Instead of just shaking our heads and agreeing that yes, the situation is terribly sad, we were inspired to set up a foundation to take action - Building Healthcare for Humanity. Our mission is to improve healthcare infrastructure in developing countries and our vision is to empower local populations to develop self-sustainable healthcare facilities by providing education and hands-on training in progressive design and appropriate construction techniques.
Governments around the world are acknowledging the need to provide and support healthcare, spurring a growing focus on improving access to quality medical care, particularly in developing areas. A key component of improving healthcare quality is to improve facilities and infrastructure - properly designed and constructed healthcare facilities are crucial for successful healthcare delivery.
The challenges associated with improving healthcare in low income/low resource areas are legion. At-risk populations frequently lack access to clean water, reliable power and functional sanitation systems. These limitations, combined with rampant poverty, societal, governmental and environmental instability create a “perfect storm” of preventable illness, injury and mortality in populations least equipped to help themselves.
Touring the various hospitals in Ethiopia was a sobering experience for us. Most of the facilities were in poor condition, shockingly so by US standards, and many were in various states of disrepair seemingly with little hope of ever improving.