MADAGASCAR— Through a US$5 million, three-year-long project, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aims to assist the Madagascar Ministry of Public Health to strengthen its health information system.

The project has helped the ministry collect and analyze private sector data as well as monitor and evaluate health surveillance and malaria control plans to inform national and regional health policy.

The Ministry of Public Health will strengthen its health information system in 80 basic health centers and improve care for the 7.3 million people they serve.

Since 2020, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) Measure Malaria project has trained 1,800 Ministry of Public Health service providers and data managers to collect and analyze data to guide government health policies, programs, and health service delivery.

For instance, in the Analamanga region alone, 20 private hospitals now enter data directly into an electronic health data management system.

The USAID Health, Population, and Nutrition Office Acting Director David Parks noted that despite the success of the PMI Measure Malaria project and the larger comprehensive package of PMI- funded assistance, the fight to eradicate the deadly disease is far from over in Madagascar.

Parks insists that the ability to collect and analyze health data is a smart investment that enables decision-making to improve the health and well-being of populations.

“The ability to collect and analyze health data is a smart investment that enables decision-making to improve the health and well-being of populations. PMI Measure Malaria played an important part to ensure health officials do so effectively,” Parks said. 

The project has also helped ministry staff conduct regular data reviews and provide supervision at the regional, district, and community levels to control malaria and promote maternal and child health, family planning, and immunization services.

For example, the PMI support, Madagascar has reduced the number of confirmed malaria cases from 2.3 million to 1.7 million in the last year, a reduction of more than 25 percent that has saved lives and kept the Malagasy people healthy and productive in support of the country’s development.

PMI Measure Malaria is led globally by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is implemented in Madagascar by ICF Macro Inc. and John Snow Inc.

USAID commits to continue to support the people of Madagascar to control malaria and has provided $26 million in 2022 and $383 million in support since 2008.

Laying the groundwork for building a resilient healthcare system

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the probability of dying by the age of 5, per 1,000 live births in Madagascar is 50.24, one of the highest globally.

The problem is not only a lack of access to health care but also lags in timely information, which prevents Malagasy people from taking proper precautions against infectious diseases.

Although 77% of Madagascar’s population is literate and 57% have access to mobile phones, people in rural areas are still hampered by low literacy rates and a lack of a proper telecommunication system.

The United States is helping Madagascar fill gaps in healthcare delivery through a new project that assists the Ministry of Public Health to develop realistic policies, bring services closer to the people who need them, reduce infant and maternal mortality, improve COVID-19 vaccination rates, and reduce preventable childhood deaths.

Recently, USAID unveiled the MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership (MCGL) project, an initiative that promises to boost health outcomes in 15 regions of the country.

The project will introduce innovations such as Human Centered Design, an approach to help health officials understand when and where people seek health services and how to reach more children for routine vaccinations. 

Since 2020, the rate of routine childhood vaccinations has decreased in Madagascar, due in large part to limited access to healthcare in rural areas.

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