Thursday, December 27, 2012

Providing Health Care in Foreign Countries

OSU expands foreign medical work

By  Ben Sutherly
The Columbus Dispatch Friday November 30, 2012 6:38 AM
A local $5 million grant seeks to raise Ohio State University’s standing in global medicine and advance its humanitarian work overseas by cementing OSU Wexner Medical Center’s ties to the Global Health Delivery Partnership in Boston.
The corporate gift from the Greif Packaging Charitable Trust was announced yesterday at the McCoy Community Center for the Arts in New Albany.
OSU President E. Gordon Gee declared the partnership part of “the land-grant mission of the 21st century,” one that will bring opportunity to Third World residents through improved quality of life.
Dr. Steven Gabbe, CEO of Wexner Medical Center, said he thinks the alliance opens new doors for students and clinical faculty members and will spur “exponential” growth of the medical center’s global-health program.
“I think we are now partnering with the leading program in global health,” Gabbe said.
Half of the $5 million gift will go to Ohio State. The rest will go to the Global Health Delivery Partnership, which includes Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Harvard Medical School and Partners in Health, a Boston-based nonprofit that employs a variety of tactics to improve the health of the poor in the developing world.
Although Ohio State will use some of its share of the funding for part-time faculty hires, it plans to spend the bulk of it overseas, said Dr. Daniel Sedmak, director of Wexner Medical Center’s Office of Global Health.
Here’s how the initiative will work: Ohio State experts in maternal and neonatal care, and those adept at dealing with high-risk pregnancies, will travel to Haiti to learn low-cost, effective techniques of delivering health care from Partners in Health. They’ll then be deployed to Haiti and other parts of the world such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda to set up prenatal clinics and other limited-resource health centers, then train professionals to take over that work.

My opinion:
I certainly like this idea, although I can imagine that many others will not.  Whenever I read comments to articles describing our involvement with wars overseas, many people seem upset that we are not spending the money here in America.  Considering that we are emerging from a recession, and that spending cuts may be ahead, are our efforts in foreign countries still worthwhile?  Personally, I would rather spend the money on this than on the war in Iraq, but will we be able to afford either of these in the near future?  What if the grant money disappears after this one?  Can the program survive if it is put on hold?  Feel free to comment.

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