Improving Developing Country Health Systems Through the Spirit of Volunteerism

Posted by Leslie Rowe
April 22, 2014
Dr. Vanessa Kerry Smiles Before Delivering Remarks at the Global Health Speaker Series

The Secretary’s Office of Global Health Diplomacy welcomed Dr. Vanessa Kerry for the third event in our Global Health Speakers Series earlier today. Dr. Kerry described the origins of SEED Global Health, the private collaborator in the public-private partnership between the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and Peace Corps Response to send American physicians and nurses abroad as Response Volunteers.

Dr. Kerry shared compelling stories of these dedicated men and women  -- some of them returned Peace Corps Volunteers, some of them experienced academics and clinicians, and some of them more recently graduated -- who are wrapping up a first dynamic year of service in schools of medicine and nursing in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. Because each of them is linked to a local faculty counterpart, and will be followed by several more years of similarVolunteers, they are contributing to lasting improvements in quality and capacity of health provider education...vital work that directly contributes to the emphasis on sustainability and enhanced country ownership that are critical priorities for the Secretary’s Office of Global Health Diplomacy.

This exciting Global Health Service Partnership also addresses innovation and cost-effectiveness by using the existing Peace Corps platform to support Volunteers in the field and a non-profit partner linked with an academic medical center for the critical technical screening and support of these specialized Volunteers.  PEPFAR contributes funding to increase the number of well trained nurses and clinicians providing care.

I was honored to welcome Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom who introduced Dr. Kerry, and was gratified by the show of interest and support from leadership throughout the bureaus and offices at the Department of State including Secretary Kerry, Ambassador Birx the U.S.  Global AIDS Coordinator, and our colleagues and friends from the Peace Corps, CDC, DoD, USAID and the NGO community.

About the Author: Ambassador Leslie Rowe serves as Acting Special Representative in the Office of Global Health Diplomacy.

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