Published on in Global Health Update
Healthcare providers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) see over 1.2 million children each year at the Main Campus and across our provider network. We also serve more than 600 children each year through CHOP’s partnerships in Consuelo and La Romana, Dominican Republic, and thousands more in Botswana and the more than 15 other countries where CHOP Global Health faculty work. These lives are impacted by providers trained at CHOP as well as research and clinical advances made at CHOP and at partner sites.
On April 7, we celebrated World Health Day. This year’s theme, “Health for All,” is a principle that CHOP’s Global Health team works and lives by 365 days a year.
Why health for all matters
The world continues to shrink as more people have the ability to travel; journeys that once took days or months now only take a few hours. This has developed an interconnectedness among all people regardless of country boundaries, where each person’s health has an effect on those around them. Former United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, said, “Our planet is [small] and the human family is one.” Each life is valuable and the quality of that life is important, though it is often dependent on health status. Ensuring health for all means we are all protected from infectious disease epidemics, poverty, hunger and inequality.
What “Health for All” means at CHOP
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every day around the world, 15,000 children under the age of 5 die; half of these deaths are due to diseases and conditions that are preventable and/or treatable.
“The excitement of working and partnering in Global Child Health is that each of us can make a difference, and help put a stop to these preventable and treatable child deaths,” says Andrew Steenhoff, MD, Medical Director of the Global Health Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Whether it’s teaching an international observer at CHOP, or training, doing research or clinical care in another country, or donating to the CHOP Global Health Center, each plays a crucial role.”
"Health for all" means that children anywhere in the world have access to quality healthcare, giving them a fair shot at life. This is what the Global Health team is committed to contributing to through:
- Training — over 1,500 medical students, residents, and faculty have been trained to provide high-quality care to children in global settings. Additionally, over the past six years, we have hosted almost 1,000 global pediatric education learners from over 80 countries and given over 100 weeklong lectures to physicians from Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa. Our goal is to train and develop the next generation of pediatric global health leaders to build capacity in countries around the world, thereby preventing brain drain. Our signature training programs include the Botswana Pediatric Residency rotation, the David N. Pincus Global Health Fellowship, and the CHOP Open-access Medical Education program. “Providing education in person, here at CHOP and at sites abroad, as well as through the internet creates a multiplier effect to our efforts. Sharing knowledge and ways of applying that knowledge, skills and attitudes ultimately extends our reach to millions of children. It is part of our mission as a healthcare institution and the professional and personal values of our healthcare profession,” says Stephen Ludwig, MD, Medical Director of Global Pediatric Education at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
- Research that is innovative and cutting-edge, which improves clinical practice and care guidelines. Our team has published over 100 academic papers that are moving the needle forward in pediatric health worldwide. These include Dr. Henry Welch’s research on rotavirus, which helped the Botswana Ministry of Health initiate a nationwide rotavirus vaccine program that has led to a decline in pediatric hospitalizations and deaths. “Our work seeks to provide evidence to guide best practices for pediatric care, guided by priorities set by our pediatric care partners in resource-limited settings and their communities. Because priorities vary by setting, so does CHOP’s global health research, including areas as diverse as anemia prevention and treatment, improving HIV treatment outcomes for adolescents, and assessing long-term surgical outcomes,” says Elizabeth Lowenthal, MD, MSCE, Research Director of the CHOP Global Health Center.
- Clinical care that is comprehensive, evidence-based, and high-quality, provided in partnership with local providers. This includes our flagship programs in the Dominican Republic and Botswana, as well as the work in which CHOP faculty are involved around the world.
How can you promote health for all?
Every person can contribute to promoting health for all. A simple first step is to connect and stay up to date on global health by joining our newsletter email list, firstname.lastname@example.org. Become a volunteer and advocate for health for all by connecting with local organizations like the CHOP Refugee Health Program, or donate to the CHOP Global Health Center to change the lives of children and families around the world. Together we can change the world to ensure health for all.