A recent journal article by law professor David Fidler left me thinking about the state of healthcare around the world. Fidler examines the attitudes of Republican presidential nominees regarding America’s involvement in improving healthcare conditions in developing countries. The Global Health Initiative has the U.S. partnering with 80 countries worldwide to create and improve health systems. Among the initiatives are new approaches to nutrition, AIDS, TB, safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
Millions of people in third world nations have almost no access to health care facilities. Where facilities exist, they are often concentrated in the major cities, leaving rural residents to flounder. About half the population of several African countries lacks access to health care.
The United States government’s efforts to coordinate with developing countries to enrich their healthcare provision are admirable. Donors, both corporate and individual, work with poor countries to expand their existing systems and use resources effectively.
Good health practices need proper facilities. Just like countries with advanced health care practices, developing countries have to think about minimizing the cost of service delivery, as well as maximizing their resources by building facilities intelligently. The immediacy of the needs must inform the practicality of implementation.
Several months ago I blogged about the use of prefabricated health facilities. The idea is simple – build a hospital in modular components in a controlled environment, ship it to where it is needed, and assemble the prefabricated components on site. Simultaneously, it is as advanced as assembling a space station and as simple as creating a trailer park. The possibilities are endless and locations limitless. We can “insert” healthcare facilities into the jungles of South America, the deserts of Africa or the mountains of Asia. Shipped as a package together with supplies and medications, they can be providing much needed care within months.