Our philosophy is best illustrated in the context of the directions we have taken and our reasoning underlying those choices. Here are some examples.>
Filling Resource Gaps – We have chosen the diagnostic gap as the best basis for our daily operations, since that solution offers immediate, numerous benefits to the population across the board with a few relatively simple developments. We have chosen to establish diagnostic facilities rather than to distribute equipment to multiple recipients who may find the equipment difficult to maintain in the existing conditions of health care. Our centers will provide services with dignity, compassion and competence.
Avoiding Redundancy – We make every effort to find existing pieces to solutions rather than re-create what already exists. We believe most aspects of Africa’s solutions exist in some form, and that some of these solutions are completed if only the pieces can be brought together. With diagnostics as the daily meat and potatoes of the operation, this philosophy compels us and others to make excellent use of our Inroad Center, whereby space, staff, and pre-formed partnerships in each operational region are dedicated to creating international linkages rather than re-developing what others have already established.
Linkages – Our emphasis on linkages extends from the international realm to the grassroots level in each operational area. Initiatives are designed to link providers to external agencies and colleagues, to link providers to their patients, and to link providers and patients to diagnostic resources.
Partnerships and Collaborations – HealthLink for Africa recognizes that it cannot operate as a freestanding entity. We do not expect to superimpose solutions over African problems, or to address them in any way without a thorough understanding of the cold, hard facts of African realities. We believe every initiative should be designed to enhance African strengths, rather than supplant them. To this end, we are committed to continual partnering and collaboration with area non-governmental community-based and grassroots organizations in our service areas. These partnerships will help to address the unique problems of each community and culture. Partnerships with providers, and for some programs directly with patients, will maximize outreach into the community.
Integrity – We recognize that the introduction of new technology and skills into any area might equate to the transfer of altogether new standards of practice. For example, the medical records initiative involves a new way of doing business for most African doctors and cannot be implemented without significant training and written assurances regarding confidentiality and related ethical issues. HealthLink for Africa must be thorough and patient in transferring these new standards. There is a strong ethics component included in the orientation program for providers and other partners considering affiliation with HealthLink for Africa International.
Long-Lived Impact/Short-Term Dependence – HealthLink for Africa strives in all efforts to make choices that assure long-lasting benefits and short-lived dependence. In essence, we work in the hopes that we will soon be obsolete. The sooner our developments become entrenched and can be handed over to local management and directors, the happier we are.