Vysnova Supports Enhancing Civilian-Military Cooperation to Accelerate Malaria Elimination in Southeast Asia

The Heads of State from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member nations stated their commitment to an “Asia Pacific free of Malaria by 2030” at the 9th East Asia Summit – which was sponsored by Vysnova Partners. This mandate for a malaria-free Asia Pacific creates an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen ties between civilian and military health systems and regional militaries.

On June 26-28, 2017, the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Science (AFRIMS) organized a meeting titled: “Enhancing Civilian-Military Cooperation to Accelerate Malaria Elimination in Southeast Asia” in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting brought together the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Health (MoH) malaria officials from Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia and the United States.

Vysnova’s Dr. Sara Canavati was actively involved in the MoH and MoD delegations from Vietnam. During the event, Dr. Canavati facilitated group discussions and found items in which the MoH and MoD could work together on malaria elimination activities, including surveillance, case management and advocacy.

Since malaria is a common problem in the military, and since malaria does not know borders, regional collaborations involving all affected populations are important to achieve malaria elimination. The meeting was instrumental for reviewing existing military and civilian national malaria collaborations, identifying and prioritizing key areas of mutual military-civilian interest and discussing ways in which regional militaries can assist national malaria elimination goals.

Three action points on how the civilian and military sectors can more effectively collaborate to achieve elimination in four areas of mutual interest (Case Detection and Management and Disease Prevention; Surveillance, Monitoring and Evaluation; Operational Research/Training and Advocacy) were identified and documented by meeting attendees through a breakout team format.

Advocacy for malaria elimination was the theme that military attendees found most challenging due to the hierarchical structure of the military. Among several presentations, East Africa Malaria Task Force and Experiences from African Military Medical Departments were shared to serve as an example of military-advocacy.

Financing was another key barrier identified. The chair of the regional steering committee (RSC) for the Global Fund, Prof Arjen Dondorp and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFTAM) Geneva assured their support and commitment to finance military operations for malaria elimination in South East Asia. This was a historical achievement as this will be the first time ever the GFTAM finances the military for malaria elimination.

One significant outcome of the meeting is that the military will now be represented in the RSC for the Global Fund “Regional Artemisinin-resistance Initiative 2 Elimination (RAI2E)” malaria grant.

Vysnova’s Dr. Sara Canavati with officials from MoD and MoH from Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam at a visit of the Phayathai Palace in Bangkok after an intensive meeting at AFRIMS.

Vysnova’s Dr. Sara Canavati with officials from MoD and MoH from Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam at a visit of the Phayathai Palace in Bangkok after an intensive meeting at AFRIMS.

Vysnova CEO and SBAIC Chairman Carlos Rivera Participates in USAID Small Business Conference

Vysnova CEO Carlos Rivera recently participated in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) 10th Annual Small Business Conference in Washington, D.C. Rivera is also chairman of the Small Business Association for International Companies (SBAIC), which is a key business partner of USAID and held a post event meeting for business leaders. The event focused on small business growth and the impact small businesses have on the economy.

SBAIC chairman Rivera commented on the event:

“SBAIC has been a key USAID partner in this endeavor,” said Carlos Rivera, SBAIC chairman and president of Vysnova Partners. “Our small businesses working in international development and on other global projects do exceptional work. We look forward to a continued alliance with USAID, and to increasing our work overseas.”

 

Read more about the event in the SBAIC press release here.

 

Carlos Rivera (Vysnova CEO) and Mauricio Vera (USAID Director for the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) ) along with Ms. Janel Hoppes-Poche from Juarez & Associates, Inc. and Ms. Carla Briceno from Bixal, Inc.

Carlos Rivera (Vysnova CEO) and Mauricio Vera (USAID Director for the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)) along with Ms. Janel Hoppes-Poche from Juarez & Associates, Inc. and Ms. Carla Briceno from Bixal, Inc.

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Vysnova CEO Guest Lectures at the Foreign Service Institute

Vysnova CEO Carlos Rivera served as a guest lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute’s (FSI) Commercial Tradecraft course. Rivera has been a regular presenter on the important role of Foreign Services Officers and how they can best support U.S. Small Businesses as they pursue international work supporting federal and non-federal contracts. This facilitated session covered challenges and best practices based on Vysnova’s current work in 18 countries.

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Project Spotlight: General Services Administration Common Acquisition Platform and Category Management Support

The Problem:

The General Services Administration (GSA) is currently engaged in several initiatives to transform the Government’s acquisition processes, systems, and strategies. The primary objective of the Common Acquisition Platform (CAP). program is to develop and deploy acquisition tools and systems to advance strategic acquisition initiatives, most notably the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) sponsored government-wide Category Management initiative. GSA requires subject matter experts (SMEs) and analysts in many areas to support this effort.

The Work:

As a member of a multi-contractor team, Vysnova is currently supporting the Government in developing a strategic path forward for CAP founded upon organizational change management, customer and stakeholder engagement and adoption, and the cultural transition into agile thinking and development. Vysnova has assisted in establishing a foundational strategy and framework upon which a sustainable, agile and scalable platform is being constructed.

Vysnova staff is also supporting the GSA provided Project Management Office (PMO) for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sponsored Government-wide Category Management initiative.  Some of the high-level activities under Vysnova’s management include cost analysis of category commodities, acquisition planning assistance for multiple categories, strategic sourcing support, supporting supplier relationship management initiatives, crafting acquisition policy initiatives to further support category management, and developing communication plans to disseminate information on category management initiatives.

The Vysnova Impact:

Vysnova personnel are viewed as trusted advisors in the management and operations of the Category Management PMO and by the Category Managers whom they directly support.

 

The Proof:

With support of the contractor team, the GSA Director of Category Management Strategic Execution received a 2017 Federal 100 award. The Government-wide Category Management PMO was also named a Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Commissioner Spotlight Award winner for 2016.

Project Spotlight: Defense Acquisition University Distance Learning Course Development

The Problem:

Defense Acquisition University (DAU) had an existing distance learning course on business decisions for contracting. The course was dated, contained disparate content, and did not engage the learner. DAU needed subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop a new course that was up-to-date and engaging for students.

 

The Work:

The Vysnova SMEs have extensive background in developing and deploying training materials across defense and civilian agencies. The Vysnova team worked together to develop an updated course that met the needs of DAU. The team developed an integrated, scenario-based course that links the course topics and engages learners, as well as making the topics more robust.

The Vysnova SMEs used an enhanced, research-based ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation) method to develop the course. This curriculum development effort included an up front, in-depth research effort—in development of the Content Analysis Report (CAR)— that informed the Course Design Document (CDD), which served as the blueprint for the follow-on development effort.

 

The Vysnova Impact:

With this comprehensive approach that took on the existing course’s challenges first hand, the Vysnova team was able to develop a comprehensive course that builds on Contracting Level I curriculum and offers the contracting knowledge necessary to process complex procurements.

 

The Proof:

“Dr. Fallon’s team was able to effectively integrate a once disparate course of standalone modules in a manner that is already proving to engage the DAU students. Additionally, DAU now has a DAWIA [Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act] Level II course that weaves in the critical concepts of communications, stakeholder engagement and other key, soft skills that are paramount in executing strategic procurement.” –  DAU CON Level II Performance Learning Director.

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Project Spotlight: Zika Ecological Research (Animal Reservoirs) in Peru, Colombia and Brazil

The Problem:

Zika. And it’s a big one. The Zika virus (which is passed to humans by mosquitoes) is severely impacting dozens of developing countries in Central and South America. Zika has only recently begun to spread in the Western Hemisphere, and there isn’t a lot of research or information on the specifics of the virus (how it spreads, carriers, etc.). Currently, there is no effective treatment for the Zika virus.

Learn more about Zika from the CDC.

The Work:

Vysnova Partners is supporting the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in its effort to conduct a Zika surveillance study which includes animals (mammals and birds) that may act as reservoirs and vectors (mosquitoes) in Latin America. Vysnova was awarded a two-year contract to coordinate the efforts in four research sites (two in Colombia, one in Peru and one in Brazil). The research teams are collecting different kinds of samples (blood and tissues) from animals who live in and near the active area of the disease (reported human cases). Their research will attempt to determine which species are more likely to be carriers of the virus, with the eventual goal of developing effective strategies to control the animal carriers and combat the virus’ spread.

This effort is supported by key local partners such as the Universidad de Cordoba and Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, Universidae Catolica Dom Bosco and Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso in Brazil and U.S. NAMRU-6 in Peru.

The Vysnova Impact:

The challenge faced in conducting this Zika research lies within the diversity of the research sites. Each location and test subject is unique and this project faces an additional challenge in considering the variety of the animal species being tested.

Each research site is unique, but it is the Vysnova team’s job to ensure each site maintains high levels of consistency to ensure that the findings will be comparable across sites and that the research will be beneficial in providing recommendations with the goal of understanding the disease and the role of different species as reservoirs for the virus—and ultimately, ending the spread of the virus.

The Vysnova team is composed of experienced project management and technical staff with vast knowledge in their respective fields. Most of the work is managed out of Vysnova’s Latin America regional office based in Lima, Peru by local staff, which allows for a more comprehensive approach and solutions tailored to the specific needs of the countries understanding their particular reality.