Global Health on ABC Nightline News
The Global Health Program was featured on ABC's Nightline in a two-part series. "Saving Newborns in War-Torn Liberia” follows Mount Sinai trainees as they provide life-saving care and "Miracle Babies" focuses on Global Health’s work in Mozambique.
Dr. Andy Sechler trains a new generation of midwives in the life-giving techniques of “Helping Babies Breathe,” developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics
Part One – “Saving Newborns in War-Torn Liberia”
In early November of 2011, ABC’s Cynthia McFadden travelled to Liberia and Mozambique with ABC’s Nightline to follow two teams from Mount Sinai Global Health.
In Liberia television crews highlighted work by residents Andy Sechler (PGY-4S, Medicine, Pediatrics) and Torian Easterling (PGY-5S Chief Preventive Medicine). The two provided care to some of the country’s most vulnerable patients and training to its current and future teams of healthcare providers. Mount Sinai’s work in Liberia’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) Hospital in Monrovia is part of a collaboration with the Health Education and Relief Through Teaching (HEARTT) Foundation. Founded in 2006 by native Liberian Dr. James Sirleaf, the foundation assists under-developed communities with the development of fully functioning and sustainable healthcare systems by providing healthcare relief and educational services.
Liberia, a small country in West Africa, is steadily climbing back from a devastating 15-year civil war that all but obliterated the country’s healthcare infrastructure. In the late 1980s there were about 500 Liberian physicians for 3 million people whereas in today’s post-war reality there are now only approximately 120. So complete were the civil war losses that up until only a few years ago, there was not a single pediatrician left in all of the country. JFK hospital also suffered, and only within the last five years did running water and electricity return to its wards.
With Dr. Wvannie MacDonald at the helm, and the Dr. Sirleaf’s HEARTT Foundation, the hospital is laying the foundations for a budding Liberian healthcare framework. Via HEARTT, up to 70 American doctors a year take turns serving and teaching at JFK. Teams come from nearly two dozen top medical schools in the US, including the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Part Two – “Miracle Babies”
The Mozambique segment, titled “Miracle Babies”, aired on December 27th, features Mount Sinai Global Health Training faculty Drs. Anu Anadaraja and Sigrid Hahn.
Mozambique, in the southeastern region of Africa, has high prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS and malaria. Maternal-child health concerns also weigh heavily on the country’s health system, particularly for the large proportion of the population living in rural areas. Mozambique also lacks adequate health infrastructures, and suffers from a shortage of trained health care workers, with a total of only 514 physicians and 6,183 nurses in the country.
Mount Sinai Global Health works with a unique partnership between the Carr Foundation and the Government of Mozambique that is working to restore and protect the Gorongosa National Park as a way to bring development to the area. The project includes addressing health infrastructure needs and implementing complementary public health and environmental programs.
Over the past few years, there has been a growing interest in the idea of environmental management as a way to improve human health. The ecosystem approach to health considers how human health and wellbeing are influenced by the complex interplay between socioeconomic, political, and in particular, environmental issues. In many communities, direct links can be drawn between practices that compromise the environment and those that negatively impact human health. Creative solutions can address environmental and health concerns simultaneously.