Diseases such as malaria and AIDS directly contribute to poverty in Africa by decreasing a person’s wellbeing as well as their ability to work and perform. At the same time, access to healthcare facilities and skilled medical personnel is frequently very limited, in particular in the rural areas of Africa. Currently, there is a high rate of morbidity and death from otherwise easily treatable or preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea or the complications of pregnancy. In many African countries, there is not only a limited supply of doctors and nurses but their knowledge does not always meet the highest medical standards. Often, there is a lack of access to modern medical technology and medications, to medical research and a lack of suitable mentors to further educate healthcare providers on new developments (e.g. new medical therapies or surgical interventions).
Link: Child Survival
On the one hand, our educational programs focus on the further training of local medical providers, especially doctors and nurses. On the other hand, we train semi-professional “community health workers” to quickly increase the number of local medical personnel and therefore to improve the population’s access to primary healthcare. Besides communicating knowledge about the diagnosis and therapy of diseases, instruction in the areas of prevention and hygiene forms the basis of our work. Our activities mainly concentrate on rural Africa.
GlobalHealthpals advocates for improved access to primary healthcare. In this respect, we regard healthcare as a universal right. In order to strengthen healthcare resources in Africa, we cooperate with a network of local and international healthcare specialists, hospitals, universities and research institutions and we educate new medical staff.
Community Health Workers
Community health workers are medical lay persons who acquire basic knowledge about the diagnosis and treatment of several common and life-threatening diseases in their community (e.g. malaria, diarrhoea or pneumonia) during a short training period ranging from some weeks to a few months. Their skills can include initiating medical therapy with simple antibiotics, assisting with births or educating villagers about preventive healthcare and hygiene. Community health workers cannot replace the work done by doctors and nurses; however, especially in rural Africa, they can form a vital connection between patients and healthcare facilities which are frequently not easily accessible. They are the first point of contact for villagers with health-related problems and can secure the timely supply of medications or arrange referral to a hospital in order to prevent unnecessary complications and deaths. As members of their respective communities, they are aware of local traditions and circumstances and can specifically address the needs of the local population.
Education for doctors and nurses
In cooperation with international healthcare specialists (especially doctors and nurses from Germany and the US), GlobalHealthPals plans to organize practical and theoretical training programs for the further education of African doctors and nurses – on site and through e-learning. With the intention to offer medical therapies which are not yet available locally (e.g. specialized surgery), we will also send foreign medical teams on short-term missions to Africa. However, we attach great importance to the training of local doctors and nurses at the same time, which will make such missions sustainable.
Practicum program for medical students
We aim to sensitize local and international medical students to topics in public health and social responsibility early in their careers. Practical training in local hospitals, simple educational programs for the rural population or data acquisition about the local medical situation will provide them with valuable insights and perspectives and contribute to the success of our initiatives.
Improvement of medical infrastructure
GlobalHealthPals also aims to commit itself to improving the medical infrastructure in Africa. This includes the enhancement of medical equipment at healthcare facilities as well as the introduction of simple electronic medical data management systems.
Together with our cooperation partners, we seek for private donations and in-kind support, funds and sponsorships. Volunteer doctors and nurses from industrialized countries who would like to make a difference and share their knowledge play a vital role for our projects.
Currently we are preparing an educational program for doctors and community health workers in Cameroon.
Dr Adamczyk is happy to provide more information about GlobalHealthPals. We also encourage you to send us your suggestions for cooperation in similar projects. Please contact us if you are interested in a volunteer medical mission or if you are a doctor or registered nurse and would like to share your knowledge with African colleagues.