Horizons Clinic Africa Limited, UK
Horizons will provide an example of a high quality properly resourced healthcare facility with excellent working conditions and human resources management structure. The project goal is to reduce maternal mortality and improve maternal health in the Gambia through capacity building, training and targeted improvement of outreach services. Recruiting, improving and retaining high quality health professionals are some of the key elements to capacity building in the Gambia. Horizons’ immediate priority will be in training the trainers (more highly trained and specialised health professionals) and ensuring that there is a programme in place for continued professional development. This will contribute towards the programme of retaining health professionals who currently have to look for post graduate higher education abroad and with little chance of returning home. In addition through its outreach services and links with the district health system, Horizons will maintain a close link to the training, utilisation and management of community and mid-level health professionals.
The major focus of the Horizons’ charitable foundation’s activities will be aimed at capacity building. Training and continued professional education is a key element of this. Horizons will work with the local medical school and nursing colleges to participate in teaching and to offer the Horizon clinic as a centre of excellence for clinical attachment and training for doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Training will be offered in Public health including health services, management and administration. The project will benefit from the Gambian experience in delivering Primary health care and from the number of Gambian Public Health experts who have accumulated experience in international health and development.
The Horizon Foundation will participate in outreach service delivery primarily to build the capacity of district hospital teams through side by side teaching and hands on practical sessions. In addition to enhancing skills transfer, such a venture will contribute to supportive supervision and ensure the maintenance of norms and standards. Key training packages are already planned and preliminary discussions have taken place regarding potential partnerships with British educational institutions such as the University of Aberdeen, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Glasgow Caledonian University School of Nursing Midwifery and Community Health and the faculty of Public Health.
Links to the health workforce crisis
The current health workforce crisis has affected health service delivery and universal coverage in terms of achieving the MDGs. There is an urgent need to scale up education and training, retention, migration and capacity of not only health service providers but also managers and planners. Horizons will encourage increased public / private partnership involvement, links with health professional associations, use of expertise in Aberdeen and other UK institutions to build capacity (service delivery and training), links to international partners and provide advice on training.