By Scott Bowman
Experiencing the world's newest country, first-hand.
In 2015 I had the privilege to travel to the world’s newest country—South Sudan. I accompanied my dad and seven others from his organization, Partners in Compassionate Care (PCC), which had founded and built Memorial Christian Hospital (MCH) just outside the capital city of Bor. Since opening its doors in 2008, MCH has treated over 80,000 people and performed more than 3,000 life-saving surgeries. It has also installed the only X-ray system in the state, and has brought clean water and multiple community-based training initiatives to the surrounding community.
It’s impossible to go to South Sudan and remain unchanged.
South Sudan has 1.6 million internally displaced persons, 60% more than the number of Syrian refugees that have poured into Europe as of January 2016. South Sudan has had over two million war-related deaths over the past 30 years (pre & post-independence)—more than all the U.S. war-related deaths in our country’s history, Revolutionary War to present. Today, over half of all women die prematurely from maternal causes and more than a third of all children die before the age of 15. Preventable diseases such as malaria, food- and waterborne illnesses, sexually transmitted diseases and the like have created a healthcare crisis of epic proportions. And yet, our emotions are anesthetized by 24/7 news, so statistics like these often fail to move us. Being there is very different; it changes you.
I returned grateful for the blessings of life, big and small. I returned deeply moved, and developed pathos for people who have suffered so much, lost so much. I returned inspired by the joy they demonstrated, and their hope in God for a better future. And I returned motivated to follow the example of my father and take action, bringing hope and healing.
Partnering with Health eVillages to improve healthcare in South Sudan.
South Sudanese health workers, even those at MCH, lack access to medical textbooks, reference guides, point-of-care diagnostic support tools and other resources needed to provide the right care for the right person at the right time. Technology and innovation can play a role in improving quality of care and outcomes.
My firm, Clareo, has partnered with my client, Donato Tramuto, CEO of Healthways, and the organization he founded—Health eVillages, a program of Aptus Health and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights—to bring the Health eVillages digital health platform to Memorial Christian Hospital in South Sudan. The Health eVillages platform provides state-of-the-art mobile health technology, including medical reference and clinical decision support resources, to resource-starved nations. It empowers local healthcare staff, enabling them to improve quality of care, benefit from ongoing learning, and improve engagement & communication with patients. The Health eVillages platform includes a digital medical library stored directly on the device, reducing the need for reliable Internet access. It also includes illustrations, videos and other content that enables healthcare practitioners to engage with and educate consumers and patients about their health needs.
Clareo and Health eVillages are enabling and empowering the doctor, nurses and pharmacy staff at Memorial Christian Hospital to deliver improved quality of care, provide much-needed education and save lives. Since implementing the new platform in summer 2015, it has already delivered tangible benefits and promise for the future:
Innovation, Stewardship and Partnership
This initiative represents a commitment we have at Clareo and the KIN to connect innovation with prosperity and improve the lives of people globally. It also represents the deep partnership we seek to maintain with clients, enabling them to achieve their mission.
Donato Tramuto launched Health eVillages to help “heal the villages” in the developing world. His mission is to enable safe and efficient medical care in the most challenging clinical environments, anywhere in the world, by providing the latest in mobile healthcare technology. In 2014, he was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope award for his work with Health eVillages. We are deeply proud of Donato, inspired by his work, and grateful for the opportunity to partner with his organization to bring hope and healing to the world’s newest country.
To learn more about Health eVillages, please visit healthevillages.org.