Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"What makes a new NGO succeed?"

Alanna Shaikh discusses "What makes a new NGO succeed?" on Blood and Milk.

Well, it looks like our group has a few of these things right:
  1. We are, indeed, highly targeted - anesthesia education is pretty niche. Although we're happy to teach non-anesthesia providers (last year in Kintampo, Ghana we taught trauma management and chronic pain management to PA-equivalents), we do focus on those subject areas in which we are experts.
  2. Our name (International Anesthesia Education Forum) could be sexier, but the only alternatives we could come up with were acronyms that spelled rude words.
  3. Funding, thus far, consists of our wallets. We will eventually be looking for donors, but our intent is to stay away from the really big boys - mostly for the reasons Ms. Shaikh notes in her article, but also because we do not need much, and the big boys balk at relatively small amounts. However, Mr. Gates' recent experience may change that paradigm.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gates Grants - Five Years In

Interesting article in the New York Times (20/12/2010) regarding the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's attempt to fund the resolutions to the biggest problems in global health.

Seems that this article, and Mr. Gates' experience, reinforces what Easterly has been saying since 2006. Namely, that "planners" will throw excessive amounts of money at a problem with limited (but always disappointing) effects, while "seekers" achieve much more with less.

Kudos to Mr. Gates for admitting the error.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Travel tips

As part of my international anesthesia education work I have found myself in some interesting and out-of-the-way places. Consequently I have picked up some tips. I figured this was a good place to share them.
As I develop more hints and tips I will post them on the 'Travel Tips' page - stay tuned.


For anyone interested in 3rd world aid (medical or otherwise), the following are a great resource. Granted, they are largely of one mind regarding the big picture, but it's hard to argue with people of their experience.
As I find them, I will post additional books of interest on the 'Global Health / Surgery Books' page.

New idea

Given the fast approaching New Year, thought I'd fire up an idea I've been toying with - blogging. I find writing things down to be a worthwhile way to solidify ideas. Twitter is too brief, LinkedIn too formal, FaceBook too..... social. Blogging may be juuuust right.
I hope to start / enter into conversations regarding global health, humanitarian aid, medical education etc etc.

Dusk on Cape Coast beach.

It's also a way to get some of my projects from the 'real' world into the 'virtual' world.
As part of my international anesthesia education work, I have cause to spend time in many developing countries. Consequently I have picked up some hints and tricks, from experience and from other people. Thought this would be a good place to share.

By no means am I intending this blog to be read by the hard-core aid workers whose work and blogs I admire so much. Rather, I hope to help those like me who are trying to juggle a career and a family, and still help some colleagues in medically-underserved regions of the world.

We'll see.