Putting Tools in the Right Hands
PSC Workshops Transform Public Health in East Africa
In a series of workshops sponsored by the Mozambique Ministry of Health, PSC’s Public Health Applications Group and their colleagues at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health have trained ministry officials and public health stakeholders in that East African country to use two lifesaving computational tools.
Beginning last spring, the HERMES Logistics Modeling Team of PSC and Johns Hopkins collaborated with VillageReach to train stakeholders in using the HERMES supply chain simulation software, modeling vaccine delivery scenarios that participants proposed. Participants included Ministry of Health Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) managers, Provincial Directorates of Health EPI managers from three provinces, UNICEF and World Health Organization vaccine supply chain specialists, local supply chain officers and representatives from the University of Eduardo Mondlane and VillageReach. As reported in the Fall 2014 People. Science. Collaboration, a third-party analysis had concluded that the HERMES tool saved children’s lives while reducing costs in a pilot vaccine program in the Republic of Benin in West Africa, leading to national changes in that country’s vaccination policies.
“The HERMES workshop in Mozambique was a major first step in building an in-country team of modelers, as we began by introducing the group to basic modeling concepts and ended with participants building and running their own models,” says PSC’s Leila Haidari, HERMES project coordinator. “This workshop also marked the first time in-country supply chain experts in any country used the HERMES user interface.
Participants left with new skills and interest in continuing modeling efforts, while we left with valuable feedback on our software and initial modeling results.”
STOPPING THE SPREAD OF MALARIA
In another project in cooperation with the Mozambique Ministry of Health, the JANUS: Decision Support team of PSC and Johns Hopkins is assessing potential ways in which the country’s mosquito control, case management and public health communication campaigns to combat malaria may be optimized. In May and November 2014, members of the JANUS team traveled to Mozambique to conduct workshops to present their results, garner feedback, and determine the most important questions of various stakeholders to guide the modeling efforts. Workshop participants included members of the Ministry of Health, The Global Fund, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, in-country personnel who implement Mozambique’s malaria control program and others.
“Our JANUS workshops provided us with invaluable experiences and gave us a deeper and richer understanding of the needs, problems and nuances to implementing malaria control programs in Mozambique,” says Johns Hopkins’ Sarah Bartsch, project coordinator for JANUS. “Getting this feedback allows our team to better assist our in-country partners. It was great to see our work having a positive impact and knowing it is truly benefiting the Mozambican people.”
Malaria is one of the largest public health concerns in Mozambique, accounting for 40 percent of all outpatient visits, 60 percent of admissions to pediatric wards, and almost 30 percent of all hospital deaths. The JANUS team was founded by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is funded in part by The Global Fund, an organization that gives $4 billion each year to fight diseases and support public health in more than 140 countries.
Public Health/Agent-Based Modeling