LIBERIA, WEST AFRICA
HEARTT’s current project is Liberia . Liberia is a West African country which recently emerged from over fifteen years of civil war that claimed the lives of more than 250,000 Liberians, resulted in the displacement of a million others into refugee camps in neighboring countries, and decimated the national health system. The World Health Organization (WHO ) recently reported that Liberia has one of the world’s highest newborn mortality rate at 66 deaths per 1,000 births. Today, one in 12 women will die from pregnancy-related complications in her lifetime. In the late 1980s there were about 500 Liberian physicians for 3 million people whereas today there are only approximately 120. The country’s only medical school graduates on average 4-7 new doctors per year and there are less than 20% of the World Health Organization’s minimum recommended number of midwives and nurses.
OVERVIEW OF PROGRAMS: THE JOHN F. KENNEDY MEDICAL CENTER (JFK)
HEARTT’s programs are focused on the improvement of care at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK) and training of the next generation of local practitioners and providers as follows:
1. Human Resource Capacity Building- HEARTT has established a teaching program that trains practitioners and trainers at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) hospital in partnership with the Tubman National Institute for Medical Arts and the AM Dogliotti College of Medicine. The teaching program encompasses both didactic and clinical learning components. National staff (mid-level providers, nurses, medical students, newly graduated physicians) are paired with international experts who provide support for clinical care and bedside teaching in addition to didactic learning covering key information needed to successfully implement the Basic Package of Health Services (BPHS) as designated by Liberia ’s Ministry of Health.
2. Rebuilding Basic Health Services - The established HEARTT teaching and care efforts have focused on deploying the core programs needed to assure competency in the clinical areas we directly support: Malaria / Infectious diseases, Child Health , and Emergency Care Services. As of August 1, 2008 HEARTT has placed an additional 2-4 physicians (per specialty) on the ground for continuous year round support of its programming for a total of over 70 doctors per year providing clinical and teaching services at JFK. This represents a 50% increased to the total numbers of doctors that are available to provide much needed clinical and education services in the country. This expanded support is expected to solidify core teaching and care efforts at our central site in Monrovia and provide additional human resources needed to begin assessments and planning for sites outside Monrovia .
3. Community outreach - patient and caregivers education on disease management and prevention. Develop and distribute literature on disease management and prevention. Provision of free medication to patients. Plan and host community health fairs. Provision of health and nutritional information using the airwaves and other media.