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AIHA News Hub

In this section, you can access a range of information that will keep you up-to-date on all things AIHA, including press releases, newsletters, success stories, reports, and information about funding opportunities when they become available.

Our projects are dynamic, our partners are amazing, and we’ve got a lot of powerful stories to share about how they are making a real and sustainable impact on health systems in low- and middle-income countries around the globe!

Featured Stories

Dr. Debrework Zewdie Visits AIHA Partners at Debre Berhan Hospital

Dr. Debrework Zewdie, who earlier this year joined AIHA’s Board of Directors, recently traveled to her native country of Ethiopia where she met with our country team in Addis Ababa. She also traveled to Debre Berhan Referral Hospital, which engaged in a PEPFAR-supported Twinning Center partnership with Elmhurst Hospital Center from 2007-2014, accompanied by AIHA Country Director, Kidest Hailu, and Program Coordinator, Saba Sintayehu. There, she toured the hospital campus, met with staff, and learned first-hand how their partnership helped transform Debre Berhan into one of the country’s leading hospitals.
New AIHA Board member Dr. Debrework Zewdie talks with Dr. Fiseha Tadesse, Medical Director of Debre Berhan Referral Hospital. Through AIHA's PEPFAR-supported HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Program, Debre Berhan partnered with Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York City from 2007-2014 to improve the quality of HIV treatment, care, and support services.

New AIHA Board member Dr. Debrework Zewdie talks with Dr. Fiseha Tadesse, Medical Director of Debre Berhan Referral Hospital. Through AIHA’s PEPFAR-supported HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Program, Debre Berhan partnered with Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York City from 2007-2014 to improve the quality of HIV treatment, care, and support services.

“I was so impressed,” Dr. Debrework said of her visit to Debre Berhan. “I must say, in my 35 years of development work I have never seen a cleaner or more well-run hospital in any of the developing countries I visited — and I have visited many,” she recounted, noting, “It is also a testament that with the right leadership one can do so much with very little.”

Nurse Matron Sister Tseganesh Biabil describes some of the many changes made to improve nursing services and administration as a result of Debre Berhan's partnership with Elmhurst Hospital Center. These included changing staffing patterns, expanding training, and improving communication and operational policies. Collectively, this resulted in nurses gaining a new-found pride in their profession.

Nurse Matron Sister Tseganesh Biabil describes some of the many changes made to improve nursing services and administration as a result of Debre Berhan’s partnership with Elmhurst Hospital Center. These included changing staffing patterns, expanding training, and improving communication and operational policies. Collectively, this resulted in nurses gaining a new-found pride in their profession.

AIHA and Debre Berhan staff pose with Dr. Debrework Zewdie during her tour of the hospital campus.

AIHA and Debre Berhan staff pose with Dr. Debrework Zewdie during her tour of the hospital campus.

Thanks to that leadership, and the technical assistance provided by AIHA and their partners at Elmhurst, Debre Berhan has emerged as a national benchmark and been recognized as a top-performing hospital by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health for the last three years in a row.

Dr. Debrework is currently Distinguished Scholar at the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy of the City University of New York (CUNY) and Senior Leadership Fellow at Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her previous professional experience includes leadership positions at The World Bank, the Global Fund, and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.
We’re thrilled to welcome her to the AIHA family!

Click here to learn more about AIHA’s Debre Berhan / Elmhurst partnership, which was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Ethiopia through a cooperative agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 

Blood Safety Project Ushers in New Focus on Quality Management, Expanded National Capacity of Blood Services in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Ministry of Health recently recognized a team of local quality managers and laboratory specialists as national trainers, empowering them to provide training and mentoring in quality management systems to blood services throughout Ukraine.

The national trainers represent partner sites in a blood safety project implemented in Ukraine since 2012 by AIHA. This project supports the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and is funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The team of national blood services quality management trainers approved by Ukraine’s Ministry of Health includes (left to the right,  Oleksandr Serhiienko, national blood safety expert, AIHA; Oksana Marynyuk, deputy head physician on organizational and technical issues, Kyiv City Blood Center; Olena Matyuk, quality manager, Rivne Oblast Blood Center; Kateryna Chyrkova, IT engineer, Kharkiv Oblast Blood Center; Marina Tkachenko, quality manager, Odessa Oblast Blood Center; Oksana Shaider, physician-transfusiologist, physician-transfusiologist, Children’s Hospital Transfusion Department, OHMATDIT; (Oksana Syvak, Deputy Minister of Health, MoH Ukraine – next in picture); Oksana Petrenko, quality manager, Kyiv Oblast Blood Center; Victoria Yanovska, head of Ukrainian Reference Center for Clinical Laboratory and Metrology, OHMATDIT; Anatolii Chuhriiev, head physician of Zhytomyr Oblast Blood Center and president of the Association of Blood Service of Ukraine. Members of the team not pictured here are Petro Verbitskyi, head physician, Kyiv Oblast Blood Center; Tetiana Tereshchuk, QM, Zhytomyr Oblast Blood Center; Oksana Mulyarchuk, physician-transfusiologist, Children’s Hospital Transfusion Department, OHMATDIT, and Marina Kostina, physician-transfusiologist South Western Railway Road Transfusion Station.

The team of national blood services quality management trainers approved by Ukraine’s Ministry of Health includes (left to the right, Oleksandr Serhiienko, national blood safety expert, AIHA; Oksana Marynyuk, deputy head physician on organizational and technical issues, Kyiv City Blood Center; Olena Matyuk, quality manager, Rivne Oblast Blood Center; Kateryna Chyrkova, IT engineer, Kharkiv Oblast Blood Center; Marina Tkachenko, quality manager, Odessa Oblast Blood Center; Oksana Shaider, physician-transfusiologist, physician-transfusiologist, Children’s Hospital Transfusion Department, OHMATDIT; (Oksana Syvak, Deputy Minister of Health, MoH Ukraine – next in picture); Oksana Petrenko, quality manager, Kyiv Oblast Blood Center; Victoria Yanovska, head of Ukrainian Reference Center for Clinical Laboratory and Metrology, OHMATDIT; Anatolii Chuhriiev, head physician of Zhytomyr Oblast Blood Center and president of the Association of Blood Service of Ukraine. Members of the team not pictured here are Petro Verbitskyi, head physician, Kyiv Oblast Blood Center; Tetiana Tereshchuk, QM, Zhytomyr Oblast Blood Center; Oksana Mulyarchuk, physician-transfusiologist, Children’s Hospital Transfusion Department, OHMATDIT, and Marina Kostina, physician-transfusiologist South Western Railway Road Transfusion Station.

Soon after the launch of the project in Ukraine, quality management systems emerged as a key technical assistance priority. Starting in 2013, AIHA began developing the capacity of 12 blood service workers with expertise in various aspects of blood establishment operations, including collections, laboratory, quality, and information services. The training started with basic quality management concepts then progressed to more advanced topics. Following three years of targeted technical assistance, they are now national-level experts fully capable of training and mentoring other blood services personnel as the country works to attain international standards.

In accordance with international best practices and standards, the team developed a Quality Management Manual, which was reviewed by Dr. Oleksandr Serhiienko, National Technical Expert for the AIHA Blood Safety Project, and Jean Stanley, Principle Investigator. Further, it was approved by the National Academy of Post-Graduate Medical Education and recognized by the Ministry of Education, making it an official part of governmental postgraduate education in Ukraine.

Following a Training of Trainers workshop on December 5-6, 2016, the team presented the manual at a Conference of the All-Ukrainian Blood Service Association. The event was conducted on December 9 in Kyiv and attended by head physicians from all blood establishments in Ukraine. The manual covers key elements of a quality management system for blood establishments and includes practical examples for implementation.

In 2017, the team of national experts will commence quality  management trainings in their respective cities, as well as other  locations throughout the country as requested by the Ministry  of Health.  Through this activity, at least 150 people will be trained.  Starting in February, the experts will conduct 20 webinars  and AIHA will arrange for 500 more copies of the new manual  to be printed and distributed nationally along with a CD  recordings of the webinars.

In 2017, the team of national experts will commence quality
management trainings in their respective cities, as well as other
locations throughout the country as requested by the Ministry
of Health. Through this activity, at least 150 people will be trained.
Starting in February, the experts will conduct 20 webinars
and AIHA will arrange for 500 more copies of the new manual
to be printed and distributed nationally along with a CD
recordings of the webinars.

The manual dissemination conference on December 9 provided a venue for the national trainers to share their unique experiences, including successes and challenges with implementing key elements of a quality system in their own institutions. This was beneficial for others in attendance who will soon began the process at their respective blood centers.

Over the course of project implementation, AIHA played critical role in development of Ukraine’s national strategy for reforming the country’s blood services, according to Dr. Anatoly Chuhriiev, head physician of Zhytomyr Oblast Blood Center and president of the All-Ukrainian Association of Blood Services.

“The activities of this project have helped ensure that all demonstration sites are now implementing real quality management systems, as well as developing a strong culture of quality overall,” Dr. Chuhriiev explains, noting that this has resulted in blood center staff becoming much more confident in their knowledge, skills, and the excellence of their products and services.

The comprehensive quality management system adopted by the project sites encompasses the organizational structure, policies, processes, procedures, and resources required to achieve and ensure the quality of products and services provided by a blood establishment, Dr. Chuhriiev continues. “As a result,” he says, “these centers are actively ensuring the availability of safe blood for all patients who may need a transfusion.”

During the conference, Dr. Oksana Syvak, Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine, stressed that the Ukrainian blood system is undergoing radical reform and development in accordance with an agreement between the country and the European Union (EU) ratified in September 2014.

“The Ministry of Health highly appreciates the role AIHA’s blood safety project has played in assisting the country to start the process of developing an efficient blood service, not to mention the harmonizing of local legislation with EU  Directives,” Dr. Syvak told participants. She went on to day that the recommendations provided by AIHA for an initial assessment report were fully accepted by EU counterparts, who conducted a separate blood service assessment in 2015.

Dr. Syvak expressed her gratitude for how AIHA and CDC conducted all project activities in full coordination with the Ministry of Health. “This was — and continues to be — crucial as ongoing health sector reforms are being implemented in a time of many challenges and frequently changing priorities,” she noted.

Over the coming months, AIHA will continue to collaborate closely with the Ministry of Health and CDC to help address identified gaps through targeted, practical technical assistance designed to yield sustainable improvements in the way blood centers operate throughout Ukraine. Future activities include the development of national teams of experts in the clinical use of blood, screening of blood donors for transfusion transmissible infections, and appropriate storage and distribution of blood components for transfusion.

The activities described in this article are supported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under Cooperative Agreement Number 1U2GGH000861. The contents of this document are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC, the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or the US Government.

US Delegation Visits AIHA Biomed Project in Uganda

AIHA’s PEPFAR-supported partnership is building Uganda’s capacity to train and support biomedical engineers and technicians as a way to improve health services

In the global fight against HIV/AIDS, physicians, nurses, and community health workers are on the front lines of the response. No less important, however, are the many health workers who toil behind the scenes every day to help ensure the quality of clinical care provided to people living with HIV.

Biomedical engineers and technicians (biomeds) are one of those oft forgotten cadres. They play a crucial role in the day-to-day operations of hospitals and other clinical sites by ensuring that laboratory equipment and medical devices are in optimal working order. Their efforts underpin accurate and efficient diagnosis, treatment, and management of HIV, as well as other acute and chronic conditions.

A high-level delegation from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) got a first-hand look at the contributions biomeds make to the care and treatment of people living with HIV during a visit to health facilities in the Eastern Uganda town of Jinja, some 40 miles from the capital of Kampala.

On Friday, Nov. 18, a high-level delegation from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) visited sites where AIHA is implementing our innovative biomedical technology training program in Uganda. The US delegation included Holly Wong, HHS Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs; Steve Smith, South Africa Health Attache and HHS Regional Representative for Southern Africa; Jin Park, Acting HHS PEPFAR Deputy Principal; Pauline Harvey, CDC DGHT Regional Associate Director for East Africa; and Steward Coulter, CDC DGHT Uganda Country Officer, Overseas Strategy and Management Branch. The delegation is pictured above with our local partners, staff, and stakeholders.

On Friday, Nov. 18, a high-level delegation from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) visited sites where AIHA is implementing our innovative biomedical technology training program in Uganda. The US delegation included Holly Wong, HHS Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs; Steve Smith, South Africa Health Attache and HHS Regional Representative for Southern Africa; Jin Park, Acting HHS PEPFAR Deputy Principal; Pauline Harvey, CDC DGHT Regional Associate Director for East Africa; and Steward Coulter, CDC DGHT Uganda Country Officer, Overseas Strategy and Management Branch. The delegation is pictured above with our local partners, staff, and stakeholders.

There, the US officials learned about the impact that a capacity building project being implemented by AIHA through our HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Program is having on the local health system.

“The successes seen in Jinja are one example of a national-level program experiencing a similar ripple effect regionally across the country,” explains AIHA Program Manager Silas Goldfrank.

“Starting with non-automated laboratory equipment, AIHA is taking a step-wise approach to build the capacity of biomeds to become specialized in conducting preventive maintenance, repair, and calibration of laboratory equipment critical to the HIV clinical cascade,” Goldfrank says, noting that the end goal is training them to maintain the highly automated equipment required for viral load testing in support of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets.

As the US President’s Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and national ministries of health shift focus to receiving SLMTA and/or ISO accreditation for their labs, having in-house biomeds with the skills necessary to work alongside laboratory technicians and conduct routine preventive maintenance and repair is essential to that process.

Through our Twinning Center Program, which is supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), AIHA has adpoted a multi-pillar approach to ensure the work being has lasting, sustainable impact in Uganda.

Though our direct partners are the Ugandan Ministry of Health’s Infrastructure Division (HID) and Central Public Health Laboratories (CPHL), AIHA is also collaborating with educational institutions and regulatory bodies to ensure what is being implemented builds on existing programs and will eventually become the national standard for laboratory equipment management and maintenance.

Touring the hospital campus in Jinja, Uganda.

Touring the hospital campus in Jinja, Uganda.

Some highlights of the site visit included the hospital blood bank, automated laboratory, new biomed workshop, mortuary, and operating theater, where the equipment is similar to what is required for large-scale freezers used in laboratory cold chain systems and labs when they shift to high tech VL machines, for example.

AIHA has similar in-service biomed programs in Kenya and Zambia, as well as a combined pre-service and in-service biomed program in Ethiopia, where we are seeing similar impact on the ground. In the coming year, we will be launching a new biomed project in Tanzania and hope our work in this technical area will be able expand in future funding cycles.

From AIHA’s perspective, it’s great to see PEPFAR supporting the need to continue building the capacity of this cadre and expanding from one project that launched in 2012 in Ethiopia to now to a total of five countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

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