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USAID health programs improve access to maternal and child healthcare, family planning, and HIV/AIDS prevention awareness, counseling, and testing.

USAID activities have directly contributed to the improvement in health indicators, reported by the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health (MOH) including: the reduction of maternal mortality; an increase of institutional deliveries; and an increase in the number of pregnant women receiving prenatal care.

In carrying out its health programs, USAID coordinates closely with Nicaraguan community health organizations and medical schools. USAID health programs transfer methodologies, skills, and capacities to counterparts at medical and nursing schools.  USAID activities also update MCH, HIV/AIDS and family planning norms, standards and protocols in the medical and nursing curricula. Community health programs reach more than 280,000 people in the 78 poorest municipalities in the country.

HIV/AIDS Programs

USAID has continued to focus its HIV/AIDS portfolio on prevention for the most at risk populations; voluntary counseling and testing; and condom use and reduction of sexual partners through regional and bilateral programs.

USAID implements the following HIV/AIDS programs in Nicaragua:

The Health Care Improvement Project (HCI/URC) and the AIDS Prevention (PrevenSida/URC) Program targets health system strengthening with in-service and pre-service training reduces discrimination in 11 health centers in areas with the highest prevalence rates. It also promotes comprehensive high-quality services and institutional strengthening for 20 local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in HIV/AIDS that provide services to people living with AIDS and at risk populations.

These programs actively participate in the HIV/AIDS national response while working to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with the disease among health service providers. USAID technical assistance to expand and improve provision of health services includes: 1) health personnel trained in voluntary testing and counseling, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, non-discriminatory policies; and 2) new primary health units that provide voluntary counseling and testing. USAID also targets the seven health districts with the highest rates of Tuberculosis (TB) to improve TB-HIV co-infection healthcare services.

The AIDS Prevention Program is also addressing gender issues in dealing with HIV/AIDS and improves access to preventive services for sexual minorities, including the transgender population, homosexuals, bisexuals, and sex workers.

The HCI and AIDS Prevention programs and the Program for Strengthening the Central American Response to HIV (PASCA) and the Pan American Social Marketing Organization (PASMO) regional programs help update laws and national policies and plans and to generate new strategic information that measures their impact on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

PASCA is also assists the HIV/AIDS national commission in evaluating and monitoring its National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan, and brings together private and public-sector leaders around key issues. Both programs have done quantitative studies on the impact of prevention and qualitative studies on female sex workers. Other studies include the HIV/AIDS program index (API 2009), a costs analysis of the epidemic, and an evaluation of the national HIV/AIDS strategic plan for policy improvement.

Maternal and Child Health Programs

USAID’s  assistance in maternal child health  focuses on improving the quality of maternal and child health services, working across different levels of the health system. MCH activities include strengthening public health systems, increasing coverage of community health activities, and supporting the implementation of the national Family and Community Health Care Model. USAID programs help improve the implementation of treatment protocols, monitoring and evaluation of quality standards, and service provision at the institutional and community levels in nine national health districts.

These programs have also helped update the educational curriculum of medical and nursing schools to improve the delivery of care, using proven practices that reduce maternal and perinatal death.

USAID’s Famisalud Project, implemented by 10 NGOs from the NICASALUD network, provides services at the institutional and community levels in nine national health districts. Famisalud works closely with 288 health units’ staff in eight departments to implement their community strategy and the new health model. This program reaches over 800 poor communities, supporting child nutrition and family planning services in hard to reach areas and expanding the availability of clean drinking water.

Last updated: May 14, 2014

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