Providing Critical Resources to Support Successful Health Care Delivery
B4G reflects innovative partnerships among public and private institutions working together to mobilize bamboo resources to address critical social needs in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, and Tanzania. We see bamboo as a valuable catalyst for social empowerment, economic vitality, and environmental health.
Our B4G mission:
B4G provides leadership for uniting regional bamboo resources with institutional partnerships to create innovative bamboo industries and products, new workforce and economic development opportunities, and related educational programs, to address critical urban and rural quality-of-life conditions across East Africa.
Every day, across Uganda and East Africa, millions of people, their families, and their home communities face challenges of inadequate access to routine health care, resulting in personal hardship, community disadvantages, lost economic potential, among other avoidable consequences. Children, youth and women are especially vulnerable, as are those at risk of exposure to or infected with HIV, Malaria or other public health maladies. Supplying clinics with adequate, affordable health and medical resources remains critical as patients seek to receive health services.
For example, with regard to adequate service provisions for people with HIV/AIDS, Walakiri et al (2014) report that,
HIV and AIDS remains a significant public health problem. Globally, an estimated 34 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2011 (UNAIDS 2012). Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains the most severely affected region, accounting for 69 % of the people living with HIV worldwide, with nearly 1 in every 20 adults (4.9 %) infected (UNAIDS 2012). HIV incidence also remains unacceptably high: an estimated 2.5 million people (adults and children) acquired HIV infection in 2011 (UNAIDS 2012). Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 71 % of the adults and children newly infected in 2011 (UNAIDS 2012). Further, an estimated 1.7 million people died from AIDS-related causes worldwide in 2011, with SSA accounting for 70 % of all the people dying from AIDS (UNAIDS 2012).
Local, versatile, fast-growing, and strong – East Africa’s bamboo resources can bring new innovative health care products and technologies, new jobs, new economic development – new beginnings for people and communities seeking improved health care throughout their country and region. B4G staff and partners can bring depth of knowledge and experience to the design, manufacturing, and fulfillment of bamboo products to meet regional health care needs and crisis interventions.
B4H will build on the vision and capacities of its B4G sister programs to collaboratively design, manufacture, and distribute bamboo products made of regionally grown bamboo, and made by a regionally-trained and employed workforce. Our public / private partnerships will create new businesses opportunities throughout East Africa, affiliated with B4H and devoted to producing quality bamboo products in support of critical health care service delivery.
What is Critical?
Every B4H artifact produced will represent the B4G mission and its related system of beneficial impacts. Our products will directly and indirectly contribute to improving the quality of life for all. Indeed, we view the resolution of poverty and economic hardship, and general social empowerment, as critical to the successful, sustainable future of the region and the planet.
For example, bamboo can be used to affordably produce:
- disposable (biodegradable) swabs, tongue depressors, and pill or ointment containers
- lightweight chairs, beds, tables and stands, privacy blinds, and other clinical interior features
- braces, crutches, canes, walkers, and wheel chairs
- frames for long-lasting insecticide mosquito nets (LLIN)
- washing stations and bathing accessories.
B4H development of products in critical need by health services will be made by a regionally-trained and employed workforce -- combining and amplifying support for good health with local job and economic development, and quality-of-life improvements. A win-win-win!
Our process for designing and delivering critical health and medical resources to local citizens, clinics, and hospitals is deliberately uncomplicated:
- Contact and meet with village and community leaders, local residents, health care providers: Listen and learn about their experiences, and reveal how bamboo resource would be of benefit;
- Together, determine types and scope of health care needs through the community: what are the critical unmet or under-served needs? What resources would make a beneficial difference?
- Introduce and discuss bamboo product prototypes and invite the community to indicate their preferences.
- Mobilize our B4H partners to manufacture and deliver identified health products to communities.
- Collaboratively design methodologies for evaluating product performance and provide reports for continuous quality improvement.
B4H product design and performance will reflect industry best-practices: High-quality, durable components; Designs that honor and best serve diverse health care needs; and, Made in, by, and for citizens throughout East Africa.
Four elements define all of our ambitious B4G programs:
Our Objectives and General Targets
- Introduce designs of 1st generation products
- Hire, train, and support farmers to grow bamboo at specified volumes and conditions
- Complete training and hire new workers to build, deliver, service the products
- Draft and begin implementation of recording / tracking usage data to coincide with unit deliveries
- First delivery of units (TBD) per quarter.
Our Action Plan
Beginning in 2016, B4G is pursuing the following activities for all of its programs:
- Recruit to create an Interdisciplinary Design Team to provide leadership and guidance on all aspects of the B4H program system
- Seek and secure financial and material (in-kind) support for implementation of Action Plan
- Design and launch B4H webpage, social media, and related information materials to support community outreach and engagement
- Research and reveal status of existing bamboo resources in Uganda and throughout East Africa
- Collaboratively determine best-practices for new workforce training, design of facilities and manufacturing processes, and local distribution of and support for resulting products.