A nurse measures the mid-upper
arm circumference of a child at
the Nyamagana District Hospital
in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Photo by Paul Jeffrey

With support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, IMA works with CASA in India to help those living with LF with hygiene education, supplies and wound care.
Photo by Sarah Craciunoiu

Growing our technical capabilities

By Mary Linehan, MPH, Senior Technical Director

In recent years, IMA has grown by participating in the global discourse on health and by learning from best practices. We incorporate lessons learned and leverage our presence in countries–and our strong partnerships–to undertake new technical areas that can improve the well-being of local populations, especially the underserved and most in need.

  • Nutrition. Last year, building on our experience in DRC and South Sudan, IMA expanded nutrition programs in Indonesia, Kenya and Tanzania. As a result, IMA is a partner in the global movement to improve child nutritional status, focusing especially on the 1,000 days from conception to the second birthday, the critical period for nutrition that determines whether children can reach their full potential for growth
    and development.
  • Behavior change communication. IMA works with the Indonesia and Tanzania governments to develop national social and behavior change communications to build knowledge and behaviors that will improve maternal nutrition, breastfeeding and other child feeding practices, food safety, sanitation and hygiene, and early childhood development—all factors that are recognized as contributing to a child’s ability to achieve optimal growth and potential. (Black et al).
  • Trachoma trichiasis surgery. IMA leveraged its expertise in neglected tropical disease control and treatment to undertake trachoma trichiasis surgeries for more than 13,000 patients through the DFID-funded SAFE Trachoma Implementation Programme in Tanzania, relieving extreme suffering of those afflicted with the leading global cause of preventable blindness.
  • Water and sanitation for health. This year IMA initiated programs for improved access to water and improved hygiene and sanitation in Haiti and Kenya. Focusing on schools in Haiti and urban populations in Nairobi, IMA is developing strategies to improve health through WASH activities—a critical underlying factor in improving community health.
  • Key Populations for HIV and AIDS. In the Afya Jijini project, IMA and its faith-based and other partners focus on providing services to key populations at risk for HIV and AIDS, including sex workers, men who have sex with men, adolescent girls and users of injectable drugs. Leveraging faith-based partners and local community organizations to reach these difficult to engage and ostracized populations, ensures they are provided appropriate information, care and treatment, and has allowed IMA to exceed program targets each quarter.

To make sure that our country programs can share program information and successful approaches and innovations to improve health, IMA invested in improved information systems and monitoring and evaluation capacity. To better track performance and measure impact in a timely way, IMA expanded the use of the cloud-based DHIS2 health information software platform for program data management and storage. The system will improve IMA’s ability to obtain data, conduct real-time data analysis, efficiently support country program quality deliverables, compare performance across countries, and monitor progress toward organizational and program milestones. It will also allow our headquarters team to aggregate results and highlight achievements for business development, advocacy and promotion. Intensive training was conducted at IMA headquarters in May, involving participation from country programs, building staff capacity to improve quality and measure the impact of field programs. The workshop focused on team building among the participants, determining data quality issues and other challenges to meeting donor and IMA needs for data, and reporting and documentation of achievement and impact.

The expansion into new technical areas has resulted in recruitment of highly skilled professionals who bring a range of technical expertise in nutrition, HIV and AIDS, behavior change communication, research and evaluation. This talented work force offers even more opportunity for IMA to support local implementers and partners, mentor and train country counterparts, validate the approaches that work and document our impact in achieving health, healing and well-being for all.