Working with the Ministry of Health of each respective country, Doc to Dock will select five hospitals in each country to begin this pilot program. Each hospital will determine the medical specialty that is in the greatest demand, and will receive two matching health care providers. Doc to Dock will recruit physicians, nurses, and/or other medical professionals in the United States and Canada who are willing to spend 6 weeks in each respective country, matching the medical specialties requested. The Ministries of Health will expedite the credentialing of the health care workers. Doc to Dock will fund all expenses involved in this project; including transportation, appropriate room and board in each country, and medical supplies to accompany the health care volunteers.
This pilot will serve as a model for an expanded program in the future with the goal of creating a permanent position at each hospital that will be filled by an ongoing rotation of voluntary health care workers. Eventually the goal is to expand this program to an increasing number of hospitals within Doc to Dock's three initial targeted countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, and Liberia) then will spread to other African countries as the program grows.
Doc to Dock will also encourage a pairing of the visiting health care workers with their African counterparts, so that there can be a two way educational exchange.
Doc to Dock has already begun to establish the ground work of this program and has held meetings with the Ministry of Health in the three designated pilot countries. Potential funding partners have been approached, including Delta Airlines, Eco Bank in Africa, USAID, and individual donors. Mount Sinai Medical School and Albert Einstein Medical School have each expressed an interest in participating in this program. Keith Martin, a Minister of Parliament in Canada, has offered assistance in recruiting Canadian Health Care workers with the help of the Canadian Medical Society.
Doc to Dock representatives in Africa will travel to each selected country to find and establish local housing. The Catholic Church has offered to help each country to help find such housing.
Doc to Dock will also hold meetings with the medical directors of each chosen hospital to identify the medical specialty in the greatest need. This ground work has already begun in Ghana, where the needs have been documented.
Starting in January 2009, Doc to Dock expects to have the first funded team on the ground in Liberia, in partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. They anticipate sending a team to Ghana by June 2009, and a team to Ethiopia (in partnership with Albert Einstein Medical School in NYC) by late 2009.
Once the pilot programs have been completed, Doc to Dock will then create a template for the permanent rotating positions. They will create a sign-up sheet for an entire year, which will be broken down to 6 week volunteer blocks, and will attempt to keep the positions permanently filled through this rotating system.
Doc to Dock will use, as their primary performance metric, the numbers of patients treated by the visiting health care providers; and have a target to treat at least 27,000 patients over the 6 weeks of care. They will track, as a secondary performance metric, the number of educational conferences provided by the visiting health care workers (including the numbers of local health care workers trained). Their performance target is the delivery of a total of 300 training sessions (10 training sessions per health care worker over each of their six week instillation). It is difficult to project the number of local health care workers trained at this time as this will depend on the staffing of the local hospitals selected for this pilot program. Finally, Doc to Dock will have a tertiary performance metric which will be the transfer of medical skills, as a result of training program. Although this is a quantifiable performance metric, the specifics cannot establish until it is determined what skills and specialties are requested by each of the recipient hospitals. Once the 30 health care workers are selected based on national and local hospital needs, Doc to Dock can then construct specific training goals and establish a performance target for the transfer of such selected skills; such as training in starting a dialysis center or training in vaginal fistula surgery. Doc to Dock will establish firm training goals once the specific volunteer specialties have been finalized.
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