Strengthening Family Medicine in Zambia with Dr. Mpundu Makasa

CommunicationsBlog, Medicine, Zambia

Dr. Mpundu Makasa is a clinician and public health practitioner who works in the primary health care setting. She has a Master of Public Health and a PhD in Epidemiology. Dr. Makasa is currently enrolled in the University of Zambia’s (UNZA) Family Medicine Residency Program that is supported by Seed Global Health. Later this year, Dr. Makasa will be the first graduate of the program. She will become a faculty member after graduation, re-investing her newfound skills and experience to teach in the program. We talked to her about her experience, the family medicine discipline in Zambia, and advancing gender equity in the health workforce. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. What inspired you to pursue a career in family medicine? I joined the University of Zambia as a faculty member in the School of Medicine’s Department of … Read More

Ensuring Access to High-Quality Primary Care

CommunicationsBlog, Medicine

Zambia has made significant improvements in reducing mortality rates related to acute infectious diseases over the last decade. However, the country is experiencing a shifting burden of disease, with a growing prevalence of chronic noncommunicable diseases, that its health workforce is not prepared to address. Shortages of physicians are especially acute in rural areas, where the bulk of Zambia’s populace is concentrated.  In the spring of 2010, a group of educators at the University of Zambia (UNZA) began working to develop a post-graduate training program in family medicine, with the aim of developing physicians who could treat a wide array of medical conditions across the lifespan. The new specialty would be well-suited to administer preventive and curative care in both urban and rural settings.  In the course of three years, Seed Global Health (Seed) engaged in the essential planning and … Read More

Strengthening Primary Care Through Portable Ultrasounds in Zambia

CommunicationsBlog, Medicine

Dr. Kunka (right) demonstrates to Dr. Makasa (left) how to do a specific ultrasound scan. Medical imaging and ultrasounds are used globally on a daily basis. These tools improve the quality of care from obstetrics to emergency care and are valuable in the primary care context. Despite its benefits, diagnostic ultrasound has not been broadly or equitably accessible around the world. Because of the specialized skills needed and large technical installations of imaging equipment, scans have traditionally required secondary clinicians, such as radiologists, sonographers, or subspecialists, to perform and interpret them. For resource-limited countries, especially those with critical shortages in human resources for health, these requirements have prevented millions of people from accessing essential diagnostic and screening services. Fortunately, recent advances in ultrasound technology have resulted in devices that are small enough to fit in a clinician’s pocket and be … Read More

Announcement: Zambia Country Representative

CommunicationsMedicine, News, Zambia

Bassim Birkland, MD MPH Seed Global Health Country Representative to Zambia Seed Global Health is proud to announce the appointment of Bassim Birkland, MD MPH as Seed Global Health’s Country Representative to Zambia.  Dr. Birkland is a resident of Zambia, his wife’s home, where he has worked for years as a primary care physician and as a global health consultant to both public and private institutions. Bassim’s professional interests include medical education and training and he has been involved in establishing new health professional training programs in Zambia. He has years of experience with clinical teaching of health professionals in low-resource settings. He has held a faculty position at the University of Zambia since 2017 and currently coordinates the only Family Medicine training program in the country. Bassim has long been dedicated to working with underserved populations both in his home country … Read More

Zambia: Maintaining Medical Education During COVID

CommunicationsBlog, Medicine, Zambia

This post was authored by Matthew Haldeman, MD who is a Seed Family Medicine Physician working in Zambia.  Working at the University of Zambia and Chilenje Hospital in Lusaka, Matthew is continuing to support Family Medicine registrars and students through online education, as well as, clinical training and mentorship. Sometimes when I’m teaching online, I feel as though I’m talking into outer space. Online video conferences can feel inherently awkward, so people are less willing to open up.  Few people ask questions or offer comments because of the time delay. When those comments arise, they can feel more like interruptions, delaying the lecture’s progress.  As a visiting faculty from the United States, I worry that my English is harder to understand through a virtual platform as compared to a face-to-face meeting. Today, however, was different. We had had a busy … Read More

Reflections on #WHA72

Seed Global HealthBlog, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing, UHC

We traveled to the seventy-second World Health Assembly (#WHA72) last week against the background of a world that is facing global health crises across multiple fronts. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the ongoing Ebola outbreak—the second largest in history—has resulted in over 1,200 deaths so far. Health workers and health centers have been repeatedly attacked, hindering efforts to provide treatment and care and contain the virus. Antimicrobial resistance is becoming a global problem, threatening treatment to common infectious diseases and risking patient care and health. It is the next emerging epidemic. There remain challenges in reaching the last mile with global vaccination campaigns. This is further compounded by the frustrating re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles. There is a projected 18 million health worker shortfall. Achieving universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3) by 2030 cannot … Read More

Update from #WHA72: Invest in Health Workers

Seed Global HealthBlog, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing, UHC

The healthcare workforce, including doctors, nurses, midwives, and across the continuum to the household level, is pivotal to the success of every public health intervention. Across the globe, countries are facing a triple burden of disease: infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, and new and emerging threats such as antimicrobial resistance. To adequately address this burden of disease, ensure access to high-quality care, and attend to communities’ needs, we need to invest in health workforce education, employment, and retention. Last night, as part of the World Health Assembly, Seed Global Health co-sponsored a high-level event titled Invest in Health Workers in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Health Workforce Network, Last Mile Health, and Intrahealth International. Our collective goal was to emphasize the vital contribution of health workers to universal health coverage and … Read More

Update from #WHA72: Investing in Jobs for #HealthForAll

Seed Global HealthBlog, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing, UHC

Universal health coverage (UHC) has been at the center of discussions across sessions and side events at this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA). How do we ensure that all people and communities have access to and receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardships? It starts with investing in the health workforce—the backbone of strong health systems. Health workers are the missing link that will bridge the gaps in access to care and accelerate movement toward achieving universal health coverage. This afternoon, while at WHA, we attended a WHO-sponsored technical briefing on investing in jobs for health for all. We had the opportunity to present a variation of the below statement emphasizing the critical need to make the essential investment in health workers: Investing in the healthcare workforce, including health professionals and across the full continuum of service … Read More

Update from #WHA72: Highlights from the First 3 Days

Seed Global HealthBlog, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing

1. Primary health care (PHC) is a critical foundation for universal health coverage In his opening remarks to the World Health Assembly on Monday, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, reminded all of us that there cannot be health for all without primary health care. “Primary health care is where the battle for human health is won and lost,” Dr. Tedros said. Among other things, he highlighted the importance of strong PHC in preventing, detecting, and treating noncommunicable diseases; protecting children; and fighting the global surge in vaccine-preventable diseases. He also emphasized its role in ensuring that outbreaks can be detected and stopped before they become epidemics. 2. Strengthening quality midwifery education to ensure health for all UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and the International Confederation of Midwives launched Framework for Action: Strengthening Quality Midwifery Education for Universal Health Coverage 2030. It … Read More

Update from #WHA72: It’s Time to Be Impatient, to Achieve Health Equity

Dr. Vanessa KerryBlog, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing

We live in an extraordinary time. With increasing speed, technology innovations have transformed our world and expanded our horizons in ways that were previously unimaginable. Growing up, the clicking of the typewriter keys and the distinctive ding at the end of each line formed the soundtrack to my homework sessions. Nowadays, I dictate notes and messages to my phone which are then sent into the world. Whereas my parents’ generation previously relied on the assistance of operators to make long distance phone calls, they can now easily communicate with their grandchildren, loved ones, and colleagues across continents through video chat, WhatsApp, and Skype. Innovation is happening rapidly and enhancing lives daily. Yet, in 2019, this innovation is still not transforming lives evenly. Entire communities and populations are being left behind from this digital age. They are being left behind. Period. … Read More