18 months ago, we introduced you to a non-profit, World Spine Care, whose mission is to address the needs of spine patients in under-served communities throughout the world.
World Spine Care started a flagship project in the village of Shoshong, Botswana, to identify the best practices to be used in future projects around the world. The purpose of this flagship project was to train locals, along with international volunteers, how to treat the disabling conditions that go along with spine disease.
I asked directors Dr. Scott Haldeman and Dr. Geoff Outerbridge a few questions about how the project is going, and over the next few months, we'll share with our readers what we've learned about this important project, and what you can do to help.
Dr. Haldeman serves on the Veritas Health Medical Advisory Board
Why did you decide to make the first clinic in Shoshong, Botswana?
The ideal communities for the establishment of a new and innovative spine care program is one where there is currently minimal or no available spine care for the majority of the local population, a safe and stable environment for volunteers, a supportive government health care system willing to cooperate in establishing and sustaining a program, and a welcoming community that desires the care.
Botswana satisfied all these criteria and was a perfect starting place.
Although Botswana has a well-established health care system, there is virtually no care for people with spinal disorders beyond that available in major cities to patients with private insurance.
The government is the most trustworthy of any African country, and it has a vision and desire to increase the level of health care to its citizens. A World Spine Care program was introduced in the local hospital, and another primary care clinic in a village that was 40km from the main district hospital. Both facilities were supported by the Botswana Ministry of Health, which allowed for the study of two different populations of people seeking care for spinal pain.
From a volunteer perspective, the country is safe (except for scorpions, tarantulas, and snakes), beautiful, and the people are very friendly.
First and foremost, Veritas Health is partnering with World Spine Care on these blog posts to make people aware of the crippling burden of spinal disorders throughout the world, the complete lack of care in many if not most regions, and the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of the solution.
In our next blog posts focusing on the important work World Spine Care is doing, we'll go into more depth about what Dr. Haldeman and Dr. Outerbridge have learned from this pilot project, and what their vision is going forward.
Visit the World Spine Care website to learn more.