International Outreach

Partnering to Strengthen Health Systems

In much of the developing world, people have little access to health care — no clinics, no hospitals, no doctors, no medicine. Catholic health care organizations can most effectively strengthen what, if any, systems exist by working collaboratively with an organization dedicated full-time to development and capacity building. CHA recommends working with Catholic Relief Services to learn if there are any potential points of collaboration in any host country. Or, alternatively, working with any existing ministries (health, education) operated by communities of women and men religious. There are local parishes, Catholic Medical Mission Board and many others already doing activities with whom you can partner to strengthen a health system.

Education & Training

One of the goals of any international mission program is to build capacity in a host country enabling the community served to ultimately become self-supporting. Training new, local community health workers and assisting in the continuing education of local health professionals is also very important work. Because training needs and cultural sensitivities differ markedly from country to country and community to community, training should be customized and thus requires a significant commitment of time and resources.

Technical Assistance/Consultation

Providing hospital/clinic management consulting services to a partner in a host country can result in significant and lasting change. Short-term consulting engagements such as feasibility studies or hospital operations assessments, overseeing a strategic planning process, or providing board development assistance are also international outreach activities. Due to the complex infrastructures that are often required for training or consulting, it is recommended that individual hospitals or health systems offer the services of individual volunteers to organizations with full-time people in country rather than attempting to develop or implement their own programs.