Global Health is a hot topic and getting more so: there are many organizations and governments trying to play the global health game. There is a clearly need, as the developing world has serious ongoing health needs. Throughout the world, communities vary in disease burden and ability to cope. NGOs (non-governmental organizations, a fancy name for charities) have good intentions, but not always the right solutions. While there are many charities building clinics, hospitals, water and sanitation systems, as well as schools among other projects, there is a weakness: people love to donate to build a structure but rarely to maintain it – because it isn’t sexy. Many vaunted projects have failed from neglect and local inability to maintain systems.
A New Paradigm is needed: Self-sufficient community-based health centers. Health Care systems are needed that “stand and stay.” While charity is good for initiating the process, is not realistic for maintaining projects through the long-run. A community should be responsible for keeping projects going. A well-integrated approach, with an international network, can create a clinic or hospital in a needy community, train the local population to take it over, and create income streams for future sustainment. The bulk of the cost is in initiating the system and creating the infrastructure: once it is up and running, the money needed to keep it going is much less and much more manageable for local communities. The income is reinvested into the infrastructure.
Our philosophy is surprisingly simple:
“Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; Teach him to fish and he eats for life”
Ongoing Income Streams:
- Charge physicians for lab/imaging/procedures
- Patient fees: care is not free, but cheap—based upon the ability to pay and payment in kind is acceptable, such as eggs, fruits, cash, etc.
- Rental fees for private physician offices
- Rental fees for storefront spaces
- Locally-based projects: e.g. make mosquito nets, ORS, coffee/tea, etc
Jamii Health International’s goal is to build community-based health centers and have them self-sufficient within 5 years. By then, local administrator/group takes over, and JHI remains available as consultant and for ongoing research as well as quality control. During the incubation period, we aim to integrate local and foreign health care workers. The health of the community improves through medical treatment combined with education of the community and preventive measures to avoid sickness. Each site also becomes a research center, identifying the local health issues through science and epidemiology, so that efficient and effective measures can be made without wasting money in pursuit of good community health.