“We focused on what we were good at first. We developed vaccines, we got prices down. But there is enormous belief that you can’t get that life-saving technology out there without people adopting it. And that’s the critical next piece.” –Melinda Gates
What is the Need?
1. The Critical Shortage
Without a trained health care workforce in the developing world, new technologies, new drugs, new techniques and newly mobilized funding will fail to deliver on their promise. According to the WHO, the world is short 9 million nurses and midwives. Virtually every country in the world is facing this shortage, but in developing countries the shortage is acute.
Nurses are the cornerstone of every health care system. Along with midwives, they make up more than 50% of the health workforce in most countries. They provide direct patient care to people in all settings and across the lifespan, and are often the only access that the most vulnerable and marginalized populations have to any kind of medical care. Nurses are critical, not only in the delivery of essential health services, but they are also at the core of changing health care systems.
Every developing country faces numerous challenges in addressing the rapidly growing health care needs and concerns of its people. These communities are already struggling to manage the current disease burdens. Without enough nursing professionals that are properly educated, trained and supported, these countries will continue to struggle to achieve the systematic change needed to rescue their people from the cycle of poverty and ill health.
2. Greatly Improved Clinical Care and Outcomes (the tipping point)
Much like in the transformation of the U.S. health care system from 1960’s to 2000, health care systems in the developing world are undergoing rapid change. What is needed is health care workers with advanced critical thinking skills and clinical training to help achieve the implementation of new, higher standards of care and greatly improved clinical outcomes.
Nurses are in a unique position to transform the way health care is delivered. In an era of progressive technological advancements, if nurses have the critical thinking skills and clinical training, they are better equipped to utilize new technologies and advancements to provide high-impact and low-cost interventions to those in even the most remote locations.
The Bottom Line: There is an urgent need to transform nursing education and clinical practice in developing countries. If we are truly to improve the health and well being of those most in need, we must better educate, train and prepare nurses and other front-line health care professionals to meet these new and emerging health care challenges.
The Calling for the Mary K Center for Global Nursing Development
The Mary K Center has been established to improve nursing education so that nurses serving in the most vulnerable countries have the skills, competencies and clinical knowledge to manage and address complex health care issues. It is also important that they have the support and resources that will empower them to advocate for better clinical outcomes and serve as leaders to improve the quality of and access to health care in their countries.
It is focused on the following goals
- Building Bridges and Relationships
A priority goal of the Mary K Center is to make connections and establish long term relationships between nurses, educators and health care leaders around the world. By connecting nursing professionals from a variety of backgrounds and environments, the Mary K Center is building a forum for shared learning and providing access to resources and knowledge that those in developing countries might not have otherwise. It’s an opportunity for those who have the knowledge, skills and background to share with those who are desperately trying to learn.Evidence based best practices set forth that relationships are fundamental to achieving sustainable change in any environment. The Mary K Center is able to leverage the well-established relationships of MBF with in-country hospital, clinic and nursing school partners that help secure local accountability and ownership for projects. These relationships also allow us to engage in programs that address the unique needs and cultural differences of each partner. Without these relationships and long term partnership, the potential to build sustainable health care systems is greatly reduced.
- Improving the Quality of Nursing Education and Advancing Nursing Practice
The Mary K Center strategically sponsors and assists with implementing BScN, RN-BSN and MSN programs as well as nursing continuing education. The Center also works to help remove barriers to accessing nursing education and training, and ensures the numbers of well-trained nurses grows through MBF scholarships to qualified students. While they have long been the starting point for nursing professionals in more advanced countries, degreed programs—BScN, RN-BSN and MSN—are very limited in the developing world. The Mary K Center is working to establish and implement degreed programs with a number of in-country partners so that nursing students will graduate with the critical thinking skills and knowledge base needed to truly improve patient care. Teachers and trainers are an essential element in any education curriculum. By investing in nursing continuing education programs, the Center is setting a standard that will make a long-lasting impact on both nursing education and practice. One of the biggest obstacles for promising nursing students is that, in a world where most people live on less than $2 USD a day, they simply don’t have the financial resources to attend school. Through established MBF sponsorships, the Mary Kay Center is able to make that dream a reality for students who have exhibited a commitment and desire to pursue nursing as a career and care for their fellow countrymen.
- Establishing Fully Accessible Resources to Foster Global Collaboration
The Mary K Center is utilizing technology to create a centralized forum for widely sharing best practices, curriculum, teaching strategies and tools. By building a consortium of nursing schools, professionals and leaders connected through technology, the Mary K Center is creating a network to make best practices, mentors and research collaborations easily accessible to those even in the most remote locations. The Center embraces a strengths-based approach in resource development and fosters a spirit of mutual respect and trust.
- Growing Ministry
The Mary K Center will help partners find ways to enhance and expand the spiritual components of their programs as well as seek new, culturally sensitive ways to incorporate faith into the care of every patient and their family.The holistic integration of medical care and the Gospel is fundamental in the mission of MBF. MBF works to partner with the local church in developing nations and the domestic U.S. church to build sustainable health care ministries.
Lisa D. Cole, MA, RN,
Mary K Center for Global Nursing Development
Lisa joined MBF in September 2016. Her primary role is to help develop, oversee and coordinate programs within the Center that will increase the capacity and strengthen the quality of the nursing profession in developing countries. She focuses on developing strategic and collaborative partnerships between MBF’s global and U.S. partners.
With undergraduate degrees in nursing and organizational communications and a Master’s degree in gerontology, Lisa has over 30 years of proven clinical, program development, management and leadership experience in the healthcare industry. She has spent the last 10 years of her career focused on community outreach and engagement in under-resourced communities in Indianapolis. Lisa is highly skilled at developing cross-sector partnerships, grassroots program development and creating sustainable impact.
Andrew Mayo, CEO, MBF
Andy has over 30 years of international hospital management and medical industry experience. Prior to joining MBF as President and CEO in 2012, Andy developed and directed CURE Clubfoot Worldwide, the largest clubfoot training and treatment program in the developing world, operating in more than 17 countries and treating over 20,000 children. During his time with CURE International he also served as Executive Director of the AIC-CURE International Children’s Hospital in Kijabe Kenya.
While Andy began his health care career serving in a number of community and regional hospitals in the U.S., he has also worked for major international companies, including Siemens Medical Systems and Aventis Pharmaceuticals. He has direct leadership experience in a wide variety of hospital settings, health care information systems and program development in developing countries.
For over 50 years, Medical Benevolence Foundation (MBF) has been an independent nonprofit organization partnering with churches in developing countries to proclaim the Gospel through the development of sustainable health care ministries. We can be found in the poorest communities around the globe helping them meet their most urgent medical needs, then working with them to build the facilities and resources they need to sustain those services for generations to come. Since 1963, MBF has worked in 34 countries with 140 partners and has raised over $136 million.
For almost two centuries, Presbyterian missionaries have served faithfully in impoverished areas of the world spreading the Gospel and Christ’s love. Over the years as society has evolved, and governments have changed, the only two organizations that have stood the test of time and that remain in many of the countries are Christian hospitals and schools. In the 1950’s, church leaders saw things changing:
- Mission funding was not matching the growing needs
- Churches had many members with medical skills who wanted to use their talents in the name of Christ but needed an avenue of service
- The Church needed to see again that the saving work of Christ involved bot the mind and the body. “He sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal…” Luke 9:2
In 1962, the Board of World Missions (BWM) of PCUS appointed a committee “relative to medical work, especially the financial support of hospitals” as a result of a recommendation by Dr. Paul Crane, a missionary at the Presbyterian Medical Center in Chonju, Korea. The committee conducted its investigation and formally recommended the formation of a foundation dedicated to medical work. The next year, MBF was formally registered as a 501-C3, a not-for-profit charity.
Today, MBF’s work is still grounded in the history of the Presbyterian faith to preach the Gospel and heal the sick. Over the years we have gained experience and developed a unique model that is critical to the longevity of medical ministries. Our approach is based on strengthening the church in the developing countries so they can help their neighbors. This model stems from our belief in the scriptural truth that God uses the church to change the world.
While much of what we do is helping our partners meet their most urgent medical needs, a big part of our mission is building sustainable health care ministries. MBF connects individuals and churches in the U.S. with churches in the developing world so that they can provide for the health care needs of their community. Like the old proverb about teaching a man to fish, we help our partners create health care for a lifetime.