Many people in the Americas have limited access to healthcare – due to constrained resources, lack of health system capacity, and economic and social inequities. Countries in the region spend just 3.5% of GDP on public health expenditure – less than half the global average of 8.2%. About 30% of the population does not have access to health care because of economic constraints, and there are just two doctors for every 1,000 people.
UfHI collaborates with public- and private-sector partners to guide health policy, improve health system capacity, and coordinate disease surveillance. This includes developing sustainable frameworks for public health collaboration, launching health and wellness campaigns, and framing international health standards.
Developing Response Strategies Following Natural Disasters
In 2017, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated the Caribbean, and two earthquakes struck Mexico. These natural disasters damaged infrastructure and crippled health delivery systems – a health threat that will last long after the immediate impact.
UfHI responded quickly with plans for long-term rebuilding. We established a partnership with MedShare International to develop a comprehensive model to support the rebuilding efforts in affected countries. And we partnered with Project HOPE to facilitate resources to supply, equip, and build health systems capacity, particularly the maintenance and delivery of proper water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities.
Post-Disaster Recovery to St. Kitts
Following the damage left by Hurricane Irma and Maria across the Caribbean, UfHI came together with MedShare and devised a response that would prove to strengthen St. Kitts and Nevis medical service delivery systems. The partnership resulted in the delivery of a 40-foot container of items including canes, beds, catheters, recliners, crutches, baby wipes, diapers, dressings, gloves, wheelchairs and other critical supplies that will improve the health and well-being of individuals and families across five health facilities.
Sandra, pictured here, is a recipient of one of the many donated wheelchairs. Sandra lost her right leg due to diabetes, and prior to receiving the wheelchair, she was immobile and depressed following her surgery. Now, Sandra feels revived and hopeful that she can have a thriving life filled with independence and dignity.
UfHI looks forward to continued engagement with partners like MedShare as we work to save lives and change futures across the region.
Collaboration with Peru’s Ministry of Health
UfHI has a history of successful collaboration with the Peruvian Ministry of Health to improve public health access and quality. Our collaboration has resulted in the launch of Peru’s national plan on cervical cancer which is being used as a model for how to approach similar plans in other disease areas.
International Healthcare Standards
UfHI is a member of the technical committee on healthcare organization management at the International Organization for Standardization, an independent NGO that publishes standards based on expert consensus. This partnership enables UfHI to shape healthcare standards to guide solutions to global health challenges.
Leveraging this relationship, UfHI guided the development of healthcare management standards that address anti-microbial resistance (AMR) in clinical settings – a growing health crisis in the Americas.
Adolescent Health Programs
LAC has the highest teen pregnancy rates in the hemisphere and UfHI has partnered with the Jane Fonda Center at Emory University to engage with local partners in the Dominican Republic and Mexico to address adolescent pregnancy prevention and pregnancy care. The project is being carried out in two phases. The first phase involved engaging with communities directly to understand their needs. The second will include launching tailored interventions in the communities with a focus on impact and rigorous evaluation. These efforts are meant to:
- Reduce maternal mortality among pregnant adolescents
- Reduce early pregnancy rates
- Increase willingness to seek care and ease of access to care for reproductive health issues among adolescents
Local Stakeholders Meeting in Dominican Republic. Facilitated by Emory in coordination with local partners.
Photo Credit: Dr. Melissa Kottke
Women’s Health is Public Health
A woman’s health status is critically important to herself, her family, and her community, across the entire course of her life. Yet, women in the Americas face unique health risks, due to chronic health problems, higher rates of disability, lower incomes, and unequal access to information, care, and basic health practices.
UfHI’s groundbreaking “Women’s Health is Public Health” campaign calls for eliminating barriers to women’s health and wellness. The campaign aims to share tools and catalyze action to achieve communities where women and families can live long, healthy, dignified, and productive lives.
View the White Paper for more details.