The Mapping of Sub Saharan Africa Pediatric Hospitals, and the Assessment on their Capacity to Respond to Public Health Threats

Children are a key constituent of any society.  In the event of national scale-emergencies, hospitals, and medical institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have a standard protocol, capacity to mitigate as well as the resources to ensure children receive the stipulated and adequate care.

November 01, 2019

Children are a key constituent of any society.  In the event of national scale-emergencies, epidemics, and disasters, hospitals, and medical institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have a standard protocol, capacity to immediately mitigate as well as the resources to ensure children receive the stipulated and adequate care.

In August 2018, the Columbia Global Centers Nairobi, in partnership with Prof. P. LaRussa, Prof L. Stanberry, and Prof Wilmot James from Columbia University Medical Center, hosted the PGIF research study dubbed ‘Sub-Saharan African Pediatrics Health Care Leaders’ at the Nairobi Center. The study sought to explore and address where and how children have medically cared in emergency contexts in the region, and thereafter develop a standardized approach to enable institutions to self-evaluate and advocate support for identified gaps within pediatric health care facilities at a national level.  

The meeting allowed the pediatric doctors, from Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Lesotho, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Ghana, Liberia, and Kenya to share their views on emergency child-healthcare, citing their home countries. Thereafter, the representatives developed a standardized model to evaluate, provide recommendations for improvement of existing services, and advocate for additional resources to improve the care of children and adolescents, especially during critical events.  The baseline information generated developed the child-centric Joint External Evaluation (JEE) tool used during the mapping-out of the second of the project-the mapping out of select health institutions in the region to evaluate their protocol standards.  

The second phase of the workshop – the 'Children's Hospitals in Africa Mapping Project (CHAMP) project, funded by the ELMA Foundation and Columbia University, embarked on a mapping survey of children’s hospitals.  The project utilized the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) tool to conduct onsite assessment and recommendations to the respective hospitals on the pediatric emergency protocol. To date, CHAMP has completed 15 of the envisioned 24 project site visits. Thus far, the project is using data to gain an understanding of overall hospital capacities to care for children. In addition to the identification of network-wide interventions, CHAMP projects the survey tool will be adapted by individual institutions to assess their preparedness and advocate for identified additional support and championing enhanced pediatric care in the region.