Areas of Focus

The Developing Health Globally program targets high-priority health needs including maternal and infant care, emergency care, surgical care, biomedical practice, safe water and education.

Targeting High-Priority Health Needs

The Developing Health Globally program strives to improve access to quality healthcare in communities throughout the developing world. Building on the infrastructure upgrades provided to district level hospitals and clinics, DHG centers on capacity-building, skills development and process improvement in six key areas to improve access to healthcare delivery and drive better outcomes for community members.

Maternal and Infant Care

The Need: Approximately 800 women – most in poor rural communities – die each day from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

The Response: DHG is actively working with hospitals and health centers to improve maternal and infant survival rates by:

  • Providing necessary equipment for antenatal, birthing and postpartum care by introducing state-of-the-art technology to Maternity, Labor and Delivery, and Nursery wards of district (WHO level IV) hospitals.
  • Providing clinics and birthing centers with emergency obstetric care (EmOC) equipment and tools to serve community members.
  • Training and mentoring practitioners and clinicians to improve their skills, while equipping them with the ability to use new technologies.

Biomedical Practice

The Need: In sub-Saharan Africa, WHO estimates that as much as 70 percent of laboratory and medical equipment is partially or completely out of service.

The Response: DHG is tackling this problem in resource-poor settings by:

  • Developing local biomedical technology training programs that focus on repairing – versus replacing – equipment using available resources, and educating the first generation of biomedical technicians to support ministry of health facilities and assets.
  • Partnering with ministries of health to identify trainers and local infrastructure to create in-country training aligned with national vocational and technical education organizations.
  • Providing ongoing coaching and mentoring resources to cultivate a professional community of biomedical technicians who are able to support the technical needs of public district hospitals and health centers, and advocate appropriately for the resources required to accomplish their work.

Emergency Care

The Need: Timely access to emergency care can reduce seven of the 15 leading causes of death in middle- and low-income countries.

The Response: DHG is helping ministries of health build Emergency Medicine capacity to treat acutely ill patients in district hospitals by:

  • Upgrading equipment to provide patient monitoring, ventilation, X-ray, ultrasound, laboratory analysis and consistent access to water, oxygen and power.
  • Improving Emergency Department protocols and processes for triage, treatment and/or referral of presenting patients.
  • Developing and delivering Emergency Medicine training curricula for doctors and district staff.

Surgical Care

The Need: According to WHO, simple surgery can prevent death and permanent disabilities resulting from road traffic injuries, abdominal emergencies, pregnancy complications, congenital abnormalities, acute infections, fractures, burns, interpersonal violence and war. WHO attributes these conditions to approximately 11 percent of total healthy years lost.

The Response: DHG is driving improvements in district hospital surgical capacity by:

  • Upgrading operating theaters and procedure rooms with equipment and supplies including anesthesia machines, patient monitors, infusion and suction pumps, sterilization equipment, lighting and operating tables.
  • Providing hospitals with equipment to produce oxygen, and providing surrounding health centers with reliable, low-cost oxygen supplies.
  • Introducing modern practices related to anesthesia delivery and monitoring, and oxygen therapy and ventilation – thereby improving outcomes for patients requiring surgery.

Education

The Need: A 2007 UNICEF study states that educated women are less likely to die in childbirth and are more likely to send their children to school. In addition, the under-five mortality rate falls by about half for mothers with primary school education.

The Response: In targeted communities surrounding partnering district hospitals, DHG has sponsored education programs to ensure girls and other vulnerable children have access to education by:

  • Focusing on scholarships, teacher training, mentoring activities, and community mobilization.
  • Identifying labor market needs and steering secondary school students toward appropriate corresponding vocational training and higher education paths to ensure employment.

Safe Water

The Need: WHO and UNICEF estimate that more than 780 million people use unsafe drinking water sources.

The Response: DHG is improving access to safe drinking water for hospitals and clinics across the developing world by:

  • Introducing water purification units to district hospitals to serve patient and hospital needs.
  • Designing and installing small-scale water purification units for community clinics and birthing centers to provide safe water access for local communities.
  • Developing and deploying simple water quality analysis protocols and visual tools to help demystify water quality testing in rural facilities, and encourage local facility leaders to actively manage equipment and adopt chlorination practices.