Rogers, Ally

School of Public Health

MSPH

Philippines

ReachHealth- A Teen Pregnancy and Maternal Newborn Health Program

Center for Communication Programs (CCP) is the demand generation and communication lead on a newly-awarded USAID project. The Family Planning / Maternal & Neonatal Health Innovations and Capacity Building Platform (ReachHealth) will help Philippine communities reduce unmet needs for family planning services and decrease teen pregnancy and newborn morbidity and mortality.

ReachHealth has several objectives:

1. Improve healthy behaviors among underserved adolescents, youth, women, and men;

2. Fortify the quality of patient-centered family planning and maternal and newborn health services; and

3. Strengthen the policies and systems for sustainable health service delivery.

The focus of CCP's work related to Objective 1 will be: "introduce and scale up state-of-the-art behavioral change interventions for adolescents, youth, women, and men to improve their reproductive health seeking behavior" and the two main intermediate results under that objective are:

- Individual, household and community FP/MNH knowledge and decision making improved in underserved populations; and,

- Individual, community and local civil society empowered to practice healthy actions within their ecosystem.

ReachHealth will respond to the unmet family planning needs that have led to high levels of teenage pregnancy and newborn morbidity and mortality. The program is led by RTI International. Other partners include Duke University Global Health Innovation Center and local and national counterparts in the Philippines — primarily the Department of Health, Commission on Population, NGOs, civil society organizations and the private sector.
 

PI Mentor: Lindsey Leslie

I’ve just returned from my 6-month Global Health Established Field Placement with the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs’ ReachHealth project in Manila, Philippines. ReachHealth is a five-year United States Agency for International Development (USAID) project, implemented by RTI International with support from the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) and Duke University Global Health Innovation Center, to help communities in the Philippines reduce unmet need for family planning (FP) and decrease teenage pregnancy. 

As a student through GHEFP, I served as an intern with the project’s Social and Behavior Change & Gender team. In this role, I completed a desk review of adolescent RH publications, programs, and policies in the Philippines, assisted in all stages of the project’s Human-Centered Design activity with youth, and supported the implementation of the formative research study with women and men of reproductive age. All of these contributions were laid out as expectations in the original conversations with my mentors before I left for my placement. My work experiences with GHEFP met and exceeded my expectations. Working with CCP was incredibly informative and I learned a lot about the donor-implementing partner relationship and the global health space in Southeast Asia. I felt supported and valued as an intern with the ReachHealth project.

There were several things that defied my expectations, but that I came to appreciate in my six months. Firstly, I that expected most of my work would be in the office or interacting with community members and the people facing the issues we were tackling. Although we did a lot of this work, there was also much more interaction with, and managing of our relationships with, project partners at government agencies and non-governmental organizations. This definitely brought me out of my comfort zone, as I attended stakeholder meetings and workshops, but I quickly realized how important and critical this side of the work is – to gain the confidence and buy-in from partners of the project, as well as other influential stakeholders.

Beyond work, some day-to-day experiences also defied my expectations. I had expected to be in a city with public markets where I would easily be able to find fresh produce and seafood. Manila, however, was not that. It was extremely built up, with skyscrapers, fast-food chains, and many, many malls. In my small neighborhood alone, there were four malls (one named “Megamall,” for good reason). It took a 1-hour drive - 20 minutes on a rare day without traffic - to get to a public market. Although I was not as “remote” as I had expected out of a GHEFP placement, I am grateful to have been in a city that was the center for public health efforts in the country. This allowed us easy access to partners and to attend relevant events. 

Overall, my placement was a perfect mix of field and office work. I had wanted a practicum that allowed me to gain experience in project management and administration, while also giving me the opportunity to be a part of project design and implementation. This experience made me realize my desire to pursue global health opportunities in strategic planning and management. Lastly, to any student pursuing a GHEFP I have one recommendation – do not be afraid to lean on your support networks in-country and back home. They are all there to help you to succeed, but won’t know how to help unless you ask.

People

Joanne Katz, ScD MS,BSc

Associate Chair, Director of Academic Programs

Stefan Baral, MD MPH,MBA,MSc

Director, Key Populations Program

Noreen Hynes, MD MPH

Director, Geographic Medicine Center of the Division of Infectious Diseases

Robert Bollinger Jr., MD MPH

Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education (CCGHE); Associate Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Global...

Yukari C. Manabe, MD

Associate Director of Global Health Research and Innovation

Caitlin Kennedy, PhD MPH,BA

Co-Director, MPH concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health; Associate Director, Center for Qualitative...
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August 2020

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