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Newsletter: June 2016
No. 5

 
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Dr. Fynn, we deeply apologize for the misspelling of your name.  You are very dear to Tom and the PMMI team and we hope this error does not reflect negatively on our appreciation of you.  Thank you for your continued support of PMMI and it was a great honor to have you at the Safari Five Conference.  Below is the corrected newsletter.

Africa Partners and Safari Five Conference

 

At the beginning of June, Tom Petersen, PMMI’s CEO, and Kevin Mapes, PMMI’s president, attended the Safari Five Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Safari Five is an annual conference hosted by Africa Partners, a network of passionate men and women focused on supporting Africa-based service projects. Africa Partners holds Safari Five to bring together organizations and individuals working to improve the lives of African people.

The conference agenda includes workshops and presentations that explore best practices for serving Africa. This year, Kevin had the opportunity to present PMMI’s current work in Africa alongside Drs. Lewis Roberts and Edward Fynn—both long-time supporters of PMMI dedicated to improving medical care in Africa.

 

Dr. Lewis Roberts, Safari Five 2016

Dr. Lewis Roberts

Dr. Roberts, a Ghana native, now currently lives in Rochester, Minnesota where he works as a Professor of Medicine and Consultant in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic. His research includes improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of hepatitis and liver cancer in Africa. He has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the AGA Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition. He also serves as the president for Africa Partners Medical.

During Kevin’s presentation, Dr. Roberts took part in the following Q&A session:


Q:  What drew you to get involved with PMMI? 
A: I have been collaborating with Tom Petersen over many years with Africa Partners Medical. When Tom began speaking about this idea of PMMI, I thought about how much this met the need of providing a safe location to provide primary health screenings and care.
 
Q. Why is it so difficult to provide quality health care in underprivileged countries? 
A. It is so difficult because of direct funding. It takes a large amount of financial resources to be able to bring a community to the standards of Western medicine that many take for granted.
 
Q. How do you anticipate PMMI can overcome these difficulties? 
A: PMMI can overcome some of these financial obstacles by providing a low-cost alternative for a health clinic. In many African countries, construction of a new ‘brick and mortar’ clinic can take up to two years (and sometimes more). With PMMI, you do not have to wait for construction. The clinic can be quickly positioned in a desired location, connected to utilities, and opened to see patients.

Q. In underserved countries, how could tracking a patient’s health history using EMR software improve his or her treatment? 
A. This historical patient data is missing in today’s primary care in developing countries. For example, the ability to screen and track an individual’s hepatitis exposure can help when diagnosing adult liver cancer. With the appropriate screening and historical information, diagnosis and treatment of liver cancer in adult men can be greatly improved and lives can be saved.

Q. In what ways might the Ebola crisis have gone differently if PMMI had a fleet of operating clinics across sub-saran Africa?
A. The answer to this question is similar to the previous one.  The ability to provide necessary screenings, and retain the data, gives a better perspective on the incidence of all types of diseases from Malaria, Zika, or Ebola. With this type of access and documentation of health care will greatly increase early detection of life threatening diseases, allowing health experts implement measures that minimize the risk of them spreading.


 
Get Involved

For more information about PMMI, including information about clinic sponsorship and employment opportunities for medical professionals please contact Eva Bammes, Director of Networking at ebamm@primarymobilemed.com.

Also, please visit us at: www.primarymobilemed.com
 

Q & A:
Kevin Mapes, President of PMMI


Q: What is one major take-away idea you obtained from Safari Five? How do you plan on implementing it at PMMI?

A: One important take away from the Safari Five conference is we must value the relationships that are created in Africa, and foster them to understand the site specific, person specific needs. This is why we develop a project specific portfolio that is based on a specific site and person. In that capacity we can determine what all the educational, structural, and logistical needs are for a project to be completed successfully, while providing sustainability.  


Q: What role do individuals like Dr. Roberts play in PMMI’s ability to serve Africa?

A: Practically, an individual such as Dr. Roberts brings expertise in a specific medical field and an understanding of how to avoid obstacles in the context of a particular culture. Holistically, they provide guidance and structure to the implementation of health screening and primary care that can further benefit underserved populations.


Q: How can PMMI use the experience it gains from working in Africa for projects in other countries?

A: Health care is universal, both in need and in struggles to deliver. Certainly every country is different, but embracing our long history in Africa, has given us the opportunity to define a model that mitigates some of the obstacles for improving access to health care with the value added benefit of making available pertinent medical data for population health studies.
 
 

 
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