Sunday, June 25, 2017

COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER NETWORK
Healing Hands of Gambia / Terms of Involvement
Letter to our Community Partners in the Gambia

Dear Community Members:

Healing Hands of Gambia, Inc. ® is an American non-profit organization which is also lawfully registered as an NGO in the Gambia .. Our goal is to improve the health and well-being of the population by providing excellent health care and medications right in your community. We are planning to accomplish this by building and managing a network of Community Health Centers in the Gambia which are connected by mobile clinics, which will also venture out deeply into the provinces and reach those people who are unable to get to any kind of medical care.

We would like to become involved with the health care in your community and take care of your medical needs. This means that we will be managing a Community Health Center right in your midst. We believe that this will vastly improve your lives.

First, however, there are a few points we need to make sure are understood, our Terms of Involvement:

  1. Our involvement and participation are a service we are bringing to your community of our own free will and for the simple reason that we feel that it is not fair that people in our part of the world have so many health options while too many of you have few or none. Working together, we will surely find a way to improve the conditions in your community. We expect your community members to work with us and to contribute with their own actions to improving conditions for everyone.
  2. We will likely undertake some renovations of existing buildings and structures. These may include simple improvements and repairs such as painting and patching up existing walls to major improvements such as the building of a perimeter fence or the erection of brand-new buildings. These renovations will occur in a step-by-step fashion, and you will be fully informed of any plans and developments.
  3. Healing Hands of Gambia will charge a reasonable registration fee for each medical visit which will include all needed medications. A registration will be necessary at every visit, as this will also allow us to keep good and complete medical records on every patient which is essential for providing good medical care. This registration fee flows immediately back into your health center and helps to pay for overhead, upkeep and even medications.
  4. Medicine and medical intervention is meant to heal the sick and allow them to recover to an active live. Sometimes, however, with the best of intentions this is not possible and people may not get well, no matter what we do and how hard we try. We need your community to have faith in us and understand that we always have your best interest at heart and will never intentionally place anyone in jeopardy. If any mistakes are ever made, we will take all necessary steps to correct them and make sure that the same mistakes do not happen again. No matter what, we must always be able to work peacefully together to correct any problems.
  5. We need you to understand and be willing to accept that there may be times when we will not agree with each other. We have relationships with donors (who supply the biggest portion of the money needed to run the health center), doctors, governments and other individuals or organizations that may go beyond your community. These relationships cannot be placed in jeopardy, as they are essential for us to be able to continue our operations. Again, we need your community to trust that we will act in your best interest, and, of course, we will be happy to discuss any and all concerns with you.
  6. The health center in your community is and will remain YOUR health center in the sense that it stands in your community and serves its members. However, we need you to understand that it must be managed in a medically safe and professional way which will be done by our professional staff. But, we do want your input and feedback. In order for this to happen in a manageable way, we would like every one of the communities we work with to elect a Community Board. If you already have in place a Village Development Committee, this committee can take over this function as one of its many responsibilities. The discussions between the Community Board and our Administrator/General Manager will then be relayed to our Executive Officers and Board of Directors in the United States who will decide if and how to act on the issues brought up, unless the situation can be handled by our Administrator/General Manager himself. Our main concern is that we truly want your community to have input in your health center and to help us manage it in such a way that you are happy with the care you receive.
  7. The back-bone of the medical staff active in your community will be made up of local, mostly Gambian nurses and doctors. However, they will be supported and supervised by our physician staff in the United States who will participate in providing medical care every couple of months. We will bring general practitioners, specialists and other staff with us at regular intervals who will help diagnose, treat and teach, whatever is needed, as well as exchange ideas with the Gambian medical staff. In the future, there will also be advanced medical students and doctors-in-training from the United States and several European countries as well as from the University of the Gambia , School of Medicine, who will participate in the care of your community under our strict supervision.
  8. It is our goal to provide an ambulance vehicle which can transfer seriously ill patients to the necessary referral hospitals for every one of the communities we work with. At this time it is not clear when your vehicle will be available, but we will inform you of any developments as soon as possible.
  9. In case we encounter insurmountable problems in our attempt to work together, we will have to decide upon an exit strategy with your Community Board. Reasons for considering such a step might be that we may experience a shortage of personnel, supplies or donated money or that we may encounter irreconcilable differences in philosophy on how the health center should be managed. Although we hope that this will not happen, we would then have to discuss the situation with our Executive Officers and Board of Directors in the United States and would likely remove our investment from the health center which would then be returned to your community or the Gambian government, whichever the case may be.

On behalf of our entire Executive Staff and Board of Directors, I am extending my hand to you. We are looking forward to working with you and serving your community for many years to come.

With best regards,

Dr. Ingrid Feder Sidibeh
President & Chief Executive Officer
Healing Hands of Gambia, Inc.

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