January 28, 2011

Tangible Results in Egypt after Two Years of Program Development

Imagine going into the doctor’s office at 7 a.m., sitting in the waiting room with 60 other patients and their families. If you’re one of the lucky few, you’ll be among the first five patients seen by the doctor. If you happen to be a part of the majority, you could wait for more than 16 hours just to see the doctor.

This may be difficult to imagine here in the United States, but in Egypt, this is a reality. Erika Linnander, associate director for the Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI) at Yale, sat down with me to explain the role of GHLI’s program in Egypt. Cutting waiting times in half was just one of the main accomplishments.
GHLI’s involvement with Egypt began with collaboration between Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a faculty member at GHLI, and Dr. Adel Allam, an Egyptian cardiologist with connections to Yale. Dr. Allam wanted to initiate a study to improve cardiovascular outcomes, and Dr. Krumholz saw this as an opportunity for GHLI to actively drive health care quality improvement in Egypt. Linnander explained how opportunities for potential partnering countries, like Egypt, are evaluated by matching a country’s need to GHLI’s core values.

Linnander and Elizabeth Bradley recently spent four days in Egypt working with the National Bank. She explained that the project has two main goals: to improve quality of care for patients with cardiovascular disease and to improve management systems to make sure that hospitals are working well over the long term.  Based on early successes in Egypt, the team believed that the project could be replicated on a large scale nationally. Linnander and her partners went directly to the Ministry of Health to outline their strategy. The Ministry supported GHLI’s ideas, but wanted to see  how this plan could be implemented. This is where GHLI stepped in by drafting specific details, such as staffing requirements, timelines and budgets.

Linnander explained how testing earlier pilot models for Egypt’s cardiovascular care helped develop a health care management system. The approach to building management systems in Egypt is similar to what’s used in GHLI’s other programs, such as Ethiopia, but is also tailored to Egypt’s unique needs.  

Cutting waiting times in half is only one of the results of GHLI’s program in Egypt. Creating a registry, in collaboration with the National Bank and five local hospitals, helps Linnander and her team acquire data and understand the type of care that patients with heart attacks receive.  This foundation of evidence makes results for GHLI’s program in Egypt, improving quality of care, possible.

Amanda Sorrentino, GHLI Intern

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