Identifying Area's of Special Need
Possibly the most critical step in establishing a new project is the process of establishing an Area of Special Need or ASN. Getting this right ensures health services are delivered to the most vulnerable patient populations in an area of interest. Read on to discover how we determine the status of an area.
Establishing real poverty
Poverty, and its extreme, is often poorly understood in countries that have escaped the cycle of poverty. We experience its impact each day in the Philippines, and each day, it breaks your heart. Children crammed in to small shacks with leaking roofs, no shoes and threadbare clothes, crowded around their pregnant mother who is often no older than 25.
Her husband may or may not secure work today, which rarely equates to more than 300 pesos or $5 to feed a family of six or more. If he is indigent then they resort to eating plants. Many men simply walk away, leaving their young families adrift. Real poverty lives here.
Areas affected by rampant poverty pose unique challenges. Data is usually scant and unreliable in these populations, with high levels of transient residents. Identifying key stakeholders is therefor crucial to the process of accurately identifying the placement of health services. Experience has taught us that our most valuable partners reside within these communities.
Health & Census Data
Often, the only "reliable" source of useful data is provided by local health care workers and groups, government funded or otherwise and as a last resort, census data, which, if not recent (two years) can paint a deceptive picture. Local councils also offer a wealth of information, but can prove reticent to assist in a process which they perceive as a potential threat to their own services. Tact, diplomacy and potential partnership arrangements can overcome these concerns.
Responsibility for the management of of the villages clustered under one council is often delegated to elected officials within each village, with their own law enforcement and unofficial "mayors". In the Philippines these villages are referred to as barangays.
Engaging with these officials and each village's health care system offers the most accurate snapshot of poverty in an area. The same is true in most third world countries, where scant resources are usually withheld from these communities. and in lieu therof they are allowed a deveolved system of self governance.
Geographic & Infrastructure challenges
No where is the adage "build it and they will come" more inappropriate. Impoverished areas often lack even the most basic of infrastructure with bridges, roads and public transport either totally absent or poorly maintained. It is therefor of critical importance to consider these factors when situating a clinic. Care needs to be taken to the people, rather than established in areas where access can prove challenging.
A Global Invitation
We would like to issue an open invitation to people across the globe to assist us in identifying ASN's that would benefit from our care delivery model. We are eager to establish partnerships in country and will consider requests from anywhere. To contact us regarding this, please fill in the form linked to below.