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Projects That Work: 2016 Winners

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The fourth annual Projects That Work forum took place at the 2016 conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH), which was held July 26-30, 2016, in Shenyang, China. The competition showcased projects that had successfully addressed missions related to the 2016 conference theme, Building Trust: A Global Challenge in Health System Reform, for three years or longer. An open worldwide call resulted in 33 submissions from which five projects were selected by an international panel of 12 reviewers. One of the winning projects was deferred for presentation at the 2017 conference. Descriptions of the other four projects follow.


Molding Residents for Preceptorships to Improve Tanzania’s Health Professions Education

Doreen Mloka
The shortage of human resources for health (HRH) crisis is a widely acknowledged problem in developing countries of sub-Saharan Africa such as Tanzania. This project developed a way to create more faculty to help universities teach more students in order to address the national HRH crisis. Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) realized that it had a pool of postgraduate students that could be used to help train others if they were properly trained. An existing 16-member interprofessional faculty development unit known as the health profession educators group (HPEGS) designed, conducted, and assessed a graded mandatory teaching methodology course specifically designed for postgraduate students. To date the program has trained 418 residents. It has been observed that if residents are properly trained they can be effective preceptors for undergraduate students’ learning. The residents exhibit more confidence in teaching and, as a result, many have expressed interest in a career that involves teaching and learning. The interdisciplinary mix of participants in the workshops has also promoted a culture of teamwork at MUHAS. Residents said that after working together they are more comfortable seeking advice from colleagues in other health professions.

Presenter: Doreen Mloka, Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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Hygiene and Water Sanitation

Eric Rucogoza
This project was developed to address the issue of people in Rwandan villages suffering unnecessarily from cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, and other water borne diseases. These diseases spread because of unhygienic practices, unclean drinking water, and the use of unsanitary toilet facilities. The project was implemented by the Rwanda Village Concept Project (RVCP), a non-governmental, non-political, voluntary organization run by students at the University of Rwanda. Since 2005 the project has provided at least two Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) Latrines for four vulnerable families each year. To date, 31 of the 125 households in the target village of Mpungwe have access to a VIP latrine and the local primary school has also benefitted from an ECOSAN latrine. RVCP has also conducted house-to-house teaching sessions and youth programs to compliment the provision of latrines. Changes as result of this project include the decrease of diseases from poor hygiene as well as widespread behavioral change towards hygienic measures. There is no longer epidemic diarrhea in the village and community health workers reported a 60% decrease of diseases from poor hygiene in two years. As a result, Mpungwe ranked first in the Southern Province and the governor provided them with electricity as a reward for excellence in hygiene.

Presenter: Eric Rucogoza, Coordinator, Rwanda Village Concept Project, Huye, Rwanda

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Primary Healthcare Training for Community Lay-leaders by Building Trusting Partnerships

Jachin Velavan
India, with its population of 1.2 billion, has enormous disparity between medical care in rural and urban settings. However, 80% of the health problems do not need doctors and can be prevented and treated by simple measures at the village level through health education and awareness. The Community Lay-leaders Health Training Certificate Course (CLHTC), was started in 2012 as a one-year blended learning (hybrid training with self-learning modules and hands-on training) course designed and run by the Distance Education Department of Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, India with the motto “Be a Health-change Agent.” The program has been designed to have a “multiplier effect.” Four master nurse trainers from CMC have trained 92 nurse trainers, who facilitate the contact programs in 21 regional rural mission hospitals and have trained more than 1,200 lay leaders who will render basic health care to approximately 12,000 villages, conduct school health programs in 2,400 village schools, and train approximately 6,000 village-level health workers (each one is expected to cover 10 villages and a minimum of three village schools). Interest in replicating the model has arisen in Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sudan, and Nigeria.

Presenter: Jachin Velavan, Coordinator, Department of Distance Education, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India

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Community Intervention Projects Integrate Public Health Essential Functions (PHEF) into Curriculum of Medicine

Marco Sosa
This project integrates public or population health and patient/person health by creating Community Intervention in Health Projects (CHIPs), where small groups of students apply both clinical and public health in the concrete reality of a community or community organization. During the last five years, CHIPs have been developed by more than 60 undergraduate students from the Faculty of Medicine FUSM Sabaneta Campus by partnering with different organizations including two secondary schools, one clinic, two community groups, one NGO, and two Secretaries of Health from two different cities. The community health needs that have been addressed through CHIPS are: increased breastfeeding in mothers with children under one year old; increased knowledge of health rights; increased knowledge, attitudes, and practices in sexual and reproductive health in young scholars; comprehensive and integrated delivery of health care programs for children with asthma in ambulatory clinics; and increased competencies of students of medicine to attend lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBTI) patients.

Presenter: Marco Sosa, Coordinator, Health Advisory Unit, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana Facultad de Medicina, MedellĂ­n, Colombia

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[last update: October 14, 2016]