What is the purpose of HopeXchange and what is the uniqueness of this Health Project?
HopeXchange was established as a tool to promote human dignity and alleviate suffering in developing countries through education, healthcare and sustainable development.
The HopeXchange Medical Centers apply a comprehensive approach to addressing relevant healthcare challenges in resource-limited countries. It is designed as a multiphase, incremental intervention inherently adaptable to meet regional and global needs.
The Medical Centers address major burdens of disease in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America including infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria), maternal-child health (prenatal screening, nutrition and immunizations), and cancer (with a special focus on breast, cervical and prostate cancer), as well as specialized fields of medical interest such as ophthalmology, craniofacial malformations, diseases of the alimentary tract and diseases of the endocrine system.
This project looks great, but doesn’t Ghana and Guatemala have other hospitals and public healthcare?
Yes, there are hospitals in Ghana and Guatemala and the respective governments have a public health department. However, Ghana has approximately 1 physician per 18,000 citizens. In Guatemala 25% of deaths are caused through communicable diseases, maternal, prenatal and nutritional conditions. In both countries access of average citizens to healthcare is difficult and not always of quality; with regards to surgical and diagnostic access, and specialties such as treatment of eye disease and cancer, it is overwhelmingly deficient. In fact, the HopeXchange Medical Centers are also a premier medical and training facilities for the entire regions.
Are the HopeXchange Medical Centres in Ghana and Guatemala free of charge for everybody?
Anything that is given free, somebody, somewhere would have paid for it! In our case when we give free medical service, treatment or free medicine, donors would have paid for that with the intention that their donation goes to the poor. In practice, this means that those who are poor and cannot afford to give anything are treated for free. However, those who can afford to give something, even if it were a token, would give a small contribution.
Our hospitals welcome everybody. This includes people who are rich and can afford to pay or have a health insurance. The rich therefore pay in full and patients who are insured by the government or other private companies, are covered by their insurance.
This approach enables us to serve those who are genuinely poor for free. It prevents those who can afford to pay from exhausting donors’ contributions reserved for the poor and to safeguard the good use of resources such as people taking medicine because it is free of charge even when it is not needed.
This is a just and responsible way to administer supporters’ funds, serve the poor and have a sustainable long-term service to the underprivileged.
Why do rich people also come to the HopeXchange Medical Centres?
A very simple reason is because we have good hospitals. The HopeXchange Medical Centre in Ghana is one of the best hospitals not only in Ghana but in sub–Saharan Africa. We have state-of-the-art equipment, excellent staff and world class international surgeons, consultants and ophthalmologists who regularly come to our hospital to give free surgical and medical services and to teach the local doctors. This support, coupled by a cohort of international medical institutions, such as Yale University, the University of Brescia, the Catholic Medical University of Rome/Gemelli Clinic, and others, make the HopeXchange Medical Center in Ghana unique and attractive also to the affluent.
In Ghana, rich people often travel abroad for their medical checkups. HopeXchange is also attracting this category of people due to our quality of healthcare. At HopeXchange they receive excellent medical care for a fraction of the amount it would cost them to travel abroad. This income contributes to the sustainability of the hospital and enables us to help an even larger number of poor people.
The HopeXchange Medical Centre in Guatemala is in the process of being upgraded. It operates with the same ethos and principles of justice and sustainability explained above.
What can be the long term impact of such a project as this and who will be involved in operating it and overseeing its day-to-day management?
For instance, in Africa malaria kills an estimated 3,000 children a day. Through proper treatment of Malaria, HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis and Cancer, many thousands of lives can be saved. Through adequate treatment of eye disease and surgery, the HopeXchange Medical Center can give sight to thousands of Africans who needlessly go blind. In fact, 80% of the causes of blindness in Africa are preventable. The holistic approach of this facility will provide vaccination, diagnosis, surgery, education, and specialized medical treatment. Through proper pharmacy and outpatient treatments, countless will gain improved quality of life over the years.
Guatemala, according to the World Bank, has the highest rate of maternal mortality in Latin America. Such alarming figures can be attributed to the extremely low levels of prenatal and delivery care especially in rural areas. This is largely because many indigenous families lack the resources to access the state health system as well due to the discrimination, culture and language barriers coupled by geographical isolation.
A Board of Directors, including a day-to-day management team of local professionals oversee the operations of the HopeXchange Medical Centers. Full disclosure, audits and only the highest of business and medical ethics are practiced.