Alegent Health, Omaha, Neb., has developed long-term partnerships with health organizations in Tanzania and Latvia. "Alegent Health’s mission statement talks about caring for the poor and underserved," said Ron Fought, a chief nursing executive at Alegent and team leader for the Latvian partnership. "We’ve just extended that mission outside our immediate community."
Fought and Bob Kasworm, a system support services executive who is team leader for the Tanzania partnership, agree that quick fixes are not an option in either country. The medical systems in Tanzania and Latvia struggle with systematic and cultural issues, compounded by intense poverty, that are beyond what one partnership can correct. Instead, Alegent focuses on small steps that can yield substantial results.
- Alegent is helping Hospital Buldurhi in the city of Jurmala develop opportunities to generate private funding, such as establishing a foundation and a retail pharmacy.
- Hospital and local government officials from Jurmala have visited Alegent facilities twice.
- Last year, seven Alegent nurses spent 15 days working at Hospital Buldurhi, and five Latvian nurses did
the same at Alegent facilities.
- This year, Alegent hopes to launch a program through which Latvian nurses would receive three years of training and work experience at an Alegent hospital.
- Alegent has collected medical equipment and supplies that will ship to Hospital Buldurhi this year.
"These international partnerships are not just a one-way street for donations, but partnerships in which both parties receive value," said Kasworm. "Every Alegent employee who gets involved in these efforts finds that their understanding of health care and outlook on life are changed."
- In January, a team of Alegent health professionals spent 16 days visiting health facilities in the northern part of Tanzania. The team, which included nurses, pharmacists and administrators, developed plans for future interactions with a partner hospital in the town of Machame.