Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.
World Pediatric Project connects critically ill children in Latin America and the Caribbean with access to pediatric critical care medical services, while also building local capacity in those nations to improve the quality of care available to children in their home countries. WPP’s ultimate aim is to connect children today to life-saving and life-changing care and to develop programs and partnerships to enable international care providers to better care for children in the future.
WPP provides direct assistance to children and families in need of immediate medical intervention not otherwise available in their home country or region. WPP also assists international hospitals, health workers and governmental health agencies by filling gaps in pediatric sub-specialty care. WPP also provides customized training, capacity-building assistance and consultation to international health partners to empower them and strengthen existing care resources. WPP also assists local NGOs by providing resources and outlets for care for needy children.
One of the greatest challenges is the current inability of local health workers to fully provide care for children in need of advanced medical attention. This results in disease, disability, suffering and death for many children in low and middle income countries. WPP fills that void in partner health systems by providing care directly to children in need.
Training health workers can be expensive and resource-intensive; many governmental health agencies cannot afford to offer their care providers such opportunities. WPP works collaboratively with other nonprofits and U.S. based hospital partners to design training and education programs to educate international partner doctors and nurses about pediatric specialty care.
WPP’s expected outcomes align with the organization’s monitoring and evaluation plan, as well as the organization’s strategic 2020 vision. At the program level, WPP sets indicator targets to be met for all individual projects and levels. By tracking these indicators, WPP assesses and monitors the scope of services provided, the efficiency of the WPP referral network, the quality of care delivered and the quality of life impact on patients and communities. WPP also expects an improvement in local care practices and clinical skills in certain pediatric health areas, as a result of training and facility development programs.
At the strategic level, expected outcomes include: (1) alignment of WPP strategic plan with that of international partner hospitals so that WPP programs meet the expressed local needs of health providers and planners; (2) a decreasing demand for children to need to travel to the US for critical care services as international partners local capacity to care for pediatric patients increases; (3) WPP earning a “place at the table” with international government partners to discuss children’s health issues and related policies for prevention & development.
World Pediatric Project has developed two core program areas to meet this end goal. First, our Children of Today programs bring care and healing to patients through traveling surgical teams and an active referral network for patients to receive charity care in the United States. By providing direct care services to children in need, WPP develops strong relationships of trust with communities, families, international medical providers and governments. These partnerships form the foundation needed to develop sustainable, long-term solutions - termed Children of Tomorrow programs. It is through these programs that WPP empowers indigenous doctors and nurses with the skills and resources needed to improve future health outcomes for children. Children of Tomorrow programs include education and training programs for doctors and nurses, public health prevention programs, and facility improvement projects. It is this combined approach – linking direct care services and healing children today with long-term capacity building and prevention programs – that sets WPP apart from other organizations with similar missions to improve medical conditions in the developing world.
World Pediatric Project’s 2020 Vision includes strategies for reaching our long-term goals. The presence of WPP international staff in our partner countries enables more robust partnerships to develop and guarantees that WPP has a strong understanding of local community needs. Aligning our strategic plan and vision with that of our partners ensures that WPP continues to respond to those expressed needs with sustainable solutions. Driving quality improvement of medical care practices in our partner countries and influencing culture shifts at the level of individual care providers creates an environment for safer and higher quality care in our partner countries. An organizational commitment to monitoring and evaluation allows WPP to assess the true impact of each program and make strategic decisions about new program development. The organization uses such information to make informed decisions about how to best tailor our approaches to providing direct care services and training so that they are as effective as can be.
Internal capabilities include 20+ diverse international and U.S.-based staff with expertise in international health, program design and management, systems improvement, fundraising and development, nonprofit management and communications. Domestic offices in both Richmond and St. Louis give the organization access to many world-class medical institutions and volunteer doctors and nurses. A medical volunteer base of 150+ pediatric specialists forms the core of WPP’s service providers and program volunteers. Medical volunteers donate more than $8 million dollars in medical services each year, allowing WPP to transform $1 dollar donated into $4 worth of services. In addition to medical volunteers, hundreds of nonmedical volunteers and dozens of community partnerships provide additional support and expertise in the U.S. and within WPP partner nations. A formal and dedicated Board of Directors, with active committees, drives the fundraising potential of the organization to sustainably and strongly support our objectives. Both the Board and Senior Management focus on maintaining and building a level of cash reserves and working capital sufficient to enable sustainability in line with the scope of WPP’s operations.
External resources include signed partnerships and commitments with leading U.S. hospital facilities that support WPP’s work through the provision of charity care at home and by supporting physicians and nurses working on WPP projects abroad. To date, WPP has partnered with more than 15 U.S hospital facilities in 7 states to provide humanitarian care to critically ill and complex patients from WPP partner countries.
In addition, WPP has signed memorandums of understanding and agreement partnerships with ministries of health and hospitals in several partner countries. Pledged commitment and support from hospitals and health institutions, both internationally and domestically, is critical to WPP’s long-term approach to providing reliable care, services and solutions. WPP partners with more than 20 nongovernmental organizations, domestic and international, in carrying out its mission, and in active, key ways that allow the organization to most reliably connect with communities in need. Collaboration is a foundational principle for the organization and this is evidenced through the vast and broad alliances that WPP has developed to support and sustain its mission. Partnerships with corporate medical and surgical supply companies allow WPP to efficiently leverage resources and maintain lean program budgets year after year. Additional corporate partnerships include computer software programmers and special event sponsors that further minimize costs associated with running our organization.
WPP tracks and measures multiple indicators to evaluate program success. Quantitative process metrics include the number of children treated, the number of new patient referrals, rates of patient retention, the number of medical volunteers engaged, the value of in-kind services provided, the number of successfully matriculated trainees, prevalence of target diseases and conditions, and rates of post-operative complication. Qualitative feedback in the form of annual surveys given to medical volunteers, patients, and international partners allows WPP to tailor and adjust its approach and services on an ongoing basis to meet the needs of key stakeholders. Through these measures, WPP monitors and evaluates access to care, quality of care, collaboration and other key components of WPP’s work.
WPP utilizes a custom-designed database to store patient data and program indicators for reporting. Through this database, WPP monitors trends in patients served, services requested and health outcomes. The organization invests in staff to generate regular reporting from the database, as well as plan for further database development to complement the organization's monitoring of progress towards long term goals. Trends like growth in number of surgical interventions provided in-country, ages of children receiving surgical interventions, and increases or decreases in conditions like cleft lip and palate or spina bifida being observed are captured through the data entered to this database. This information provides more depth of insight regarding the effects of WPP's programs, and as is commonly the case in developing countries, helps to fill the information gap that exists due to a lack of baseline data for tertiary care needs that are known observationally.
WPP has recently developed a Monitoring & Evaluation advisory committee, comprised of key staff and physician advisors, to develop a new framework for assessing long-term impact of WPP’s work. A quality of life survey to understand the long-term impact of patient care is being implemented in 2014-2015. A new monitoring and evaluation assessment guide is also being developed to more rigorously track progress in capacity-building and prevention programs in the coming year.
WPP also utilizes logic models individualized to each service program to continually discern any missing links in the provision of optimal services and to evaluate progress toward specific goals. Monitoring key indicators of individual program success is an important step in evaluating WPP’s progress towards its desired long-term goals.
Since the organization’s establishment in 2001, WPP has developed, implemented and institutionalized core programs, with demonstrated success, and with continued collaboration and involvement of international partners and stakeholders. Short-term and intermediate outcomes achieved ensure that WPP is well positioned to accomplish its long term goals.
Initial outcomes achieved include: strategic growth and expansion of WPP Children of Today programs and institutionalization of those programs within target communities, and resulting decrease in children needing to travel abroad for care; continued support and pledged commitment from Ministries of Health and international partner hospitals; increased capacity of international partners to independently treat pediatric patients as a result of WPP training efforts; establishment of strategic Children of Tomorrow programs to meet expressed local needs for capacity building.
However, some issues remain that must be addressed if WPP is to achieve its ultimate long-term goals. Internally, WPP continues to seek out reliable and committed funding sources for long-term capacity building programs and eventually hopes to have those program budgets absorbed by the organization’s general operating budget. Externally, the absence of financial and resource mechanisms that allow international partners to assume local management of programs is a limiting factor in promoting local sustainability and decreased outside involvement. Supply chain limitations in partner countries make the provision and maintenance of equipment very difficult, which ultimately limits care-providing capacities on the ground. Devising strategies for addressing these systemic issues will be an important next step in WPP’s efforts to advance care for children in partner countries.