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Bill and Melinda Gates Award MSH $2.74 Million to Strengthen Health Services

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Karen Coker
Phone: 617.524.7799

BOSTON -- Boston-based Management Sciences for Health (MSH) will be able to make an important contribution toward the solution of India's health problems through the award of a $2.74 million grant from Bill and Melinda Gates through the William H. Gates Foundation. MSH is a nonprofit organization that, since 1971, has worked in more than 100 countries to improve the quality, availability, and affordability of health services. The grant will fund the development of three reproductive and child health pilot programs that can eventually be replicated on a broad scale, enabling India to significantly expand the delivery of reproductive/child health services to its poorest citizens. The pilots will be modeled on a highly successful program in Bangladesh.

Catherine Crone Coburn, President of MSH, says, "We are very excited to have an opportunity to take what we've learned in Bangladesh to India, and we hope that the programs we develop will give women and families in India the same opportunity to improve their health and their lives as they have given women and families in Bangladesh."

India has the highest population growth of any country in the world, with 18 million people added each year. The country suffers immensely from the pressures imposed by this growth. 43 percent of its people—350 million—are impoverished. India's efforts to provide reproductive health services to this population have historically been impeded by a lack of resources, inadequate training, and limited access to modern management practices.

To help India meet its urgent need to deliver services to these citizens, MSH and its Bangladeshi partner, Technical Assistance, Inc (TAI). will adapt the Local Initiatives Program (LIP) to the Indian environment. Over the last 14 years, the LIP has trained 38,000 rural women in Bangladesh to serve as community volunteers to deliver preventive health and family planning services at the community level. The Program has helped increase the rate of contraceptive use from 34 percent to nearly 65 percent in the areas it serves - more than a quarter of the country. The program was developed with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Now, utilizing funding from the Gates Foundation, MSH and TAI will work together to tailor the LIP to three different pilot program sites in India: an urban slum in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), a rural area in northwest India, and a remote mountainous area at the base of the Himalayas. The varied sites were chosen to encourage the development of models that will work in a variety of cultural/geographic settings.

MSH and TAI will collaborate closely with three Indian non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to design and implement the model projects. By the end of the three-year grant, a strategy will be developed with the Indian government and other NGOs to begin introducing the models to other areas of India. MSH will oversee management of the grant.

MSH maintains a staff of more than 300 people of 40 nationalities in its Boston, Massachusetts, headquarters, offices in Washington, DC, and field offices around the globe.

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