On February 18, 2011, the Earth Institute hosted about 20 South Korean delegates for a presentation given by the health team at the Center for Global Health and Economic Development.
Their trip was an extension of their participation in a Health Emergencies in Large Populations (HELP) course that was developed through a joint effort of Yonsei University, Johns Hopkins University and Medipeace, a Korean NGO focusing on humanitarian aid in complex emergencies. Dr. Hoon Sang Lee, currently a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Min-Kyung Lim, the program coordinator at Medipeace, co-organized the visit to Johns Hopkins and were eager to bring their group to the Earth Institute.
Presentations were comprehensive, including an overview of the Center for Global Health and Economic Development from the Program’s Coordinator James Ossman and an overview of what a Millennium Village looks like from the Millennium Village Health Team’s Deputy Director James Wariero. Technical discussions were led by Dr. Andrew Kanter, Director of Informatics for the Millennium Villages Health Team, who gave a presentation on the Millennium Global Village-Net system, which includes rapid data collection and feedback systems such as ChildCount+ and electronic medical records systems such as OpenMRS that are currently being used in the Millennium Villages. Health Systems Coordinator Anne Liu presented the Millennium Villages’ innovative primary care system. And finally, Catarina Dolsten discussed the budding work in Haiti in building a health system modeled off of the Millennium Villages.
Attendees included Dr. Hee Jin Kim, a professor at Yonsei University School of Public Health and Dr. Insung Cho, a pediatrician and a board member of the Korean Medical Association. Dr. Cho posed a very interesting question about how to adopt the Millennium Village Project (MVP) framework to the “Healthy City Project” in growing cities outside of Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. James Wariero, Deputy Director of the Health Team, suggested that since the MVP strategies were intended for use in developing countries, higher expectations for change in a developed setting would entail modifications in order to make the MVP approach an effective fit.
South Korea is currently experiencing a great increase of interest in global health issues reflected by its contribution to official development assistance (ODA) beginning in 2010 and the increased flow of governmental funding to NGOs like Medipeace. The visit to the Earth Institute was very timely and informative for the Korean delegates who are striving to widen their scope of global health.