Rukia Hassan, age 50, from Kihamba Village in the Mtwara region of Tanzania, suffered from bilateral trichiasis trachomatous—a condition associated with severe or repeated trachoma infection—with intense eye pain and some loss of sight. Following surgery at Kitaya Dispensary, managed by IMA World Health, she no longer has pain. (Photo by Emily Esworthy/IMA World Health)

Looking Ahead

IMA World Health is powered by an ambitious vision for the future: health, healing and well-being for all. To achieve this goal, we are constantly looking for ways to ensure the sustainability and long-term impact of our programs—even those that serve the most urgent immediate needs of populations in crisis.

The work we do today lays the foundation for the progress we can make tomorrow. A huge part of our work takes place behind the scenes: training local people and strengthening local organizations to build resilience ahead of challenges like disease outbreaks or political instability. For example, as we test and treat patients for HIV in Kenya today through the USAID Afya Project, we also work with vulnerable populations like adolescent girls and young women to reduce their risk of becoming infected in the future.

IMA has saved and improved lives all over the world for 58 years, thanks to close collaboration with our partners, the generous support of our donors and an unfailing vision for the future.

As we look toward a new year, we are also excited about how IMA is applying our past experience to reach more people in new and bigger ways. For example, lessons learned from the National Nutrition Communications Campaign in Indonesia are informing successful strategies for reducing stunting among the next generation of Tanzania. And, after 17 years of focusing on one specific diagnosis, our childhood cancer work is shifting into a new partnership to reach even more children in need.

IMA has saved and improved lives all over the world for 58 years, thanks to close collaboration with our partners, the generous support of our donors and an unfailing vision for the future. As we continue on this journey, these are the things that will keep us going until that vision becomes reality.

2018 Snapshots

Healthier Futures for Children in Tanzania

Mothers come together to discuss basic feeding and care techniques under the ASTUTE program. The monthly gatherings promote food safety and nutritional meals for young mothers and their children. (Photo by Matt Hackworth/IMA World Health)

This year, at the end of its first year of implementation, the Addressing Stunting in Tanzania Early or ASTUTE program received an A+ rating from its funding agency, the U.K.’s Department for International Development.  

As many as one in three children in Tanzania are stunted, a result of inadequate feeding during a child’s first 1,000 days; poor water, sanitation and hygiene practices; and inadequate access to health care. Stunting has very serious long-term consequences. Children who are stunted may endure reduced cognitive performance, educational attainment and adult productivity, as well as run a higher risk of staying in poverty for generations.

After its first year of implementation, the ASTUTE program received an A+ rating from its funding agency.

Targeting a population of 10 million, the ASTUTE program works in five regions with high rates of child malnutrition. ASTUTE has reached millions with its innovative nutrition communications campaign to improve child feeding practices. IMA also trains nutritionists, community workers, health facility workers, mothers and other caregivers to identify and treat root causes of malnutrition. Our goal: to ensure the next generation has a chance to grow up healthy and strong to reach their highest potential.  

Planning for ACHAP 2019

As a long-time supporter of faith-based organizations in advancing public health, IMA continues to work to strengthen the capacity of the Africa Christian Health Associations Platform and the CHA network through various project initiatives. In the wake of a successful biennial conference in February 2017, IMA is supporting ACHAP to plan for the 2019 Biennial Conference and General Assembly to be held February 25 to March 1 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. IMA’s support includes outreach and strategic communication efforts to more effectively connect ACHAP members across the continent of Africa as they work toward strengthening their partnerships to achieve universal health care. A critical element in ACHAP’s communication efforts was the development of a new website that more effectively acts as a platform for the ACHAP Secretariat to share member activities and facilitate networking among CHAs and other Church Health Networks in Africa.

Expanding Pediatric Cancer Support

Since 2001, IMA World Health has worked to advance treatment guidelines, train health workers on diagnosis and case management and provide treatment for over 4,500 children suffering from the aggressive childhood cancer Burkitt’s Lymphoma in Tanzania. Thanks to increased awareness and availability of proper treatment over the years, survival rates for BL patients have increased.

This year, IMA entered a partnership with Their Lives Matter/Tumaini la Maisha, a nonprofit organization that works within and alongside Muhimbili National Hospital’s pediatric oncology ward to fill gaps in services for patients and their families. Through this partnership, IMA’s support will expand our reach to help children who suffer from other types of cancer. With TLM, we will also support the training of regional health workers to build their capacity for timely cancer diagnosis and to strengthen the referral network across Tanzania so that more children will have the best chance for survival and good health.

Photo courtesy of Tumaini la Maisha

Leveraging Trachoma Work to Treat Other Eye Conditions

During a screening in the Kihamba village in Mtwara, Tanzania, IMA Program Manager Alex Msumanje examines 17-year-old Fadhili Ally Likunte’s eyes, looking for symptoms of TT and other eye conditions. Fadhili received medicated eye drops for severe allergic conjunctivitis. (Photo by Jennifer Bentzel/IMA World Health)

Since 2015, IMA has overseen screening and surgery for blinding trachoma in parts of Tanzania through the SAFE Program, funded by the U.K.’s Department for International Development. While the program has stellar success rates among those who qualify for surgery, IMA staff and partners have diagnosed more than 8,000 people with other eye conditions outside the SAFE Program’s scope of treatment, such as glaucoma, corneal ulcer, cataracts and other chronic problems. While IMA gave these patients referral notes to seek medical attention elsewhere, the majority could not access treatment due to the costs of medicines or bus fare to the health facility.

This year, thanks to a new grant from Week of Compassion, IMA has begun carrying essential medicines and eye drops with them during screenings so they can work with the local health workers to provide treatment and instructions on the spot, saving patients time, money and a trip to the pharmacy.

“This grant fills a large gap in service for those suffering from many conditions, of which some might be risking their eyesight,” says IMA Program Manager Alex Msumanje. “Now several thousand people will no longer have to go home disappointed and without hope after our eye screenings.”

Getting Ahead of Malaria in South Sudan

At the end of 2017, a World Health Organization report said malaria is the number one killer in South Sudan, with an estimated 220 people dying each week from the life-threatening but curable disease. In fact, nearly 3 out of every 4 people who died in the country in 2017 perished from complications from malaria.

This year, with funding from the Global Fund through Population Services International or PSI, IMA completed a two-year effort that distributed more than 1 million insecticide treated nets in the Greater Upper Nile and Greater Jonglei regions, which are widely recognized as the most difficult to reach due to insecurity and accessibility issues. With funding from the World Bank, IMA also used a network of charter trucks, boats and aircraft to move large shipments of medicines and supplies from a central warehouse near the capital city of Juba to more than 250 facilities that serve about a quarter of the country’s population.

Our goal: beat the rains, which make roads impassable and create ideal conditions for mosquitos from late April until September each year. “When the rainy season comes we’ll have 200 people here [per day] on average seeking treatment,” said clinic manager Simon Ateu Chol, who examines patients under a tree in Bor, South Sudan.

This Antonov An-26 is one of the six cargo planes IMA charters to move supplies to medical facilities in South Sudan. (Photo by Matt Hackworth/IMA World Health)

At our partner Sudan Medical Care’s clinic in Bor, manager John Ajith Anyieth agreed. “Malaria will be responsible for about 90 percent of the deaths we see,” he says. “We need the drugs, especially injectable ones.”

These free clinics supported by RRHP are the only option for health services for those who flee conflict and end up in one of hundreds of makeshift communities for the displaced in South Sudan.

Progressing toward the 95-95-95 targets in Nairobi, Kenya

Photo by Craig Thompson

For the past two decades, IMA has used evidence-based approaches to implement more than 20 HIV and integrated service delivery projects. Today, one of our largest efforts works toward a future of achieving the UNAIDS “95-95-95” targets—and the end of the AIDS epidemic—in Kenya’s Nairobi City County. Through the USAID/Kenya and East Africa Afya Jijini Program, our strategies support the achievement of the following goals by 2030:

95 percent of people living with HIV will know their HIV status: Through Afya Jijini, IMA provides technical assistance to 78 HIV Testing Services sites in Nairobi City County, testing an estimated 50,000 clients each quarter. To reach more people, IMA uses a mix of the most high-yield and cost-effective approaches at each site, including strengthening testing through antenatal care visits, tuberculosis clinics, inpatient and outpatient appointments and others. This year, Afya Jijini ensured that 99.7 percent of clients knew their HIV status during their first antenatal care visit and enrolled 97.6 percent of the newly-diagnosed clients into antiretroviral therapy.

95 percent of people who know their status will be enrolled in treatment: With IMA support, Afya Jijini’s 29 highest volume facilities increased from 53 percent enrollment of newly diagnosed clients in 2015 to 77 percent this year, with more than 2,600 people enrolling on ART each quarter. This required rapid rollout of intensive interventions, including developing new registers and systems, defaulter tracing, quality improvement and mobilizing peer educators and facility counselors to escort all newly-diagnosed patients for enrollment and to encourage their adherence.

95 percent of people on treatment will have suppressed viral loads: Improving the quality of HIV care is critical to achieving the “last 95,” viral suppression. Through Afya Jijini, IMA supported the establishment of 103 quality improvement teams in the 29 high volume comprehensive care clinics as a central strategy for improving quality of care. As a result, this year the project achieved an 83.6 percent suppression rate for adults—and climbing.