Expanded Offerings for HVO in 2019

Health Volunteers Overseas Expands Collaboration Helps to Address Health Care Challenges

Since 2016, ACOG has partnered with Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) to address the challenges of improving women’s health care. HVO, a US-based nonprofit organization, has spent more than 31 years working with partners in resource-scarce countries to provide teaching, training and professional opportunity to health workers. ACOG sponsors HVO’s program in obstetrics and gynecology.

Three Generations mom baby grandma in Hue Vietnam

In early 2017, HVO began recruiting volunteers for projects in Kampala, Uganda; and Hue Vietnam. By the next year opportunities for service were opened in Deschapelles, Haiti; Kampot, Cambodia; and Bhutan. This year, the program expanded to include Kambale, Uganda.

In 2018, 18 ACOG Fellows volunteered around the world – five in Haiti, seven in Kampala, Uganda; and four in Vietnam. By the end of 2019, 10 FACOGs volunteered in Vietnam, seven in Kampala, Uganda; seven in Kampot, Cambodia; and one each in Kabale, Uganda, and Haiti.

Each site is vetted, and the experiences are dependent on the needs of the site. For instance, volunteers to HVO’s project in Uganda serve a minimum of one week, giving lectures, providing surgical training, and mentoring local health workers while on-site. HVO volunteers working at the Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital in Kampot, Cambodia provide formal lectures and informal continuing education in obstetrics and gynecology to staff, students, and residents. The assignments in Vietnam are 2-4 weeks.

Dr. Leslee Jaeger, who volunteered in Haiti in 2018 (and Vietnam in 2019), said of the Haiti experience, “Teaching skills to physicians so that they can expand their care of Haitian women was very rewarding and emphasized the reality that we need to teach more than do on these trips.”

Dr. Meg Autry who helped to launch the HVO project in Uganda and serves as project director, vetting and preparing volunteers for the project has been visiting the hospitals sites – Makerere University and Mulago Hospital – in Kampala, Uganda for over a decade.

“I think the important things to emphasize is that the advantage of volunteering with HVO versus other opportunities is that the sites are vetted,” observed Dr. Autry. “There’s support on the ground, and they’re longitudinal – it’s an ongoing collaboration.”

You can learn more about volunteering by visiting the HVO website at www.hvousa.org/ob-gyn

You can read more about the HVO in Uganda here: https://www.acog.org/About-ACOG/ACOG-Departments/Global-Womens-Health/News-and-Resources/HVO-in-Uganda




American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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