“Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed.”
As MCSP’s 5+ years come to a close, these famous words bring me comfort. Our work has made a difference in improving health services in communities with a population totaling over 200 million people in some of the most challenging places for health on the planet. And the stronger health systems we’re leaving behind ensure this work will continue.
The world is brighter for the most vulnerable women and children than when we began, and the global community increasingly prioritizes their needs.
But this shift toward a more equitable future for all was never guaranteed. MCSP's success required the trust and support of USAID, the host countries that worked alongside us every step of the way, and partners far and wide. I am deeply grateful for every MCSP team member whose talents and energy brought lifesaving messages and services to communities across 52 programs in 32 countries.
A team spirit was baked into our work as twelve partners set out to implement this complex and ambitious program. Together, we helped the world protect children from the leading causes of death, and “breathed life” into newborns, regardless of where they were born.
By integrating maternal, newborn and child health with family planning and nutrition, we expanded access to care in remote and urban communities alike, and took advantage of every contact a woman and child had with the health system. We broke through siloes of treating the child in the facility and in the community differently, and put the child back together again. Our adolescent-friendly portfolio ensured that the next generation has the improved reproductive health knowledge needed to thrive.
We delivered one of public health’s greatest triumphs – vaccines – across the globe, and effectively confronted both known challenges and emerging threats (like Zika, Ebola and plague) head on. We kept our malaria efforts woman- and child-centered and made certain that good WASH practices were a cornerstone of all high-quality services.
Implementation was done through a gender-sensitive lens and with the needs of individual communities folded in. And through it all, we remembered that “data is king,” using program data to drive improvements and ground global discussions in country needs.
As MCSP comes to a close, take with you my sincere thanks for the work we achieved in partnership. Our efforts helped to optimize health outcomes for even the most marginalized women and children, globally and specifically in the 32 countries where we worked. Our work generated momentum that will continue to improve lives long after MCSP ends.
Koki Agarwal, MD, MPH, DrPH