Our Mission to serve all, especially those who are poor and vulnerable, reaches beyond our borders to address the issues of our time. We live in a global society and it is our responsibility to address the root causes of health disparities in our back yard and across our border. Leveraging our unique scale and resources allows us to meet the community and address some of its most basic needs.
Volunteering is the engine that moves our global impact forward. Through a community-focused approach, Providence identifies needs in international communities and partners with international health organizations to create sustainable health solutions for long-term change. This method encompasses: medical and surgical teams, public health teams and systems development, clinical education exchanges and medical surplus donation and recovery.
In 2019, 444 international volunteers supported communities in Mexico, Guatemala and Malawi.
In Lomas de Valle, residential housing construction continues, and future residents now have a water and sewer system. Providence continues to help lay the groundwork as residents prepare to construct their own community. The first house is under construction and should be completed early in 2020, with seven more homes to follow within the year.
Providence has focused our international programs where the need is greatest. In the central highlands of Guatemala, where poverty is 76%, Providence has partnered with Medical Teams International to implement a maternal and child health program in which we can address the root causes of illness, address clinical needs and strengthen the local healthcare system. In 2019, our Medical teams served 138 surgical patients, performing 143 surgeries, 208 procedures and more than 1,800 patient visits.
Volunteers also installed 155 latrines and 30 water tanks to provide villagers access to clean water and regular hand washing. Teams installed clean burning cooking stoves to improve indoor air quality. The program provides critical training to “mother counselors” to provide education about health and signs of danger for pregnant women, new mothers and their babies. This model has allowed Providence to reach more than 11,000 people across the country in four years.
In Malawi, there is one doctor for every 55,000 Malawians. Most local medical students leave for training in urban centers and don’t come back. Through a two year long partnership with Seed Global Health, Swedish First Hill Family Medicine Residency, and the University of Malawi, Providence has been able to strengthen the capacity of a 500 bed hospital in rural Malawi by sponsoring family medicine residents from across the Providence family of organizations to do a four week global health rotations. In 2019, Providence sent nine residents who provided a total of 1,800 volunteer hours, training 90 medical students and other clinical learners in critical primary care knowledge and skills.
To make this program possible, Providence sponsors two part time American faculty who split the year between the U.S. and Mangochi, Malawi. While in Malawi, they are an ongoing capacity strengthening presence to local clinicians and also support Providence residents while on rotation. To ensure that this exchange is truly bilateral, Providence also sponsors the Collaboratory, a Swedish Family Medicine Residency program six week immersion program for Malawian Family Medicine residents. In 2019, two residents received six weeks of clinical training, global health leadership certification and the opportunity to present at the American Association for Family Medicine.