Dr Amy Lehman’s to-do list goes something like this:
- Ship medical supplies to remote lake-side clinics
- Persuade specialist surgical team to volunteer for new health outreach
- Arrange on-the-ground training for local healthcare workers
- Check technical team’s progress with new radio network
- Find solution for hospital operating without water and electricity
- Negotiate with communities, businesses, and governments x 4 countries
- Press on with fundraising to equip and launch floating hospital
It’s a seemingly impossible list. Yet HP is helping this visionary doctor to prove that everything’s possible.
Since we first announced our commitment at the Women in the World Summit in 2011, HP has been using its problem-solving skills and strategic thinking to help Dr. Lehman and her team deliver life-changing and life-saving healthcare to the people in the Lake Tanganyika basin in sub-Saharan Africa, which borders Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania, and Zambia. The ultimate aim is to construct, equip, and launch the Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic (LTFHC), a state-of-the-art ship capable of bringing modern medical services to the people and communities who live in virtual isolation on and around the shores of the world’s second largest freshwater lake, Lake Tanganyika.
Inspired by Dr Lehman’s dream and realizing our capacity to contribute to making it a reality and improving access to healthcare and the lives of the people of the Lake Tanganyika basin, HP has committed to supporting Dr. Lehman and LTFHC in a number ways. To date, HP has provided financial contributions for health outreach expeditions and construction of communications network as well as leveraging the company’s relationships and marketing and communications platforms to raise awareness of LTFHC’s mission and cause.
“Technology can play an enabling and transformational role, improving the quality of life,” says Paul Ellingstad, Global Health Director, HP Sustainability and Social Innovation. “Most of us take for granted our access to roads and telecommunications, but the people along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, by comparison, are very isolated from the rest of the world. In collaboration with Dr. Lehman and others, we can help to improve not only connectivity and healthcare but the lives of the people in the Lake Tanganyika basin.”
Following the design and planning of a communications network to link health clinics along the lake, a team led by LTFHC staff installed solar-powered radio equipment at eight different clinics and hospitals -- linking patients and health workers in remote areas of the DRC with each other and doctors and healthcare professionals at the Moba Regional Hospital, which is now capable of providing vital medical support to previously isolated communities.
In addition, HP’s contributions have helped to fund a health mission for Congolese and Tanzanian women needing surgical fistula repair (caused by childbirth complications) and related medical services, and have enabled two clinics to replace inefficient paper-based patient recording with modern electronic methods.
With so much more to be done, collaborative problem solving is essential. “This is what HP’s really good at—it’s part of the company’s DNA!” claims Ellingstad. “We strive to develop the most appropriate solutions for the problem or challenge at hand.”
Incremental steps are taking LTFHC closer to the launch of the floating clinic.
Support the mission of Dr. Lehman and the Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic by spreading the word, learning more, and getting involved.
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