A New Model for Global Health

A New Model for Global Health

Global health requires a keen eye for the greatest needs, and creative solutions to meet those needs. Frank Anderson, a clinical associate professor of health behavior and health education at U-M SPH and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the U-M Medical School, is the leader of a project, 1000+OBGYNS, that goes above and beyond those criteria. The goal of the project—a partnership between U-M and major universities and teaching hospitals in Ghana—is to protect the health of mothers and babies in sub-Saharan Africa, where over one million newborn deaths and 300,000 maternal deaths were reported in 2013. These are among the highest birth-related mortality rates in the world.

But they needn’t be. When doctors have access to best practices and advanced training in obstetrics and  gynecology, Anderson says, many birth-related deaths are preventable. That’s why he and his project team want to train 1,000 new OB/GYNs in sub-Saharan Africa in the next ten years and measure the impact on maternal and perinatal mortality. To date the team has trained and retained over 140 OBGYNs in Ghana, leading to improved outcomes throughout the country.

Anderson and his colleagues seek to replicate this “Michigan Model” with academic partnerships between African and American institutions in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The project team has also provided a series of free collections related to OB/GYN practice on the project website, 1000obgyns.org, and they plan to distribute complete website content on USB drives to OB/GYNs throughout sub-Saharan Africa and to make content available on local wireless networks. “Every country deserves robust, well-functioning obstetrics and gynecology departments that can train people and provide leadership,” says Anderson. “What we’re proposing can be replicated anywhere and with any discipline.”

—Peggy Korpela