The physicians and researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have learned they are part of a community that reaches across the country and around the world. Discoveries made here have been adopted worldwide, from vaccines preventing diseases like rubella or rotavirus to surgical techniques that have become standard practice. And children from all over the world travel to Philadelphia for treatment too, if they are able.
But many children are not able to make that trip, and while sharing the knowledge gained here is one thing, many at Children's Hospital wanted to do more.
In 2004, a number of Children's Hospital departments joined together to create the Global Health, a program meant to directly improve the health of children in developing countries while providing educational and research opportunities for Children's Hospital residents, fellows, and other staff. The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the Villanova Nursing School and the non-profit group Medicines for Humanity also participate in Global Health.
Small Villages in The Dominican Republic
Since its start in 2004, Global Health has coordinated the travel of groups of Children's Hospital physicians, nurses, and others to the Dominican Republic town of Consuelo to work with Haitian immigrant children whose parents work on sugar cane plantations. They have partnered with the Centro de Salud Divina Providencia to provide primary care to the children and education to community health providers to create sustainable improvements in children's health. Global Health participants have worked with the Centro's mobile outreach unit to go into the bateyes, the immigrants' villages, and they have provided leadership and expertise for a nutrition program they hope will eliminate childhood malnutrition in the community.
Hospital Care in Botswana
In 2008, Global Health will be taking groups to Botswana as well, working at the Princess Marina Hospital in the capital, Gaborone. Princess Marina Hospital is the largest referral hospital in Botswana, and Children's Hospital staff will work closely with local physicians and nurses to improve the pediatric care available there. Three trips are scheduled, with the first this January.
Funding International Care
While Global Health receives some support from Children's Hospital departments and the School of Medicine, many of the costs are covered by the traveling physicians and nurses themselves. Please join with them to keep the program strong and expand its capability to improve the health of children in developing countries.