Working in the field of global health has been a passion of mine since my wife, Melanie, and I served on a medical mission in the Dominican Republic many years ago. I saw first-hand the need to increase the quality of health care provided to women in other countries. All women require access to quality health care no matter where they live, and training and educating health workers is key to ensuring that care is available.
The World Health Organization reports that almost all (99 percent) of the nearly 300,000 maternal deaths every year occur in developing countries. Two of the most common cancers affecting women – breast and cervical cancers – are of growing global concern. These alarming statistics are what make our partnership with Health Volunteer Overseas (HVO) so important. For nearly 30 years, HVO has empowered health care professionals in resource-scarce countries with knowledge and skills to address the health care needs of their communities.
As HVO launches a new program in obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN), ACOG will provide essential support. With the expertise of ACOG’s membership, HVO can better answer the many requests for assistance it receives from around the world to provide teaching and training in gynecologic and obstetric health topics. We are excited for the new obstetrics and gynecology committee to meet later this month where we will discuss some exciting projects.
One active project is taking place in Kathmandu, Nepal at the Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital (BCH). There, HVO volunteers will contribute to the development and implementation of a structured surgical gynecologic oncology training program. Volunteers will work with BCH staff to develop a gynecologic oncology curriculum for both didactic and clinical skills, and provide surgical and didactic training to BCH gynecologic oncologists.
Yes, ACOG is our country’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. However, it’s also imperative to engage our members and provide direct opportunities to serve, educate and advocate for women’s health on a global level.
Are you ready to volunteer with HVO? Learn more about the obstetrics and gynecology program.