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      "Conversations with Harold Hudson Channer"

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                                             GUEST

                                      (Originally aired 07-26-05)

   DR. SEKOU M. SYLLA

              

 

                                     

                     Founder & President:

 

             

                           

           The Guinea  Development Foundation                  

                                www.guineadev.org

 

                                         drsylla@guineadev.org

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More About:

DR. SEKOU M. SYLLA & THE GUINEA DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATIONS

 

Sekou Michael Sylla, M.D., MPH Personal Background Place of Birth Republic of Guinea, West Africa. Permanent resident, USA. Languages French, English, Africa languages Travel Experience Central, East, West and North Africa; Lebanon; Israel; Europe; West Indies, Bahamas, Puerto Rico; USA and Canada. Professional Experience 1988 - present President, Guinea Development Foundation. Created and currently directs this nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist in the social and economic development of the country. The Board of Directors of the GDF is comprised of distinguished representatives from the fields of business, industry, health and government service. One of the GDF's primary goals is to improve the quality and delivery of health care servcies to underserved areas. 1991 - 1992 Research Associate and Consultant Community Health Center for HIV/AIDS Education School of Public Health, Columbia University 1979 - 1988 President, American/African Medical and Surgical Supplies,Inc. a company providing health care in African countries 1978 - 1979 Surgical Assistant, St. Clare's Hospital, New York, NY Assisted the late Dr. Michael Jordam, Professor and Director, Obstetrics-Gynecology Service. 1978 Physician with New York Board of Health Directed three nurses in Federal lead poisoning control program 1976 - 1978 Assistant to the Director, Associated Mission Medical Office (AMMO), Division of Overseas Ministries, National Council of Churches, New York, NY. Investigated and prepared reports on nutrition, tropical virues and filarial infections in Africa. 1974 - 1976 Research Associate, St. Luke's Hospital Medical Center, New York Assisted Director of the Division of Metabolism and Nutrition; researched metabolic diseases and nutritional-related disorders in vitro. 1971 - 1973 Emergency Room Physician, Matte-Garde, Paris, France Physician in charge of patients in private and government hospitals Medical Interships, Research Fellowships and Assistantships 1989 - 1991 Graduate Research Assistant, Columbia University College of Pysicians and Surgeons, School of Public Health, Division of Tropical Medicine. 1989 - 1990 Research Fellow, Sickle Cell Anemia, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology. 1970 - 1971 Hospital Kremlin-Bicetre, Seine, France. Special training in intensive care unit in General Medicine. Received special certificate in ICU. 1968 - 1971 Internships in Paris, France and Oxford, England. Certificates in Obstetrics-Gynecology. Surgical training in both countries. Education Masters of Public Health, Columbia University of Public Health, Division of Tropical Medicine, 1992. M.D., Faculty of Medicine, Parid Sud, France, 1970. Graduated with honors. Faculty of Sciences, Censier, Paris France, 1963. Certificate in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Medical Licenses and Other Certification New York State permanent license in all areas of laboratory research, specifically involving nutrution, metabolism, in vitro. Temporary M. D. license in Medicine and Surgery in the State of Connecticut. ACLS/CPR Certification.

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Since April 1984, the government of Guinea has undertaken a fundamental transformation of its national institutions and its socio-economic structures. As a part of this new effort, the Guinea Development Foundation was established by a group of Guinean nationals, supported by friends of Guinea throughout the world.

Health conditions in the Republic of Guinea are among the poorest in the world as classified in 1993 by the UNDP. Its population of approximately eight million people have a life expectancy at birth of only 39 years, while the average in sub-saharan Africa is over 50. The infant mortality rate is 155 per thousand live births and the mortality rate for children under age 5 is 44 per thousand. This figure represents 50 percent of all deaths in the country. In addition, maternal mortality is also high at 8 per thousand pregnancies and a crude birth rate of 45 per thousand.

In the industrialized world, having a family member seriously ill or handicapped is the exception rather than the rule. In the tropics, however, disease is a way of life. Everyday Guineans contend with the illnesses found all over the world, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, cancer, heart disease, AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections; as well as the many fatal and debilitating diseases that are predominately found in the tropics. Respiratory diseases, malaria, diarrhea, onchocerciasis, leprosy and other preventable and treatable ailments such as measles, tuberculosis, pertussis, poliomyelitis and tetanus account for three quarters of reported cases of morbidity. In both rural and urban regions, the inaccessibility to potable water and poor sanitation are the primary causes of parasitic and endemic diseases, especially among children under the age of five.

These figures are dramatically disparate from those of the United States in which the infant mortality rate is approximately 9.8 per thousand and the life expectancy is over 75 years.

The Guinean Ministry of Health and Population has made numerous attempts to improve the overall administration of the country's health care system. Limited resources and increasing demands, however, consistently disrupt distribution of health care services and often favor urban centers at the expense of rural areas. In Guinea over 73 percent of the population live in areas inaccessible to health care services provided in urban centers. In addition to being underserved, Guinea's rural population is largely illiterate. This adds to the challenge of reaching these communities.


The Republic of Guinea has an area of 94,926 square miles-over twice the size of Pennsylvania-with a population of about 8,000,000. Despite the fact that the Republic of Guinea is endowed with rich natural resources, such as bauxite, iron ore, diamond, gold, uranium, cobalt, oil and gas, etc... it has been classified by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as the least developed country in the world.

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The Guinea Development Foundation, is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation which seeks to improve the nation's preventative, primary and emergency health care services and to develop sustainable plans for the delivery of such service, with particular emphasis on Guinea's under-served, rural areas.

 

Since its inception in 1988, The Guinea Development Foundation has dedicated itself to the social and economic progress of Guinea. Recognizing the important relationship between good health and national progress, the Foundation has sought the cooperation of individuals and organizations in the promotion of modern health care services in the rural sectors where the needs are greatest. Its program for action is fivefold:

1. Education of rural populations in basic preventive measures related to health.

2. Establishment of rural treatment and inoculation centers.

3. Adaptation of successful health care programs from other countries to local conditions.

4. Training of local health care providers.

5. AIDS education and prevention.

 

 The Plan: Boffa Health Center

 

Aims and Objectives With the assistance of both private and public donors, the Guinea Development Foundation seeks to join the common efforts to assist every Guinean citizen to gain access to quality medical care through an improvement in the quality of the nation's preventive, primary, emergency, and all other health care services.

Our objectives will be implemented through an existing pyramidal organization structure that is characteristic of the nation's health services system. Program implementation will begin by first targeting primary health care clinics in rural settings. Generally, these clinics provide the first line of treatment for the population in the rural areas of the country. Approximately 75 to 85% of the health care needs of these rural settings are managed by these local hospitals and clinics. Given the large portion of the population that these treatment centers see on a regular basis, our plans for the development of Guinea's health care infrastructure quite logically begin with them.

We plan simultaneously to improve the quality of care offered through regional medical posts, subprefectorial centers, and prefecturial hospitals, all of which provide more specialized treatment facilities. Finally, at the highest levels of Guinea's system of health care, we will be offering programs to the regional hospitals and the capital's two university hospitals.

Paralleling this main thrust, the Foundation also seeks to create a number of different projects within non governmental organizations (including various community living centers). Our goal is to stimulate development of projects in the private sector that will eventually become self-supporting and that will test new ideas for increasing access to health care services for the creation of new public services.

These pilot projects will provide us with an opportunity to test a variety of health promotion and disease prevention strategies. We are particularly interested, for example, in social marketing strategies which, if successful, would provide us with the ability to produce effective health education programs. In a nation with a quite low literacy rate, we hope to create a wide variety of materials using new technologies such as video, but also incorporating standard approaches using pamphlets and brochures (published in all native tongues as well as in picture format).

Evaluation of these efforts will be undertaken by experts from the Columbia University School of Public Health (New York), the Morehouse School of Medicine (Atlanta), and other international institutions.

Starting with the Boffa area of Guinea (a region consisting of 231 villages, which currently have limited or no health care services) we plan to expand these services to all areas of the country.

Who will benefit from the program and how

The program we envision will be targeted to the general population, but with particular focus on women of child bearing age, children, senior citizens, and the handicapped.

They will benefit as a result of improved education, changes in health behavior patterns, and increased access to health services. If successful, these efforts will result in reduced rates of infant and maternal mortality and morbidity, and lower incidence of malaria, childhood diseases, and diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases.

Statistical breakdown of direct beneficiaries

As noted previously, there are approximately 142,000 people to 146,000 within the 231 villages we hope to serve. Of that number, approximately 85% will directly benefit from this program i.e. approximately:

(a) 35,000 to 45,000 men;
(b) 35,500 to 49,000 women;
(c) 40,000 to48,000 children;

including:

(d) 2,000-3,000 the handicapped;
(e) 10,000-25,000 senior citizens

Statistical breakdown of indirect beneficiaries

It is impossible to give a precise breakdown of the indirect beneficiaries. These will include people in surrounding regions who hear about the program and who attempt to imitate its successes. We have become convinced that we will be filling a health care vacuum whose existence is well understood by the region's inhabitants. Without adequate census data we are unable to project with great accuracy how many inhabitants will ultimately be served, however, we are convinced that given the immense needs of this population that we will quite probably be in a position to serve the vast majority of the region's population.

 


 

 

 

              

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             CONVERSATIONS WITH HAROLD HUDSON CHANNER

            Friday May 26, 2006 10:30 - 11:30 AM  / (NYC Time)

            Channel 34 of the Time/Warner & Channel 110 of the RCN 
                   Cable Television Systems in Manhattan, New York

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                                click on channel 34 AT THE SITE

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