Children’s Hospitals in Africa Mapping Project
Funded by ELMA Philanthropies, the Children’s Hospitals in Africa Mapping Project (CHAMP) is surveying 24 collaborating hospitals across sub-Saharan Africa.
The goal of CHAMP is to address where, and how children are cared for in sub-Saharan Africa using a child-centric assessment tool modeled on the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Security Agenda’s Joint External Evaluation (JEE) tool. The JEE tool has been, and is being used by member states to determine, at the country level, readiness to respond to catastrophic events. While this tool is useful in planning readiness at the national level, it does not include any evaluation of where and how children are cared for in these events.
In August 2018, a team of doctors and staff from Columbia University’s Department of Pediatrics convened a meeting of pediatric leaders from 13 African countries at the Columbia University Global Center in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss the development of a child-specific assessment tool. The product of this collaborative meeting was the development of the CHAMP survey tool.
The CHAMP survey provides a comprehensive assessment of the size, infrastructure, surge capacity, resources, services, staffing, programs and policies of a children’s hospital, i.e., a major medical facility with dedicated space allocated for the inpatient and outpatient care of large numbers of children.
“The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) is an effort by nations, international organizations, and civil society to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats; to promote global health security as an international priority; and to establish capacity to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to biological threats, whether naturally occurring, intentional, or accidental.” (Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2015 Dec; 6(6 Suppl): S28–S33).
For medical providers the key elements of the GHSA relate to preventing outbreaks through immunization and other biomedical strategies, detecting the patient infected with a bio-threat agent by means of sensitive, specific, and timely diagnostic tests, and managing and treating infected patients using appropriate medical counter measures.
The GHSA by in large does not address the special needs of the world’s 2.3 billion children, nor does the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR), the compliance to which the GHSA aims to accelerate, provide guidance as to the legal status of children. Children are not small adults, they are different biologically and cognitively, and, in general, they lack the legal status to exercise self-determination. Child-specific physical, developmental, and sociological factors make children particularly vulnerable in public health emergencies.
Children’s hospitals are key stakeholders in meeting the goals of the GHSA as it (should) pertain to children. The CHAMP project will provide unique information regarding the capacity of a subset of African hospitals to address the needs of children in the context of a disaster. The data can be used by institutions and nations to guide investments aimed at strengthening pediatric medical services.
- Lawrence Stanberry
- Philip LaRussa
- Wilmot James
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
Areas of Focus
- Health Security
- Infectious Diseases
- Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health