Organization working to improve the health in underserved areas

Funing workshop May 2014-community project planning

For more than 40 years, Global Health Action has followed through on its mission to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities in underserved areas.

Global Health Action, a 501(c)3 nonprofit based out of Decatur, fulfills that mission though community-based health programs and livelihood opportunities. In 1972, Dr. Ada Fort and Virginia Proctor, both administrators at Emory University School of Nursing, recruited a group of leaders from Atlanta’s health, religious, business, and education communities to create Global Health Action, which was originally named International Nursing Services Association.

International Nursing Services Association was founded to foster healthier communities around the world and initially focused on health education and management training for nurses from developing countries. Since then, the organization has evolved, including changing the name to Global Health Action in 1993.

According to the organization, the name was changed to Global Health Action to better reflect the “broader purpose and global outreach.” Global Health Action President and CEO Robin Davis said the organization’s mission has evolved since its founding, but has always focused on improving the health of people and communities around the world by building the knowledge and skills of local, health providers and community leaders.

Immunization clinic Petit Goave Haiti (1)
“Currently, Global Health Action’s efforts and programs have shifted from conducting international health leadership and management training to a greater focus on designing and supporting community health programs and livelihood opportunities in specific locations,” she said. “Today Global Health Action’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities in under-served parts of the world through community-based health programs and livelihood opportunities.”

The group has programs and partnerships in Haiti and rural China. It has conducted community-based health and development programs in Haiti since 1980, primarily focused on the rural and mountainous Leogane District to the west of Port-au-Prince. The programs serve basic health and development needs of poor, rural Haitians, who often live in isolated communities and have limited access to services.

Global Health Action has worked in China since 2001, with a pilot project focused on women’s health and reproductive health in Heilongjiang Province.

The organization has also built partnerships locally. From 2002 to 2009, it partnered with the DeKalb County School District to educate students about HIV and AIDS issues and other health risks by using peer-to-peer presentations and in-school programs to reach middle and high school students, according to Davis.

“Plans are underway in 2015 to begin another program on a local level focused on health issues faced by individuals in our community,” Davis said.
The organization is partnering also with students from the Westminster Schools this year in a program and fundraising effort to purchase nail trimmers and hand hygiene kits for 1,200 children in China.

“High school students in Eastchester, N.Y., are learning about our China Program and the issues faced by China’s left-behind children,” Davis said. “These students are raising funds for solar panels needed at the rural school.”

Davis also said programs are being evaluated to make improvements for greater impact and the most effective use of resources and human capital.
“This year, Global Health Action plans to expand its rural womens’ goat/livestock cooperative program to more sites in Haiti and will strengthen its community health program by training new community health workers,” Davis said. “In rural China, our partnership program focused on the left-behind children will further expand its community and school-based efforts and activities from one county into seven rural counties of Jiangsu Province.”

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