In a spotlight interview with the University of Chicago, Jaymie Henry shares her perspective and passion regarding the need for essential surgeries in developing countries.
Watch the interview here:
In a spotlight interview with the University of Chicago, Jaymie Henry shares her perspective and passion regarding the need for essential surgeries in developing countries.
Watch the interview here:
Edna Adan Ismail was determined to build a hospital in resource-poor Somaliland, a region scarred by decades of colonialism, military dictatorship, and civil war. After the civil war, Somaliland was left with a lack of adequate hospital and surgical equipment and an abundance of victims in need of amputations.
International organizations such as the WHO, however, prioritized preventive health care and medicine . It was later realized that surgery was a necessary component of preventive care and has substantial impact in a patient's life course. A supreme example would be a child with a repaired cleft lip and palate avoiding early childhood malnutrition.
Having been born in British Somaliland to a physician, Edna Adan would often follow her father around in the hospital he worked in. From these experiences, she understood the importance of health care from a very young age. After years of hard work, Edna Adan became a nurse and a midwife. Fortunate to have the breadth of experience both nationally and internationally from her position as the first lady of Somaliland, she decided that she was going to build a maternity hospital. After working with the patients in her hospital, her perspective on preventive care changed. She states:
I am a great believer in preventive and public health, but reality has taught me that today’s emergency needs a solution today. You cannot have only medical services—there’s got to be medical and surgical facilities. The role of surgery in the health system of any nation is crucial because it is not an option that we can either take or leave. Most of it are life-preserving interventions. It’s an important part of health care.
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Transformation in Somaliland: Edna Adan Maternity Hospital
This week, for the first time ever, The World Health Assembly held a special side event to specifically address the lack of essential surgery to the low income countries around the world. Member countries from around the globe gathered to create strategies to start saving lives.
Today is the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. Obstetric fistula is one of the single most shocking examples of the disparate access to simple surgical care around the world- a medieval disease we don't hear about here in the US or other developed nations. For example, the NYC Waldorf-Astoria now occupies the space where the last fistula hospital in New York stood. Fistula has been all but eliminated in the United States - the last official case was in the 19th century.
The WHA side event and today's International Day to End Obstetric Fistula call to attention one of the most important issues facing us as a community today: Why are women still dying, and becoming injured, from simply bearing children? As reported at the WHA this week:
We are happy to report that The Right to Heal is on the forefront of the active pursuit to bring awareness to these issues. We have screened at over 25 institutions in 6 countries including the WHO,UN, and the UK parliament. In addition, several of our partners (Kupona Foundation, Lifebox and ICES) all have concrete actions we can take to help. See their blog posts here:
Fistula is treatable by Kupona
International Day to End Fistula by ICES
We've screened the film at Johns Hopkins before, but the recent screening and panel at Johns Hopkins was an important step forward. In conjunction with Global Health Day, the latest event at Johns Hopkins drew a significant crowd, and attracted the input of many key players in the global health community.
Among the items of discussion:
We've been approached by people who have stumbled upon our website, or seen the film at a screening. They may have heard about us from one of our events, or been referred by some of our partners. In every case, they are moved by the message of The Right to Heal and they all ask the same questions.
What are the next steps?
What can I do to help?
There is something compelling about the stories in The Right to Heal. The film moves people to want to be involved. When you see Priscilla's smile, and the waning pain it is replacing in her heart, it's little wonder that the cry for help is answered.
Early last year, a student from Wisconsin found our website asked if there was anything she could do to help. What we did was to set up a screening at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Motivated only by the desire to help the mission of The Right to Heal and ICES: to make essential surgery available to every citizen on the planet, a group of students independently raised the money for the venue, refreshments, organized a panel of experts, promoted the event and invited the attendees to participate on their own.
There is a human face behind the issues of global health. It is difficult to understand what figures mean, like 2 billion people without access to healthcare or even the shocking statistic of almost 800 women dying every day in childbirth. However, when you actually SEE a survivor of obstructed labor, and hear the voice of an injured child, it motivates you.
See the film yourself to discover what we mean.
Wherever we screen the film, we're used to seeing increased enthusiasm and support for the cause of making surgery available to all people. However, last week in the United Kingdom, The Right to Heal made huge strides. After screening the film in Belfast (see blog post here) on April 2, we screened the film at the UK Parliament.
Hosting the event at the House of Parliament were Lord Ribeiro, Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global Health and Baroness Jenny Tonge, Chair of the APPG on Population, Development and Reproductive Health.
At the conclusion of the film, many important topics were discussed by a panel consisting of Dr Jaymie Ang-Henry, Director and Executive Producer of ‘The Right to Heal’ and Executive Director, ICES; Mr Michael Cotton, Chair, ICES; and Dr Iain Wilson, Past President, Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland and Board Member, Lifebox Foundation.
The panel introduced the philosophy behind the making of the film, which included questioning why there is inequity amongst the world as to who has access to surgery and who does not; exploring some of the reasons for this phenomena.
They also fielded questions from the Parliament, which prompted a discussion on the following important points:
The APPG listing of the event can be found here: http://www.appg-globalhealth.org.uk/events/4556655533
The Right to Heal was screened at the Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT) conference, last March 29, followed by a presentation by Prof Michael Cotton, Chairman of the International Collaboration for Essential Surgery (ICES). Prof Cotton gave an abbreviated outline of the purpose and goal of ICES. This was followed by a presentation by Dr Jaymie Henry, Executive Director of ICES, of the global surgery advocacy efforts of the Right to Heal and the 15x15 campaign.
Over 600 delegates had gathered in Belfast’s spacious auditorium, where only a few months earlier, US President Barack Obama had addressed the G8 summit.
The distinguished audience included all four presidents of the British and Irish Royal Colleges of Surgery, rarely present all together at any one event.
This was thus a huge privilege, as well as a great responsibility.
During the showing of the Right to Heal film the audience was hushed in rapt attention: indeed, when the viewing had finished, you could have heard a pin drop. Furthermore, during both talks, the same fixed concentration was virtually palpable throughout the auditorium. Numbers of surgical trainees afterwards presented their compliments, and registered their keenness to get involved.
There was no doubt that the UK Surgeons of the future enthusiastically received the message of The Right to Heal. We look forward to future efforts from these promising young individuals!
It's not every day you attend a meeting like we did at the UN Foundation in New York last Thursday. It's not every day you see world-renowned surgeons, major corporate activists, UN officials, and foreign diplomats gathered together to talk about essential surgery. When you do, there are always a lot of good ideas discussed, and we leave with a higher degree of hope, and excitement about solutions to bring essential surgery to the world.
But we've seen those type of meetings before. On February 6th, we saw a first. For the first time, an official representative from a country - Tanzania to be exact - attended, listened and offered a formal statement from her country. Ms. Ellen Maduhu, from the Permanent Mission to the UN for Tanzania, delivered a prepared statement about essential surgery, and how lack of access to it is affecting her nation.
“In Tanzania every year 454 women die from pregnancy related complications for every 100,000 live births. Most maternal deaths occur during childbirth and in the immediate postpartum. Statistics on maternal mortality identify bleeding, unsafe abortion, pregnancy-induced hypertension, obstructed labour, and infections as the common direct causes of death…
Majority of deaths can be prevented, if pregnant women can be assured of access to skilled attendance at childbirth and emergency obstetric care when pregnancy-related complications occur.
The Government of Tanzania is committed to end preventable maternal and child mortality in all segments of our society, to ensure that women get access to health services and do not die from pregnancy complications, the Government has continued to expand coverage of Primary Health Facilities and strengthen provision of comprehensive and basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn care equipment nationwide."
Ms. Maduhu spoke with passion. She brought with her a recommendation from the Tanzanian Government that essential surgery be included as a sustainable development goal in the post-2015 agenda within the framework of universal healthcare.
And that's when it hit us.
This movement is real. It's happening. This isn't just a group of non-profits, of interested and passionate healthcare providers, of activists and filmmakers. We have the attention of the governments of the world, and after this UN-approved event, we have an official statement from Tanzania, that essential surgery be recognized by the public health sector.
Ms. Maduhu was one of many speakers. We also heard from Anita Sharma, Senior Director, Millennium Development Goals Initiatives, Every Woman, Every Child, UN Foundation. Maya Azucena, Global Singer, Cultural Ambassador and human rights activist touched on the real, hopeful human element of the issue. Gillian Slinger of the Campaign to End Fistula, United Nations Population Fund was in attendance, and she made the case for completely ending fistula, world-wide. Ray Price, from WHO gave us the Mongolian case-study on how to make essential surgery work, even in places where infrastructure is almost non-existent. All spoke beautifully and with power.
But Ms. Ellen Maduhu, quiet, polite and non-assuming, made the loudest speech of all.
"The prevention of maternal mortality is the basic right of all women and we must make it our priority."
The Right to Heal is not just a film. It's becoming a fact.
In conjunction with the United Nations Open Working Group Side Event on Equality for Women and Children, we're working with ICES to raise awareness for essential surgery worldwide.
In attendance will be officials from international health organizations, renowned surgeons and policy makers from around the world. We're getting ready for the Post-2015 agenda for the new Millennium Development Goals. Watch for upcoming posts about the event. In the meantime, like us on Facebook.
For the second time, we've screened The Right to Heal in the UK, this time as part of Lifebox Day. The Lifebox Foundation is an organization that emphasizes safety in surgical procedure, especially in parts of the world where a life saving surgery is one of the most dangerous things a person can do. Lifebox is an important ally in the efforts for global health.
And that's what this event was about: global health. When we focus on global health issues as a community, we can make actual progress. The Right to Heal was showed to over 70 colleagues interested in global surgery - experts from all over the world - and, as always, the film had an impact.
We're passionate about global health, and we're actively creating resources to make a difference. If you'd like to be part of the solution, you can start by signing the change.org petition.
Johns Hopkins University is the pioneer in medical research and innovation, and it has been our pleasure to screen the film The Right to Heal at Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD on January 13, 2014. It was the first of our screenings for the new year, and we made important inroads into the advocacy efforts to bring simple, effective, essential surgery to the developing world.
After the introduction from Dean Michael J. Klag, The Right to Heal was viewed. The follow-up panel, directed by Dr. Fizan Abdullah, and including director and producer Jaymie Henry, moderated a discussion for pushing global surgery initiatives.
There is no doubt that the film hits an emotional chord with its audiences. The appeal of the stories, and the direct honesty of the film's real-life characters in The Right to Heal invoke a robust desire to help bring essential surgery to the world.
We appreciate the effort and interest of the medical professionals and experts and Johns Hopkins. They will be a staunch ally in the battle to defeat disease and injury around the world.
Imperial College Surgical Society (ICSM), in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), hosted the conference entitled "Global Health and the Surgeon." The conference premiered the first UK screening of "The Right to Heal" on Nov. 17, 2013 at the Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Student Union, South Kensington Campus, Imperial College London, United Kingdom.
Interesting fact: The venue was named after Sir Alexander Fleming- the man who discovered Penicillin whilst working at one of the Imperial College London campuses 30 minutes away from the building.
This event, in its second year, brought together medical and high school students from various interdisciplinary fields to bring to light the realities of the global burden of disease and the role of surgery in the humanitarian response. The conference goal was to inspire the next generation of medical thinkers and global pioneers to examine the frontiers and potential of global medicine. The screening was held at the close of the event.
Key speakers for the event were; Professor Parveen Kumar, co-author of the medical textbook "Kumar & Clarke's Clinical Medicine", Lord Ian McColl, Chairman of Mercy Ships and Dr. Meena Cherian, Head of the Emergency and Essential Surgical Care Program at the World Health Organization (WHO).
Rele Olugunde stated that the screening was, "Very well received, thought provoking and very much enjoyed". We would like to thank organizer Prashant K. Bohra, Treasurer, Imperial College Surgical Society (ICSM) and Rele Ologunde, 5th year medical student, Imperial College School of Medicine, for their invitation to premiere our film, and for their support in furthering the film's message to increase global access to Essential Surgery.
“The Right to Heal” was screened on Thursday, November 21st, at the Health Sciences Building at the University of Alaska in Anchorage to mostly first-year UW medical students in the WWAMI program.
WWAMI is a regional program that allows students from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho to attend University of Washington as their “state” medical school.
We were honored to have Kirsten Jorgensen as our host. Kirsten, a first year medical student, spent a year prior to medical school working in Lima, Peru with Partners in Health on public health and education, which ignited her interest in global health education, primary care and surgery. She believes that “it is incredibly important to demonstrate that providing health care globally is not restricted to primary care, but rather encompasses all types of medicine.”
Some comments from the medical students at the post-screening discussion:
"Wow, I didn't realize so many problems could be solved with only 15 essential surgeries"
"Send on a message to them that we're all interested now in learning basic surgical procedures and working to eliminate this burden of disease."
Thank you, Kirsten, and the medical students at UW Anchorage, WWAMI program. We are proud to have you spread the film's message and support our movement. We appreciate your ongoing commitment to increasing surgical access worldwide.
"The Right to Heal" was screened at the World Congress of Surgery, Obstetrics, Trauma, and Anesthesia and held on October 16-17, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The World Health Organization Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care (WHO GIEESC) held their annual meeting in conjunction with the inaugural meeting of the WCSOTA. WHO GIEESC attendees from over 50 countries reported their progress on bringing surgical care globally.
The goal of the conference was to share knowledge across professions to advance surgical, obstetrical, trauma and anesthesia care.
The film was screened to a large audience of medical professionals and global health leaders and stimulated much discussion, providing many points for collaboration among this learned body. Comments included: “Your film was absolutely fantastic.”
Many were visibly moved and reached out during the conference. Key participants who held leadership roles and who were passionate about the cause communicated their desire to spread the word about the need for surgical care in developing countries and their inspiration as a result of the film, and offered to host screenings of the film in their own countries, universities, societies and to the medical community. Feedback included their impression that this film and movement includes the lay community which makes it far reaching. They embraced the film's message, and concurred on the urgency and need to spread the word and want to contribute directly to bring essential surgery to the forefront of the global health discussion.
On Monday October 21st, the UW Global Health Resource Center, the Global Health Group, and the Surgery Interest Group co-sponsored a screening of The Right to Heal at the Medical Sciences Building Health Sciences Center at the University of Washington campus, which brought together over 60 medical students, residents, and faculty with a focus on global health. The screening, initiated by Stephanie Edlund of the University of Washington’s Global Health Resource Center, was our gracious host and event organizer.
An introduction was given by Dr. Charlie Mock; Professor of Surgery, Epidemiology, and Global Health at University of Washington School of Medicine and School of Public Health, and former technical officer of the World Health Organization, Violence and Injury Prevention Department. Dr. Mock spoke about his experiences working on various research projects, education and training in Ghana and about the need for increased attention and support from international health organizations and programs in developing nations.
Dr. Jaymie Ang Henry highlighted her personal and professional journey in seeing the poorest populations in her native country, the Philippines, where the lack of medical and specifically surgical care in rural areas inspired her to embark on her quest to create awareness around surgery in developing countries.
After the screening, there was a facilitated discussion between Dr. Mock, Dr. Henry and the medical students who became actively engaged in the issues surrounding the surgical deficit globally and were particularly interested in the role of clinical officers in workforce training and the delivery of surgical services along with wanting to know more about the challenges surrounding infrastructure and equipment gaps. Their interest lie in career advancement opportunities in this area, and how they will be able to contribute in this stage of their lives and careers to effectively join this movement.
Proactively, they asked, “What can I do now and what can I do to prepare for the future?”. Our answer was to acknowledge that, “The problems that limit access to surgery are very complicated, due to the requirement for a transfer of knowledge. The actual basic surgical procedure that needs to be deployed is something that is already known but delivering surgical care, creating political will around it, rallying resources, and creating the framework for a global strategy requires the effort of all the stakeholders in surgical care and not just surgeons themselves. It also requires the commitment and collaboration of the global health and international health community in tandem”. Dr. Henry emphasized that the problems in surgical care are not simply medical in nature, and must also be focused on the need to strengthen the supply chain/process. She brought up the challenge of how we transport this technology into an area where there is none. Dr. Mock shared his personal experiences working as a surgeon in Ghana for four years and encouraged the students to follow their interest in the field of surgery, for that's where they will be most well-placed to make a difference.
The evening ended with students thanking the organizers for taking the initiative to bring awareness of this growing problem. Some expressed interest in wanting to spread the message and promote the film and we welcomed their collaboration as the film and the movement grows.
On September 20, 2013 at the exclusive private media industry club, SoHo House in West Hollywood; our hosts screened “The Right to Heal” to over 50 media and industry insiders seeking to understand the social relevance and need for global essential surgery in helping the world's poorest by increasing global access to surgery.
The host committee Kerry Brown, Stacey Sher, Jay Faires, and Emily Greener assembled a personalized guest list who welcomed Producer and Director, Jaymie Ang Henry who imparted the film's mission and vision. She spoke of the need for essential surgery and anesthesia including the need for the proper equipment to make surgery accessible.
Following the screening, the guests participated in a lively Q&A with a robust discussion and brainstorming on how the media and lay people can be involved in framing the message about essential surgery. We received much praise and welcomed feedback about the film, which was appreciated and will be applied as we continue to grow the film with our plans to include stories from around the globe.
Several interested parties have been in touch with R2H and will be moving forward in support of our film and movement. We are grateful for the opportunity to reach this illustrious community who has shown such willing support. Thank you to Kerry, Stacey, Jay and Emily for a successful and entertaining evening!
The Right to Heal was screened at the closing of the 3-day International Orthopaedic Wound Management Summit on September 16, 2013 at San Francisco General Hospital, hosted by the Institute for Global Orthopaedics and Traumatology, IGOT.
Over 50 surgeons from 17 countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and the Philippines attended to learn more than 20 techniques in orthopaedic wound care. Jaymie Ang Henry, M.D., M.P.H and producer of The Right to Heal, spoke after the screening on the need for a WHO policy change so that surgery is made a global primary health care concern and emphasized the message of the film's patients and caregivers who demonstrate how surgery will, and does, change the lives of those who have timely access to it.
The surgeons, in a discussion sparked by the film, acknowledged that while surgery is accessible in the larger city hospitals in their countries, the rural areas, which are admittedly under resourced, would greatly benefit from localized healthcare education to inform the patients and the traditional bone setters of the need to make timely orthapaedic referrals for surgery.
A request was made for information about locating and partnering with non-government organizations so that medical providers and town leaders are able to reach out for assistance and the surgeons are able to locate the right organizations to contribute and participate. Dr. Henry urged the surgeons to maintain contact with IGOT as well as The Right to Heal, speak to their governments and Ministers of Health, provide data sets, pass along their knowledge by teaching, and to join in moving global surgery policy forward until it takes its' rightful place on the world stage.
Several surgeons from different areas in the Philippines who had just met at the summit joined together in response to Dr. Henry's request to affect treatment for one of the film's subjects. Rodney is a 7 year old boy, now 8, living in the Philippines and unable to attend school due to complications of living with clubfoot. In this way, the film is achieving notable goals, in bringing treatment to Rodney, who would have otherwise gone unnoticed and without care.
The Right to Heal looks forward to continued exposure from future screenings and thanks the surgeons that attended the summit for viewing the film and for joining them in support of this global surgery movement.
Special Thanks to Amber Caldwell, Director of Development at Institute for Global Orthopaedics and Traumatology (IGOT) for our invitation to screen The Right to Heal.
Erica Frenkel (Gradian Health) and Katie Flannagan (Kupona Foundation) hosted the evening at the Gradian Health offices on 160 5th Avenue, NY.
We are proud to have the support and partnership of Gradian Health Systems, which equip hospitals around the world to deliver anaesthesia safely and economically, in a wide variety of environments, on patients of any age. www.GradianHealth.org
Our close ties with Kupona Foundation contributed strength to our combined message about improving global healthcare for women. Kupona Foundation is working in Tanzania and partnering on the ground with CCBRT, a local NGO and the Ministry of Health of Tanzania to ensure American support has maximum social impact abroad by improving health care, particularly in the area of maternal and newborn health. www.KuponaFoundation.org
Jaymie Ang Henry, MD, MPH, addressed the crowd with eloquence about the paradigm shift in global surgical care that must occur to bring basic surgery to developing countries and to the people most in need, as a primary global health concern.
The private event attracted global health organizations, members of international agencies and health professionals interested in furthering the message on essential surgery. The evening was summed up by our hostess Emily, "What a wonderful night...the film was just beautiful".
We want to thank our friends and partners who gave us a wonderful New York welcome and such encouragement in helping us give voice to our growing film and message and continuing to spread the word.
Our fall screening will include new footage from our upcoming travels where we will continue to document the inspiring stories of those in need of basic surgery today, and the provocative testimonies of their providers and supporters. We look forward to our fall screening and to seeing all of our New York partners and friends again soon.
The first year festival was co-organized by Amber Caldwell, Director of Development at Institute for Global Orthopaedics and Traumatology (IGOT), Jaymie Ang Henry, M.D., M.P.H., Founder & Executive Board Member, International Collaboration for Essential Surgery (ICES), and Zak Armitage, Marketing Manager at LIM Innovations. The festival attracted an audience of over 300.
Amber Caldwell kicked off the event with a warm welcome and introduction to guest speaker, Dr. Thomas Weiser from the Department of Trauma Surgery & Surgical Critical Care at Stanford University, who delivered a global health message focused on a new paradigm in bringing surgery to the world stage. Dr. Jaymie Ang Henry spoke of how the film 'The Right to Heal' aims to shed light on the neglected issues in surgical care globally and the need for concerned individuals and organizations to unite in bringing international attention to issues in providing essential surgery to poorly-served areas of the world.
'The Right to Heal' gave us an intimate look at the lives of individuals in need of essential surgery and their incredibly inspiring and innovative providers who are looking for solutions and change in global surgical care.
Dr. Jaymie Ang Henry, co-producer and Director, along with James Carroll and Alemberg Ang, brought us compelling storytelling and beautiful images of people affected by disabilities that are easily treatable, such as cleft lip and clubfoot, and women affected by the consequences of not having timely, safe, and appropriate cesarean section resulting in fistulas, the appalling life they are submitted to, physically and socially, and those who are disabled for life as a result of little or no access to essential surgical care.
Filmed thus far in developing rural areas in the Philippines, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, and Bangladesh, they will grow their film by adding stories from their upcoming filming in Ecuador, Cambodia and Mongolia. www.therighttoheal.org.
Brought to us by San Francisco filmmaker, director and writer Mike Seely, “The Most Distant Places” follows Dr. Edgar Rodas and his team to the far reaches of Ecuador, interweaving intimate portrayals of the challenges of providing health care for impoverished people located far from adequate medical facillities. www.themostdinstantplaces.com
Also screened at the event was "Losing a LIMb-Life without your Own 2 Feet" by Doctor's Ray and Andy Burson. The filmmakers are brothers and surgeons whose mission is to empower, educate, and train communities about prevention, management, and the consequences of diabetes and amputation. www.own2feet.org
Global Health Organizations partnered for the event were: IGOT Institute for Global Orthopaedics and Traumatology, ICES International Collaboration for Essential Surgery, Own2Feet, A little4alot, LIM Innovations, UCSF Global Health Sciences, Samahope, ReSurge, and LifeBox. To connect please visit: http://bayareaghff.org/about/partners/
The event created exposure for 'The Right to Heal' to the surgical and global health care community and highlighted the need for global essential surgery which has resulted in invitations for screenings at festivals and organizations throughout the US and abroad in the coming weeks and months which will serve to promote the filmmakers message to increase awareness. Please visit the film's website at www.therighttoheal.org for upcoming events/screenings.