Global Health Corps
The Global Health movement has grown beyond its earliest ideals, encompassing professionals of all manner and kind. The reality of Ebola, today, shows us that all of us, undeniably, play a part in the health of our communities. No-longer can we blame cultural practices, or hide behind the hope of miraculous signs and wonders – today, we all actively take part in the shape and form of our health. Or God forbid, we die.
The GHC Model takes a young and passionate generation of global health enthusiasts and places them at the forefront of health care, in deserving communities. For 1 year, I served as a fellow, I learned, I grew and now I am a sold out advocate. But the journey for health equity is a journey of a lifetime. GHC has launched Alumni programs across the 2 continents, to keep the candle burning.
Fellows, Alumni and Friends, today, I present to you the GHC Alumni Agenda.
Alumni are critical to the mission of mobilizing a community of emerging leaders to build the movement for health equity. 6 years after the first class, there are now more alumni than fellows. Alums are unique because after the fellowship, they are blown by winds further and in more industries than GHC could have managed to place them. While there, their collective experiences can still be harnessed towards improving the health of those most in need, both in their own countries and beyond. GHC is committed to supporting alumni in their leadership development and involvement in the global health equity movement.
The alumni program is guided by GHC’s leadership practices and framework that integrates professional development, interior formation and intellectual formation within the context of the self, world and community. GHC believes that leadership qualities and skills crucial to achieving social change and progress in global health are not innate and require regular attention and practice.
GHC leaders (Fellows and Alumni) are agents of change who: Are committed to social justice; Collaborate; Inspire and mobilize others; Adapt and innovate; Are self-aware and committed to learning; and Get results.
To date, Alumni Committees have been established in all countries where GHC has fellows. It is the role of the Alumni Committee, facilitated by the GHC Program Manager in that country, to determine the priority activities and approaches for the year. This strategy should reflect strategies that reflect on GHC’s vision of movement building and in particular, goals for the alumni program and our approach to leadership development.
We have ambitious plans, to hold a sports gala for our placement organisations, and a hackathon to solve pressing needs for KCCA. We also plan to support each other in personal endeavors. We will expand the annual East Africa alumni retreat in January 2015, as well as supporting the recruitment of new GHC fellows
Similar to GHC’s fellowship programming, the Uganda Alumni committee would like to achieve the following objectives for Alumni and fellows:
Knowledge Sharing and Communications – We would like to see alumni interact with each other in ways that sharpen one another, including targeted workshop sessions. Alumni should tap into each other’s wealth of experience and knowledge in health and development and allow for greater information sharing and collective wisdom.
Community Building and Networking: We hope that Alumni achieve the objective of remaining plugged and connected post-fellowship. We will enjoy our company as well as that of new partnerships and relationships. We will encourage networking opportunities and even work/project collaborations. We will support GHC recruitment for new fellow classes, because we would like to add the best to our community.
Professional Development: Even as Alumni, we hope that you continue to prioritize skills development and the sharing of professional resources to allow alums to better perform in their jobs and open the doors to new opportunities. Moreover, Alums are already signed up to support fellows, as part of the mentor-ship program.
Accompaniment/Self-care: As members of the Global Health Corps community, we live out our values through our behavior and our dealings with others. We transcend ourselves and our immediate identity as we expand our circle of care and concern to include our organizations, our fellow corps members and, last but not least, the very communities we are called to serve in throughout our careers.
I encourage the Global Health Corp Alumni to support the Alumni country program. Together, we continue to achieve the dream for health equity and social justice.
I knew I wanted to work with computers from as early as Senior 2, and I wasn’t contented with pioneering the computer club at my high school. Out of University my first job was far from computers, it was with children, orphaned children. They were singing their way to donations, inspiring people from other continents to provide for their needs. Those were the first seeds sowed against social injustice.
I was raised as a middle child, indeed my mother confessed to remembering me long when my diaper was leaking. Single mother, a house wife, I grew up in 7 suburbs in this city, and never in our own home. Those were the second seeds of consciousness to social injustice.
When I stopped looking after children, I was opened up to the world of health information systems – there I saw numbers. 327 HIV positive mothers; 45 malaria cases; any number you can name, we probably have a health statistic for it. On a computer screen, they are numbers, but in the field, they are people. Children, Mothers, Fathers – wasting away because there are no drugs; alas, there are no medical professionals to attend to them.
Now I couldn’t go back – it was not just a 3rd seed sown, it was time to be part of the solution.
We know that for people like me, ICT professionals, opportunities for us are scarce because our backgrounds are outside of healthcare. How do I use my unique skills in global health? At the same time, for those who work in traditional health fields, a lack of community with people (and professions) like mine limits collaboration, knowledge sharing and support.
GHC believes that a global movement of individuals and organizations fighting for improved health outcomes and access to healthcare for the poor is necessary in order to change the unacceptable status quo of extreme inequity.
GHC provides opportunities for young professionals from diverse backgrounds to work on the frontlines of the fight for global health equity.
In 2008, the Ministry of Health estimated that abortion-related causes accounted for 26% of all maternal mortality. This proportion is considerably higher than the World Health Organization’s estimate for Eastern Africa (18%)
In 2011, Uganda had a maternal mortality ratio of 438 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births—well above the average of 240 per 100,000 among all developing countries. Many of these were unsafe abortions. According to a survey of 1,338 women who received post-abortion care at 27 health facilities, on average, Ugandan women paid 59,600 shillings (US$23) for their abortion procedure and any treatment received prior to arriving at a health facility.
If you have lived in this city most recently, you may be familiar with civil servants who “erroneously” earn 96 million shillings a month (that’s about: $35500/mo; $222/hr), and you may have heard that our development partners are redirecting aid, and in some cases it will make the difference between a pregnant mother being tested for HIV and placed on option B+ or not… literary affecting our national dream for an HIV free generation.
In 2012, an estimated 168,000 women in Sub-Saharan Africa died from pregnancy and birth-related causes; 62,000 of these women did not want to become pregnant in the first place. Fully meeting all need for modern contraceptive methods would have prevented 48,000 of these deaths—a 29% decline in maternal mortality.
Every shilling spent on family planning/Contraception will save more than 6 shillings in post-abortion care services averted. The cost of providing contraception in Uganda for one year has been estimated at around UGX 57200/= per user, while the overall cost per case for treating post-abortion complications is UGX 340,600/=.
96 million shillings would provide 1678 Ugandan women a year’s needs for contraception. What else can it do now?
[The entire stipend needed for all of us 65 fellows this month!]
In this room, there are young professionals from all walks of life. You are here because you decided to be available for the Global health Movement. Something tagged at your heart and you answered the call. I challenge you, stay at your post. Remain present, remain engaged, and remain plugged. It is young people like you who are going to make a difference in the way we think about the future of this continent.
There are also partners, and the organizations where new fellows are going to be placed – you have made available room and board, time and space to tap into the passion in this room. I urge you, open up more doors; there are a lot of young unemployed (and indeed unchallenged) graduates who are willing to get their hands dirty. GHC has proved it, because the growth remains visible, next year, there will be more than 150 fellows!
Where do we go from here? This is Step #6 in how GHC Works: Fellows collaborate, Grow as leaders, Deepen Impact BEYOND the fellowship year.
Let’s see, my good friend Edward heads to Mbale to serve local communities with microfinance, as the country director for Spark MicroGrants; Cassandra has left Kyangwali Refugee community for medical school in the US – she’ll become a doctor soon enough. Brian? I will lead a team of ICT professionals – you can guess how they will turn out in a year – Global Health advocates! Many of us are going to do different things.
But oh how we are changed. How the fellowship has given us new eyes, I will never look at a health stat and not imagine the people represented; I will never lose consciousness of the health challenges of my community. I have not just grown professionally – learning what PMTCT is and the technical language around HIV and AIDS, I have also been intellectually stretched, when debating interventions for young people, and debating with my class about aid cuts and their impact on health. These discussions have made me grow, but perhaps more profoundly, I now question my own values, ethics, and motivations for engaging in this movement.
Joan, go and be a star! Brian, one year from now, you will be more than just a world changer. Sam, there is room for ICT professionals like you and me in the movement for Global Health Equity!
You and I, all of us have got to remember, we are part of a global community of emerging leaders to build the movement for health equity. We are building a community of change-makers who share a common belief: Health is a human right.
Once a Fellow, always a fellow!
Sundaram A et al., Documenting the individual- and household-level cost of unsafe abortion in Uganda, International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2013, 39(4):174–184
 Adding It Up: Costs and Benefits of Contraceptive Services—Estimates for 2012, New York: Guttmacher Institute and United Nations Population Fund, 2012.
 Vlassoff M et al., The health system cost of post-abortion care in Uganda, Health Policy and Planning, 2014, Vol. 29, pp. 56–66
So am all packed up and ready to head home – after 15days at the GHC Training Institute, hosted at the famed Yale University. This past few days, my cheese has moved, in interactions with great people like Barbara Bush, Havard Business School’s Rob Kaplan, and Phil Wilson of the Black AIDS Institute.
And my life has been dramatically changed! I am a Global Health Corp – or rather, simply put:
I belong to a community of young passionate leaders who, now more strongly than ever before, share a common belief that Health is a Human Right. And I believe that I have my own share of the work to use social justice to being about Health Equity.
I embrace the philosophy of active problem solving, and engaging global partnerships in order to bring about real and sustainable change. I need the complete spectrum of life itself, in skills, experiences, and perspectives from people like you in order bring about a serious change in global health.
Architects, Nurses, Computer Scientists and people like You from allover the world – break down walls to unite and enact expertise from all disciplines and backgrounds. Together, we support Global Health Equity Movement.
I am a Challengers, I am a Thinkers, and I am a Change Maker. I am, a Global Health Corp.
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