The SolHEALTH Mission:
Promoting Health and Preventing Disease, One Population At a Time.
SolHEALTH assists organizations to implement services using best evidence-based modalities that promote health and prevent disease. As populations vary, so must the modalities employed to address their needs. But, the strategies all share a common commitment to primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. All organizations SolHEALTH assists agree to openly and freely share their health promotion and disease prevention experiences with other organizations seeking to emulate or build upon their successes.
Healthcare Support and Strengthening in The Gambia (HSSG)
The Gambia is a small country with a deep history, wedged inside of Senegal’s borders on the western coast of Africa. Owing to decades of politically-imposed isolation and neglect, The Gambia’s healthcare and education systems are woefully inadequate. While The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa, and has recently transitioned to a more open government committed to improving the lives of its people, the work is very challenging: 48.2% of Gambian people live below the poverty line, and The Gambia’s maternal and child mortality rates are among the highest in the world. However, its small population of just over 2 million, as well as its current sociopolitical environment, create a unique opportunity for health care interventions to be made and sustained.
In 2018, SolHEALTH partnered with the UB-ONE Foundation (www.ub-one.com), a humanitarian nonprofit based in Germany, and The Gambia Red Cross Society (www.redcross.gm) to collaborate on a project entitled Healthcare Support and Strengthening in The Gambia (HSSG). The HSSG is a five-year, multilateral plan offering a comprehensive approach to the development, implementation and oversight of a range of primary and secondary prevention strategies and activities designed to support and strengthen the health and wellbeing of the Gambian people. Following thorough research into the health realities of The Gambia, the project team has identified several intervention points and has developed a series of strategies that are closely tailored to the needs of the population.
The three main focus areas have been defined as i) revitalizing and improving Gambia’s primary healthcare system, ii) improving sanitation and personal hygiene, and iii) improving access to safe water. In doing so, SolHEALTH hopes to help establish a balance between health and healthcare, create a culture of health promotion, reduce healthcare related expenditures, and build sustainable, affordable and effective healthcare and public health infrastructure. At the Minister of Health’s request, the project will begin in the two most remote regions of the country – the Upper River Region and the Central River Region – and will continue over successive phases until the entire country is served. After receiving encouragement and endorsements from The Gambia’s Minister of Health, the Ministry of Finance, UNICEF, WHO and the EU, among others, SolHEALTH and its partners have begun to raise the $7.4 million needed for the first two-year phase. Implementation of the project began in February 2019, with a widely-attended launch ceremony in Basse, The Gambia.
“The Gambia Red Cross Society is a partner to SolHEALTH in implementing a project on Health Strengthening and Support in the Gambia (HSSG). SolHEALTH has been a reliable partner that has provided consistent professional support from the initial to the current stages of the project, including research, conceptualization, and documentation of the health issues and proposed areas of intervention.
The partnership with SolHEALTH adds value to the work of The Gambia Red Cross Society given their experience and commitment to humanity. The feedback and results are phenomenal and they help us reach the targeted beneficiaries effectively. We have had a good experience with them over the past few years for the services they have rendered to us.
It is of the utmost pleasure to partner and collaborate with SolHEALTH on the HSSG project. We are delighted to continue our collaboration into the future with an organization of this caliber and competency.”
- Alasan Senghore, Secretary General of our Parter, The Gambia Red Cross Society
A Health and Healthcare Revolution in China, Starting in Shenzhen
Shenzhen is a young city, having grown in just a few decades from a collection of fishing villages and farmland to a modern metropolis of over 18 million people. It has attracted a strong economic base of prominent corporations with over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies having offices within its boundaries. Its residents immigrate from all over China, combining to form a national rather than provincial culture. The average age of Shenzhen residents is less than 30 years old, and a considerable portion of the population is highly educated. It is this young, dynamic and relatively educated population working in innovative industries that makes a primary care, prevention and wellness platform so attractive, and so likely to succeed. In addition, Shenzhen has already established a biotechnology industry base, and has further devoted resources to expanding this focus in its Dapeng district. The BioValley currently under construction will focus on the integration of biotechnology innovation, the cultivating of biotechnology enterprises, the advancement of healthcare management, ecological sustainability and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Such a district, backed by the resources of Shenzhen, will further facilitate the attraction of individuals and organizations committed to contributing to the reform of China’s healthcare by growing its ability to provide state of the art disease prevention and health promotion services, technologies and platforms.
In June 2016, SolHEALTH was invited to assist the Shenzhen Health Bureau to establish a city-wide health promotion and disease prevention campaign. At the time, the municipal government was concerned that the city’s growth was outpacing their ability to provide healthcare services to the population. They decided that something needed to be done to keep the young population healthy so that in a generation the city would not be facing a healthcare crisis. After multiple meetings with government and private sector stakeholders, the campaign entitled “A Health and Healthcare Revolution in China, Starting in Shenzhen” gradually began. It consisted of the phased implementation 39 health promotion and disease prevention recommendations designed to benefit the entire Shenzhen population. These evidence-based recommendations, proven effective in similar environments, were created based on Shenzhen’s stated health priorities as well as thorough research into the city’s health realities and needs. The Health Bureau was free to choose from the 39 recommendations the ones they found most culturally appropriate or feasible to implement.
The Luohu Hospital Group (a government-funded private hospital group possessing hospitals and clinics within Shenzhen and Guangdong Province), was able to implement many of the SolHEALTH health promotion and disease prevention strategies (33 of the 39). Within 18 months the project was completed, and outcome measures taken every six months conveyed a drastic reduction in hospitalizations, motor vehicle accidents and STDs, and a drastic increase in immunization rates both in children and adults (all of which were Shenzhen’s priorities). SolHEALTH’s work was done. The success of the Luohu Hospital Group has been so widely acknowledged that its president, Sun Xizhuo, was invited to Beijing by the national government where his hospital group was lauded as a model for China’s health reform. Thus, it appears that SolHEALTH's effective health promotion and disease prevention strategies have been implemented successfully, and remarkable strides in primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in Shenzhen have been made, with the real potential for further spread. We are gratified that the people of Shenzhen will benefit from the success of the Luohu Hospital Group.
Maternal and Child Care
Maternal and child care is a major focus area for SolHEALTH, as an investment in women and children is likely to yield significant health returns for the entire population. Health maintenance exams focus on well-woman, well-child and well-baby visits as well as pre-natal and post-partum visits for women with healthy pregnancies.
Clinical and Population Research
SolHEALTH provides assistance in clinical and population research, developing technologies and implementing policies designed to reduce or eliminate major population health burdens. These include domestic violence, anti-microbial resistance, injuries associated with motor vehicles, bicycles, sports and firearms, pediatric poisonings and drowning, nosocomial infections, and parasitic diseases.
Education and Training
Finally, SolHEALTH supports health professional education and training at the undergraduate and graduate levels. By doing so, SolHEALTH attempts to ensure the development of a health professional workforce that is capable of leveraging the latest technologies and contributing to the data that furthers health promotion, disease prevention and the incorporation of an evidence-based approach to all medical disciplines.
Primary prevention uses education and specific interventions designed to maintain an already existing healthy state of well-being. Thus, primary prevention seeks to increase the resiliency of healthy individuals and prevent disease and injury from occurring. Specific interventions such as immunizations, as well as the adoption of healthy and safe lifestyles have proven highly effective in maintaining health and preventing disease.
Secondary prevention involves identifying diseases in individuals before they produce any symptoms. This consists of using a variety of screening modalities designed to identify the presence of diseases at very early stages so that they can be cured before they impair the functioning of individuals. Properly instituted, this strategy increases the likelihood of maintaining health and extending lifespans.
Tertiary prevention is treating diseases so as to prevent their complications, thus improving the quality of life and lifespan of individuals. This is accomplished when a system is in place to provide primary healthcare that is comprehensive (sufficient to meet the needs of 80% of all patients at first contact), continuous (provided by doctors who know the patient), and coordinated (provided within and across specialties).