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Spring/Summer 2012

Strengthening Health Care in Kuwait

Date: May 14, 2012

The Kuwait Ministry of  Health has signed a five-year collaboration agreement with Johns Hopkins Medicine International  (JHI) to improve the quality and delivery of health care at four of Kuwait’s five public general hospitals. The agreement, signed on Christmas Day 2011, also called for expanding  the nation’s pool of administrative  and clinical talent, and assessing  and addressing national public health issues.

“Our work at the community hospital level will set the foundation for much more advanced care in Kuwait for years to come,” says JHI managing director Zubin Kapadia. He expects that this foundation will make Kuwait more attractive to specialists, which means more in-country health care options down the line.

The relationship between Kuwait and Hopkins will be like a mentorship, says Kapadia. “Instead of simply implementing changes, we’ll raise their level of capacity by instructing and guiding them over five years.”

In Kuwaiti culture, successful mentorship requires carefully nurtured peer relationships, so that recommendations and advice are trusted and valued. Kapadia believes that this model will distinguish Hopkins in the marketplace, where most Western academic medical centers serve as leaders or managers.

Mentors will sit in teams at the four hospitals and be divided between administrators and medical experts. The clinicians will share best practices for procedures and treatments, and also for running a department.

A regional office will handle project-management details, recommending to the Ministry of Health strategic approaches to health administration and public health issues. The contract requires Hopkins to fill two public health official positions. From this office, they will be accessible to anyone within the public health system.

From Baltimore, project director Rebecca Altman will make sure that the people on the ground in Kuwait have the resources they need. She’ll also make frequent visits to the regional office. “We’ll empower a body of passionate, well-educated health care providers, and enable them to make changes that will have broad impact on care delivery. What’s even better is that we’ll help them establish the pathways to continue improvements even after we’re gone.”

Cymantha Governs