Responding in real time to Ebola
Rapid response and building trust with communities are critical when stopping the spread of infectious disease. During the 2018 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we worked with hundreds of community leaders who mobilized their communities in prevention, surveillance and control of the disease. Local teams were trained to conduct safe and dignified burials for Ebola victims with the consent of families and communities and responded to 672 community death alerts in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. Our Ebola community engagement activities reached more than 9,000 people, including 679 community leaders in provinces most affected by the outbreak.
Building community among Native American tribes
Across the United States, less than 2 percent of the 46,000 Native American and Alaskan Native children who are enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start programs speak their tribal languages at home. Through the American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Collaboration Office, FHI 360 is assisting tribal communities to incorporate native languages and cultural traditions into the classroom across 26 states. Learning these languages serves as a protective factor for well-being for Native children and aids academic success. Reawakening this cultural heritage also helps bring healing to trauma-induced communities. FHI 360 brings together tribal members, educators and researchers to discuss educational challenges, solutions and practices tailored to participants’ contexts. In 2019, the Collaboration Office developed and co-hosted four statewide early childhood tribal language summits.
Photo Credit: FatCamera/Getty Images
Leading trailblazing research
The ECHO Study was the first large-scale, randomized, clinical trial designed to yield high-quality data on the long-standing question of whether hormonal contraception is linked to greater risk of HIV infection. The study found similar risks and benefits associated with use of two hormonal contraceptives — the injectable depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) and a levonorgestrel implant — and one nonhormonal method — the copper intrauterine device (IUD). These data led the World Health Organization to recommend that women at high risk of HIV infection can use all contraceptive methods without restrictions, allowing women to make informed choices. A consortium of global and national institutions, led by FHI 360, the University of Washington, Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, and the World Health Organization, collaborated with 12 sites in Eswatini, Kenya, South Africa and Zambia.
The results support continued access to the three contraceptives studied.
Using social media to end HIV stigma
Stigma and complacency continue to be major obstacles to addressing HIV in the United States. FHI 360 supports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) national awareness and antistigma campaign, Let’s Stop HIV Together, which features all aspects of HIV education and many different campaign strategies. FHI 360 has helped reach new audiences with essential messaging through social media: The campaign has attained an estimated total of 32.9 million post impressions and more than 13,000 Instagram followers.
Enhancing fishery outcomes
Artisanal fishers in Senegal typically lack access to timely market prices and have little information on improved processing techniques and limited access to financial services. They also endure higher health risks and poor hygiene at processing sites. FHI 360 partnered with Qualcomm Wireless Reach and the Senegalese Food Security Commission on the development of a mobile app to provide fishermen and fish processors with real-time market information, emergency and early warning weather alerts, and information on healthy processing practices. This new digital tool is now in use at four major fish landing and processing sites. Participants realized a tenfold increase in production and up to 35 percent increases in revenue. The government is planning to extend the project to other locales and industries to improve the economic outlook for thousands of Senegalese.
Photo Credit: Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™
Building literacy in Ghanaian early learners
Literacy and numeracy are the foundation of all learning, yet far too many children fail to master these critical skills. During the 2017-2019 academic years, more than 7,200 Ghanaian schools in 100 districts introduced a high-quality early grade reading program. By the end of 2019, 707,843 pupils in kindergarten and primary grades 1 and 2 had been taught using the new reading methods, and more than 51,000 teachers, head teachers and curriculum directors received instructional materials and training in advanced reading instruction methods. An independent evaluation of the early grade reading program found that students in primary grades 1 and 2 significantly increased their average scores on all reading skills tested in a Ghanaian language. In fact, the evaluation noted that, “Compared with similar programs worldwide, Learning has one of the largest program impacts measured to date.”
their local languages.
Supporting high-impact HIV interventions
Accessing safe, effective and quality HIV and AIDS services is critical to reducing the spread of HIV. Yet, far too many people who are at risk do not have access to services. Since 2014, the LINKAGES project has reached more than 2 million individuals who are at risk, tested more than 1.3 million people who are at high risk, diagnosed almost 90,000 new infections, and initiated or linked to treatment more than 60,000 people living with HIV. In addition, LINKAGES supports locally led and trusted partners, some of whom have grown into self-reliant, independent organizations sustaining the HIV response in their countries.
Photo Credit: Jessica Scranton/FHI 360
Reducing costs through private-sector partnerships
Tuberculosis (TB) is the world’s most deadly infectious disease. Expanding access to state-of-the-art case detection is critical to reducing its spread. Through USAID’s TB Innovations Health Systems Strengthening project, private hospitals and laboratories formed the Philippines Private Sector Diagnostic Consortium to mobilize and coordinate efforts to fight TB. By joining together, consortium members were able to negotiate a 70 percent price reduction for GeneXpert TB diagnostic tests, from an average cost of US$152 per test to US$42, making TB care and treatment more affordable for all.
Reducing recidivism among young Americans
Reentering the community after incarceration is difficult and too often unsuccessful. The Compass Rose Collaborative is an FHI 360 initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Reentry Program. Compass Rose helps young adults ages 18 to 24 in nine states transition from the justice system into educational programs and jobs. Of the 613 young adults being served in the collaborative’s first cohort, 75 percent have gone back to school, engaged in an apprenticeship or found a job. Less than 1 percent of the participants have been convicted of a new crime within 12 months of release from incarceration or being placed on probation.
Measuring the cost of not breastfeeding
Breastfeeding saves lives and substantially improves the health of both infants and mothers. A new research study, online tool and more than 30 accompanying advocacy briefs illustrate the dramatic costs, both in lives and to the global economy, of not breastfeeding. The interactive online tool, which has been used nearly 5,000 times, shows that almost 700,000 lives annually and 1 billion U.S. dollars a day could be saved through optimal breastfeeding. Policymakers and advocates can use these resources and open-access data to provide persuasive evidence in favor of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding best practices.
Photo Credit: Giacamo Pirozzi/FHI 360
Activating civil society
Civil society organizations play a vital role in democratic societies, enabling citizens to solve their own problems, influence policy and hold leaders accountable. Under the Strengthening Civil Society Globally (SCS Global) cooperative agreement with USAID, the project released three new tools focused on more effective youth programming and organizational self-reliance, augmenting a library of more than 50 tools that development practitioners are using to increase the capacity and technical effectiveness of civil society organizations and to enhance young people’s media literacy skills. The tools include the Youth Programming Assessment Tool and Local Philanthropy and Self-Reliance. SCS Global promotes self-reliance among more than 1,000 local civil society organizations and media partners across 82 countries.
Expanding self-care options through public and private sectors
Having a full range of modern family planning methods available in hard-to-reach areas is critical to the health and well-being of individuals and families. In Uganda, the Advancing Partners and Communities project and the Catalytic Opportunity Fund supported the Ministry of Health in the scale-up of injectable contraceptives provided through community health workers and drug shops. The scale-up included self-injection of subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC, brand name Sayana® Press). In Malawi, the DMPA-SC Introduction and Scale-up project supported the simultaneous introduction of the product and self-injection through clinics and community health workers. Findings from FHI 360 implementation science research are being used to inform each country’s plan for national scale-up.
Photo Credit: Jessica Scranton/FHI 360