The health of a nation’s population rests on factors such as the availability and accessibility of care, quality training for medical providers, and public policies that promote healthy behavior. Atlantic helped Viet Nam, South Africa, and Cuba address those and other needs through its grantmaking. For example:
In Viet Nam, Atlantic helped build or renovate hospitals in major cities as well as 940 community health clinics in eight provinces resulting in significant improvements in primary care for nine million Vietnamese. It also supported efforts to win passage of a new law requiring motorbike riders to wear helmets, which led to a dramatic drop in injuries and deaths. It also helped set up a factory to manufacture the helmets.
In South Africa, Atlantic supported programs to train and place health care professionals where they could best provide for the primary care needs of South Africans – especially in rural areas. It also supported advocates to force the government to make antiretroviral medicine available to people with HIV/AIDS.
In Cuba—a nation struggling to do a lot with a little—Atlantic’s grants helped provide additional resources needed to deliver the best possible health care to all citizens.
What We Learned From This Work
Investments in hospitals and clinics will only take a nation so far in helping to improve the health of its population. The doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who staff them must be properly trained to deliver quality care.
To instill a culture of health, it is important to invest in and support leaders and advocates who will be responsible for promoting policies and practices that result in better health outcomes for people.
When working on reforming a nation’s health care system, it is important to make government a co-funder at the start to ensure that public support for the work continues after the private funding ends.
Building for the Future
Strength in Numbers
Atlantic’s grants to Viet Nam’s Ha Noi School of Public Health supported development of its first four-year bachelor’s degree program in public health as well as a doctoral program. Over the years, the school conferred more than 1,700 bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees on graduates.
Making it Better
Atlantic investments helped improve education for students attending Havana-based Latin American Medical School (ELAM). The world’s largest medical school, ELAM specializes in training doctors, most from developing countries, to practice in underserved communities in their home countries.
A Healthy Boost
Atlantic support for South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign resulted in the government substantially increasing public spending on HIV/AIDs and pressuring pharmaceutical companies to lower the price of antiretrovirals.
Here’s Who’s Helping Write the Next Chapter in This Continuing Story