Projects That Work: 2014 Winners
The second annual Projects That Work forum took place at the 2014 conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH), which was held November 19-23, 2014, in Fortaleza, Brazil. The competition showcased projects that had successfully addressed missions related to the 2014 conference theme, Strengthening Health Professions Education as a Policy to Improve Health, for three years or longer. An open worldwide call resulted in 64 submissions from which seven projects were selected by an international panel of 13 reviewers. Descriptions of the selected projects follow.
Ukwanda Rural Clinical School
This project provides opportunities for medical students to spend a significant portion of their clinical training outside of the teaching hospital with regional hospital specialists and family physicians as their main tutors. Cooperation with provincial and local health services is essential as training takes place in local health institutions and students are tutored by health workers employed by local health services. Student participation was expanded to include occupational health and dietetic students.
Presenter: Hoffie Conradie, Associate Professor, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Investing in Rural Youth to Address Shortages of Rural Healthcare Staff
This program recruits rural youth to become healthcare professionals who agree to work in rural settings after graduating. Academic and social mentoring has resulted in exceptionally high university pass rates exceeding 90%. It has produced 183 graduates over 14 years. The program continues to grow each year (currently 13 hospitals and 200 youth), has diversified its funding base to include government support, and has expanded to an additional rural province.
Presenter: Gavin MacGregor, Director, Umthombo Youth Development Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Rwanda Village Concept Project–Interdisciplinary Health Professions Student Education
This is a student-run organization involving partnership between Rwandan and German medical students with the goals of sustainable improvement of living conditions of vulnerable communities at village level and capacity building for participating students. The comprehensive approach to improving community health includes a number of initiatives such as HIV/AIDS awareness; reproductive health and family planning; hygiene, water, and sanitation; empowering women and girls; micro-enterprise; and malaria prevention.
Presenter: Damas Dukundane, International Relations Coordinator, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Reproductive Health and Family Planning Coordinator, Rwanda Village Concept Project, Huye District, Rwanda
Creating a Community Medicine Department
Begun in 1987 as two local community centers turned into “health rooms” by community members and served by medical student volunteers, this project evolved over time and through many challenges to become a Community Medicine Department with three complete health centers providing general physician and dental consultations, health promotion and disease prevention activities, family planning services, health clubs, child growth and development care, elderly care, clinical laboratory, and prenatal care.
Presenter: Jenny Paola Salamanca Preciado, Professor, Escuela de Medicina Juan N. Corpas, Bogotá, Colombia
Community Emergency First Aid Response System
This program trains community volunteers to be first responders to emergency situations in areas where long delay in ambulance response is common. In addition to providing timely care to patients, the volunteers provide more informed calls for emergency services and help ambulances navigate informal settlements to find patients. Partnerships with community-based organizations have also led to safety programs for schools and early childhood development centers.
Presenter: Michèle Twomey, Community Development Practitioner, Cape Town, South Africa
Collaborative Community Health Program for Control of Vector Borne Diseases
An effective coordinated response to a health care crisis (2009 malaria epidemic) resulted in an ongoing collaboration between local government, public health services, and medical schools to provide improved health care in slums and give interns training in community settings. Since the start of the project, there has been an 86.3% decrease in malaria, and nearly 1,500 interns have experienced the community-based postings.
Presenter: Suhasini Jayantilal Nagda, Director of Medical Education and Major Hospitals, Dean of Nair Hospital Dental College, Mumbai, India
Nurses Provide Skin Care for All
Since 1997, this project has been addressing the inadequacy of medical care for skin diseases outside urban centers by training clinical nurse practitioners from all over sub‑Saharan Africa in diagnosis and management of common skin diseases and recognition of conditions in urgent need of referral. Many of the course graduates provide the only dermatology services available in the areas where they practice. A postgraduate diploma course in nursing dermatology has recently been approved and plans to replicate the project are underway elsewhere in South Africa and in Tanzania.
Presenter: Pat Kelly, Specialist Dermatology Nurse Tutor, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa