There are many factors that leave the most disadvantaged segments of the population without essential health care services and lacking all forms of support. Extreme poverty, geographic and social isolation largely contribute to these desperate situations. The Sustainable Development Goals target these challenges by setting universal health coverage at the top of the agenda, however the road to achieving this goal is long.
Improvements were made over the past 15 years with the Millennium Development Goals, but the world is still faced with extreme poverty. Populations living in extreme poverty have limited or no access to health services and affordable care, and suffer the consequences with higher rates of morbidity and mortality.
people living on less than $1.25 a day
Populations living in remote communities or lead nomadic lives are isolated from necessary health services. Because of the isolation in some regions, emergency services are not given in time and this can lead to serious complications or even death. The delay in the provision of care is a factor that increases the chances of patient mortality, especially among pregnant women and newborns. Circumstances complicating the timely access to care include lack of transportation, poor road quality, and the remoteness of regions relative to appropriate health centers.
Across WAHA’s projects, innovative strategies are used to ensure that even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities have access to the care they need.
Motorcycle ambulances and mobile phones (mHealth)
We created motorcycle ambulances that are adapted to the terrain and we trained local drivers. Their deployment has significantly reduced the time needed to access appropriate health structures. In conjunction, we have distributed mobile phones in some communities and created a 24 hour/7 days a week call center to help coordinate the transport of patients between health facilities. Community mobilization campaigns help to promote the mhealth initiative and increase use of the free mobile phone numbers to organize health referrals. Following the success of this initiative, we have improved and developed this system before importing it to over twenty countries around the world, largely in Africa but also in the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Ethiopia, Guinea, Niger. Every day, these initiatives save lives.
The maintenance and upkeep of health centers is an ongoing challenge and has an excessively high cost for many countries. Because of a lack of means, many permanent health facilities are not working properly or are struggling to restructure in order to achieve sufficient hygiene standards. In conflict zones, health structures are often abandoned, substandard, even unusable or destroyed and people are therefore faced with a total lack of care.
WAHA International is often engaged in the reconstruction or rehabilitation of health centers in different areas. WAHA works to renovate the facilities, perform rehabilitation, and implement waste management systems to provide better services and to ensure the safety of staff and patients. These actions ensure the sustainability of health facilities.