To comprehensively address health problems in both the short-term and long-term, our service delivery must occur at several different levels. Collectively, these different levels of service complement one another and exhibit a great deal of interplay. We have identified five different layers of service that are integral to our programs:
Given the severe healthcare inadequacies and many preventable diseases experienced by the poor, we seek to immediately scale up health services to meet the urgent needs in the communities we serve. Immediate delivery of services means bringing in outside resources to fulfill needs such as hiring new health center staff members, supplying medications and supplies, purchasing equipment, and improving the quality and availability of health facilities.
The people serving within a healthcare system are integral to successful health outcomes. To build human capacity, we pursue two primary goals: (1) to train new health workers to increase the availability of caretakers and (2) to train existing health workers so they can acquire new skills. By improving the quality of the healthcare workforce, we aim to impart greater capabilities unto health workers, which will strengthen their service delivery for years to come and which they can then spread to other health workers as time goes on.
We believe that improved training for healthcare workers must be accompanied by the necessary physical infrastructure to support their work. Without the appropriate equipment and facilities, training often means very little. More immediately, the inadequacy of healthcare facilities and the absence of other basic infrastructural needs – such as electricity, roads, and clean water – place positive health out of reach for the poor. By building physical infrastructure, we aim not only to achieve immediate health improvements but also to create long-term capacity in our partner communities.
While it is one matter to train individuals and build infrastructure, it is another matter to integrate individual health workers and expanded infrastructure into an effective healthcare system that capitalizes on their collective contributions. In fact, weak institutions are often a key barrier to high-quality services for the poor. Therefore, we aim to work closely with communities and the government to strengthen institutional capacity. Building such capacity is a key step for achieving sustainable health outcomes. Institutions are important for several purposes, such as providing oversight, setting standards, and undertaking community-wide initiatives.
To address the underlying determinants of poor health, we must expand the economic opportunities for the people we serve. This task requires service provision that addresses issues such as income generation and education, which contribute to the long-term economic well-being of families and communities. The construction of physical infrastructure, described above, also supports increasing economic prosperity.