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“There is no universal health without sexual and reproductive health” 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Population Fund are launching a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Universal Health Coverage Learning by Sharing Portal (SRH-UHC-LSP). The SRH-UHC LSP, launching on July 19, is a global resource that will feature national-level stories with a focus on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and its role in universal health coverage. 

The portal will feature, a “Bottleneck analysis for the last-mile distribution of contraceptives in Zambia,” a  story by Joy Walubita. Joy is ThinkWell’s Health and Governance Team Lead in Zambia and has worked for over 20 years to strengthen the Ministry of Health’s systems and rectify risks concerning financial and procurement management systems.  

Increasing domestic funding for SRH is essential to achieving universal health coverage. Joy’s contribution to the LSP advocates for access to quality and comprehensive SRH in universal health care.  

The LSP and WHO’s Handbook on Sexual and Reproductive Health-UHC Integration—released earlier this month—are among the tools WHO and partners will use to incorporate SRH into national health plans, budgets, and programming. 

Mark your calendars for July 19 to read Joy’s contribution to the LSP launch and learn more about the portal here 

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Despite this fact, the lack of access to resources can make it deadly. 90% of deaths attributed to cervical cancer are a result of inaccessibility to necessary resources, treatment, and screening 

Francophone Africa is one of many areas that struggles with this issue and women’s cancers in general. Currently, the necessary resources for women’s cancers screening and management are slim. Even when services are available, they are not accessible or affordable to those that require them. 

In an attempt to close this funding gap, the Union for International Cancer Control has partnered with ThinkWell to consider and research how an integration approach can work to improve women’s cancers control efforts. 

Integration is an approach that involves assessing the already-existing health programs and considering where and how women’s cancers care can be incorporated into them. To achieve this, Marie-Jeanne Offosse, the Country Director of ThinkWell Burkina Faso, presented a guide to integration during a women’s cancers workshop for UICC.

To begin, it is important to review the financing ecosystem of the community. To do this, we must consider how cancer care is currently funded, and what the barriers to that care are for those who need it. In Francophone Africa, these barriers include limited services and delivery points, little comprehensive care, and a lack of necessary staff and equipment. 

To improve the outcome of women’s cancers care, we can implement an integration approach that promotes partnership with existing programs. To do this properly, we must understand what country-specific issues need to be addressed in order to achieve integration. From there, we can harness local opportunities by assessing current women’s health programs and determining which ones would be able to absorb women’s cancers care as a priority. To decide which program, or programs, are best suited for integration, we can use a grading system that evaluates their existing priorities and goals, financial sustainability, and potential for partnership. 

Finally, we must settle on the most appropriate integration approach. Considering all the above information, we can articulate our approach through targeting, timing, and telling. For example, we can determine who our stakeholders for policy recommendations are. This might include ministers, executives, and civil society leaders. Then, we pay attention to timing: when are the best windows for planning and budgeting to best implement this integration approach? From there, we must pinpoint our key messages and the value integration offers to both our goals and our audience’s objectives. 

By implementing an integration approach through these methods, we can work toward making women’s cancers care more available, accessible, and affordable for those who need it. This will ultimately allow for less women’s  cancer cases leading to death. Providing access to screening will permit women and medical professionals to become aware of the cancer as soon as possible, and by having better access to treatment, they should be able to recover. With these goals in mind as this approach is implemented, women in Francophone Africa will have the resources they need to battle this preventable cancer. 

Immunization campaigns are a vital delivery strategy to improve coverage and decrease morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases. Campaigns are used frequently to administer a variety of lifesaving vaccines such as measles, cholera, yellow fever, and Covid-19. Immunization campaigns require significant resources over a short period of time. Inadequate funding can decrease a campaign’s effectiveness, and a low-impact campaign may be a considerable waste of resources. 

It is crucial that the costs of different immunization campaigns are accurately estimated to inform planning, budgeting, and resource mobilization. Although various guidance documents cover the costing of health interventions and routine immunization programs specifically, none discuss the specifics of costing immunization campaigns.  

The How to Cost an Immunization Campaign guide released as part of the ICAN project in 2021 offers methodological advice for field researchers, country practitioners, and academics worldwide on costing an immunization campaign. Learnings from campaign costing studies in India, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone were used to inform the guidance. This guide complements the literature on costing studies with specific methodological considerations for immunization campaigns, clear instructions fitting potential scenarios, and concrete examples. It is intended to improve the standardization of campaign costing processes and reporting, enhance the availability and comparability of evidence, and improve its use by country and global stakeholders.  

The guide is also accompanied by practical tips for costing studies, information on the differences between routine immunization and campaign costing, FAQs on campaign costing, data collection tools at facility, district, state, and national levels plus user manual, and practical examples on how to annualize capital costs and calculate unit costs in Excel, and run a calibration exercise in R. 

You can find out more about ThinkWell’s work on campaign costing here. 

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