tolep, External Relations & Communications World Malaria Day is fast approaching on Saturday, April 25th, and this year we have much to celebrate. Since 2004 the global community has distributed one billion nets, saving more than 4 million lives. Created as part of the One Billion Nets campaign, the video below marks this

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Silent Killer Gaining Momentum in Africa

Partnership designed to address hypertension, cardiovascular disease head-on

Dr. Elijah Ogola, vice president for the East-Pan-African Society of Cardiology, describes how the innovative public-private partnership Healthy Heart Africa – which includes Population Services Kenya – is improving hypertension care in Kenya, for NextBillion. Right now, we have the opportunity to confront a silent killer that is gaining momentum across Africa. Hypertension, or raised blood pressure, has grown

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Children as Ambassadors for Health in their Communities

Photo of the week

By Jenny Tolep It’s been said that children are our future. In Mombasa, Kenya, this serves true as school children become ambassadors for health, spreading knowledge about handwashing practices to their communities. PSI knows that when children learn healthy behaviors, they help pass on life-saving information to their families – setting off a powerful ripple

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AstraZeneca and PSI:
Reducing hypertension in Kenya

Read more from PSI’s Corporate Partnerships Report 2014

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A total market for circumcision

How private sector providers add marketing and distribution value for voluntary medical male circumcision

By Oscar Abello President Barack Obama. Former Kenya Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Oscar-award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o. They’re not just of Kenyan heritage—all three are specifically of Luo heritage, the third largest ethnic group in Kenya, predominantly residing in the Nyanza province on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya’s western region. The Luo standout

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Getting to zero

Nurses integrating services to put HIV on the retreat in Kenya

Editor’s note: Part of a special series on the global health workforce, in partnership with the Frontline Health Workers Coalition. Checkout #HealthWorkersCount on Twitter for more from coalition partners. Issue No. 18 of Impact, focusing on the global health workforce, launches next week. Caroline Atieno grew up watching the AIDS epidemic burn through the coastal towns

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The secrets of Starbucks

PSI and MSI Launch Social Franchising eLearning Course

By Christine Bixiones, Technical Advisor, Sexual Reproductive Health & TB Department Twenty years ago in Nepal, the first modern example of social franchising for health – the application of commercial franchising strategies to achieve public health goals – began expanding access to quality health services. This year, PSI and Marie Stopes International, two organizations that have

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Social and structural drivers

Scaling up proven biomedical and behavioral interventions isn’t enough

Social and structural drivers of the HIV epidemic: what’s the buzz about?

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Handwashing in Action

By Chris Mallaband, Unilever

Every year, 2 million children don’t live to celebrate their 5th birthday. You can help change that by donating today. Better yet, Unilever will match your donation so it will go twice as far. Go here to donate today and read on to learn more.

PSI 3Every year, 2 million children don’t live to celebrate their 5th birthday. You can help change that by donating today. Better yet, Unilever will match your donation so it will go twice as far. Go here to donate today and read on to learn more.

Chris Mallaband is the Unilever Foundation Global Ambassador for PSI. Chris traveled to Kenya in June 2013 to visit schools participating in the Lifebuoy ‘School of Five’ handwashing program. This is day one of his experience at the schools.

The day I have been especially looking forward to is here. Today we will visit some of the schools in Kenya that follow the Lifebuoy ‘School of Five’ handwashing program. Helping children learn handwashing habits is a noble mission indeed.

Our destination is the Likoni region of Mombasa, stopping off on the way to talk with the Mombasa Ministry of Health before we reach the schools.

After finishing a rapid breakfast, we are off to visit the Ministry. It’s immediately apparent that the Mombasa traffic is just as challenging as that in Nairobi. We spend a lot of time standing still, giving the hawkers plenty of opportunity to stare through our windows and offer us anything from cakes to knives, and fruit to toys. Sadly for them, none of us are up for a deal.

We meet with Dr. Shikily, the Director of Health for the Mombasa region, and her team. Following the recent national elections, Kenya changed from 8 regions to 47 counties; a change in strategic direction perhaps going against the grain of most organizational design you see nowadays. Dr. Shikily explained to us how this has made her life much more complicated to get things done. We then discuss how Unilever, PSI and the Kenyan Government could collaborate further, to enable ever greater positive impact all round.

With the discussions concluded, it is time to tackle the short ferry that shuttles motorists across Kilindini Harbour. The ferry is a renowned bottleneck in the already-suffocated Mombasa transport system and lives up to its reputation. Back on land, our driver Peter skillfully avoids the stray goats and cows on the local roads, and we enter rural Likoni reaching our first school, Bethania Academy.

Bethania is a private school but a relatively inexpensive one. A look around the local community reveals that this is far from the land of milk and honey.

We receive a warm welcome from the headmaster and his pupils, who recited their Lifebuoy ‘School of Five’ pledge to us with wide smiles at an impromptu assembly. Two children in each classroom have the opportunity to be appointed as “Little Doctors” – kind of captains of handwashing practices. The pair has the responsibility to remind their classmates of the key times when they should wash their hands, and how they should do it.

Christine tells me how proud she is to be a little doctor. She kindly walks me from school to her nearby home to meet her family. To my surprise, the house is, in truth, really a few basic rooms within a communal building – certainly a way away from how I might have perceived a private school pupil to live.

Nine dwellings share three basic toilets, and all the rooms are separated with thin curtains. Her father Charles, a salesman, tells me how Christine educated the family on handwashing with soap based on the program that she has followed at school. Now, he, his wife and Christine’s sister all follow the ‘5 key occasions’ rules of washing their hands before the three main meals, after using the toilet and when in the bath.

As we depart, Charles introduces me to his neighbor Patrick. Charles says that he trained Patrick on the benefits of handwashing with soap, and how to do it properly. Here was community transference of behavior change being demonstrated in true community-led style.

After high-fives with many of the pupils at Bethania, it was time to move on to another school in Likoni district and, against the odds, to visit a state school. Despite a national teachers’ walkout, the headteacher of the fantastically-named Inspirations Primary School reported for duty so that she and her pupils have the chance to meet us.

We are ushered to the school hall, absent of seating and lighting. The children proceed to give us their Lifebuoy ‘School of Five’ pledge before a few of them act out a self-written play. The characters show how the learning materials come to life.

Another small group step forward to sing a song to us about the hope and potential that children can bring. Hearing these words sung within the surroundings of the basic facilities in which we stood was truly uplifting.

Inspirations by name and inspirations as pupils.

I greet the children with our thanks and stress the need for them to sustain what they learned. I am delighted when the headteacher tells me, as we leave, that the program has helped to increase school attendance by reducing sickness among the pupils.

Our final stop of the day is one particularly close to my heart. Having provided voluntary sports commentary for blind spectators at cricket matches in the UK for a number of years, I was especially keen to visit Likoni School for the Blind. It is one of only two schools for blind children in Kenya, and was founded in collaboration with the British Salvation Army back in 1965.

The familiar Salvation Army badge still adorns a number of the buildings. It presently has around 150 boarding pupils, with around 20% of these being albino children, for whom life in the country in which they live is an extremely tough challenge. The children here also completed the program, and it was great to see the enthusiasm that they had for the characters and the concept. Once more I spent some time with the ‘little doctors’ at the school.

A boy named Rufus tells me that I too must make sure I wash my hands at all the key times. I promise him that I will, and we shake hands on it.

A busy day behind us, we look forward to a straightforward journey back to our hotel. Just under three hours after we started what we thought would be less than an hour’s drive, we eventually reached it. Enough said.

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