Child Family Health International (cfhi.org) is a global family of committed professionals and students who work at the grassroots level to promote the health of the world community.
Health For All
Basic healthcare for all of the world’s people has been a dream for many generations. A concerted effort was made in 1978 when health, development, and political groups came together in the town of Alma Ata to express the idea that basic primary healthcare could be achieved for all the world’s population by the year 2000.
We Must Each do Our Part
As we know, that did not happen. We have, however, made great progress and we can easily do more. It is important for us not to be distracted by the incurable diseases, outbreaks, and pandemics of our day. Granted, they must each be addressed and resources need to be dedicated to their eradication. It is easy for us to jump from one of these events to another, as they are often novel and captivate the news cycles. The reality of basic healthcare is that it is not novel. The same issues are still before us, and it is sometimes hard to focus on the issues we have been living with for decades when the latest pandemic is so prominent in the news. This must not, however, pull us away from the work that can be done right now to provide basic access to healthcare for millions of people who do not have it, provide clean water and sanitation, and promote health by empowering communities with important and life-saving knowledge and practices.
Also Helps for Diseases and Pandemics
If we are able to improve access to health and provide basic healthcare to all people we also create the linkages that can be very effective in dealing with outbreaks and possible pandemics. Having the pathways of care in place provides the channels for awareness, prevention and, if necessary, testing and treatment.
The Work of CFHI
Each NGO, each country and, in fact, each person can do something to promote health for all, and when we all pull together in a concerted effort, the outcomes can be amazing to behold.
As an NGO, CFHI is not large, but our reach is broad. CFHI currently works in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Mexico, South Africa, Uganda and the Philippines. In each of these countries, we find urban and rural underserved populations. We seek out the health professionals who are committed to serving these underserved communities, and who are also willing to share their expertise with students. These grassroots health professionals are doctors and nurses who do amazing things every day to manage large numbers of people in resource-poor settings. Their ingenuity and dedication make the difference for those they serve. They are truly the experts in meeting the needs of their people. This expertise and the resilience of these communities become an exceptionally rich environment of learning for future medical professionals.
CFHI brings medical students, pre-medical students, nursing, public health, pharmacy, and other students to these communities to learn by shadowing these local experts. We help the local professionals to be effective preceptors for the students, and we invite local families to host the students so that a complete immersion into the culture can take place. This provides an often threefold immersion experience -culture, language, and healthcare system. A different healthcare system can be as foreign as a different language, and many of our students tell us that this firsthand exposure to Global Health at the grassroots level provided them with life-changing insights, and in many cases, helped them make fundamental decisions about the direction of their careers. One survey of CFHI alumni found that 37% of respondents reported that their CFHI experience either somewhat or significantly impacted the decisions they made about their careers.
Read more about Global Health Immersion Programs and the model of CFHI.