PQMD Announces Three Year Initiative
Developing Best-Practice Guidelines for Medical Missions to Strengthen and Sustain Local Health Systems
On May 5, 2016, the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD) launched the PQMD Healthcare System Strengthening/Medical Mission Initiative (PQMD HSS/MM). This PQMD Initiative is a major effort to explore shortcomings of current practices in Medical Mission work and to design and develop guidelines that better connect quality Medical Missions, foreign medical teams, and medical volunteers with the needs and priorities of national healthcare systems. In addition, the initiative aims to create a coalition of organizations, experts, institutions, and individuals that will be a consultative group to continuously update information, share knowledge and innovation, and keep guidance relevant and valuable to all those involved.
PQMD recognizes that Medical Missions provide clinical service, training, and medical research – often for the benefit of populations that might not otherwise have access to adequate care. However, Medical Missions are often considered to be band-aid solutions and not in sync with priorities of the Ministry of Health, or longer-term health needs of the country. Medical Missions are also accused of not being cost effective or culturally sensitive. These concerns indicate a significant need to clarify focus and intent, and to ensure that Medical Missions, to and from any country, are a part of (and coordinate with) the overall strategy to strengthen and sustain local health systems.
The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private-sector firms that make up the membership of PQMD have extensive experience with donating and supplying medical products, devices, and health services to country-wide programs and medical missions. In many cases, they have also implemented programs themselves: from fielding medical teams for humanitarian assistance and emergency response; providing large-scale donations of life saving drug vaccines, equipment, and devices; supporting lab and health systems infrastructure; materials, training and capacity building; and a broad range of expertise to assist with global health needs.
PQMD is also the author of annual guidelines that inform and direct on best practices in drug, device and service donations. With this experience and its robust member base, PQMD is uniquely positioned to build and deliver an additional set of guidelines focused on bringing Medical Missions in more close alignment with national health systems. PQMD has and will continue to seek the input of all organizations, experts, NGOs, agencies, universities, and institutions involved with Medical Missions in order to ensure that they will have the greatest impact possible.
If you have questions or are interested in being a contributor to the PQMD Healthcare System Strengthening/Medical Mission initiative, please contact PQMD at Contact@PQMD.org.