• Listening Better Can Save Lives

    Sonali Vaid

    Quality Improvement Consultant, WHO Collaborating Centre for Newborn Care at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

    It was 2008. I was working as an intern at a hospital in New Delhi, India. A young boy, perhaps 13 years old, came in for a blood transfusion. He had thalassemia so was no stranger to the hospital. I was preparing to start the IV line on the back of his left hand; I found a good vein and was about to put the needle in when he interrupted me. He stuck out his right middle finger and told me demurely to put it in the side of the finger. I gently told him – “No, that is not a good place, it is going to hurt there.” He was quiet and let me proceed.

  • The Potential of m/eHealth to Improve Systems, Care, and Gender Relations

    Elizabeth Romanoff Silva


    “Every system is perfectly designed to achieve exactly the results it achieves.” USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Deputy Director Kathleen Hill shared this quote from Deming with an audience of more than 40 leading experts in technology, health care, and international development that gathered on January 31st in Washington, D.C. for an m/eHealth Health System Strengthening technical working group meeting.

  • International Women’s Day: What I Celebrate

    Taroub Faramand

    Founder and President, WI-HER, LLC

    March 8th marks International Women’s Day, and it offers an excellent opportunity to reflect on contributions and progress made to improve the lives of women and girls in the past year, identify where inequalities still prevent women and girls from realizing their full potential, and advocate for further changes to increase equal opportunities for women and girls.

  • "I told him to wear gloves, but he did not listen" - The limits of patient awareness in ensuring quality and safety of care

    Sonali Vaid

    Quality Improvement Consultant, WHO Collaborating Centre for Newborn Care at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

    For the last two years, together with my colleagues, I have been supporting activities in Africa and in Asia focused on improving safe injection practices and ensuring that every injection is given with a new unused syringe and needle in a sterile manner and that patients don’t receive injections unnecessarily where other simpler, safer options are feasible.

    Two incidents within my own family brought these problems too close to home.

    Last year, while I was based at the project headquarters in Bethesda and my parents were in New Delhi, India, I received a call from my mother informing me that my father had been feeling weak and they had gone to the local clinic where they had given him a ‘glucose drip’ for energy. Duh! Here I am preaching to the world not to use ‘glucose drip’ for ‘energy’ and here is my father receiving an unnecessary IV infusion! Adding insult to injury, my mother tells me that the doctor has left the IV cannula in place overnight so that my father could return to receive another ‘glucose drip’ the next day!

  • What have we learnt so far: The in-service training session in a nutshell

    Tana Wuliji

    Senior Improvement Advisor, USAID ASSIST Project/URC

    There are more in-service training programs than ever before with training often representing the lion’s share of investments for strengthening human resources for health (HRH). An increasing number of reports indicate that  training is rarely evaluated, frequently duplicative and may not be designed to meet needs. A growing multiplicity of poorly coordinated training providers may overwhelm and weaken training systems rather than strengthen them. Ensuring that quality of the services delivered by health workers is upheld and continually strengthened is of utmost importance to the Universal Health Coverage agenda. Training is clearly an important contribution towards the development and maintenance of health worker competencies for delivering quality services – but how can we make training more effective, efficient and sustainable?