The Harvard School of Public Health (SPH) received a $6 million grant from the State Department this week to launch a project designed to improve health services around the world.
The five-year grant, funded by the federal Agency of International Development, will be used to increase the efficiency of medical care in developing nations.
SPH faculty member Julia A. Walsh, the project's director, said that the aim of the project is to find a "cost-efficient way to supply the health services to developing countries as the population trends there change."
Walsh said that many of these developing nations have the finances, clinics and personnel to supply adequate health care to the public, but these resources are poorly managed. The goal of the project will be to help utilize these resources better, she said.
"We want to help them better use existing data, and enhance training in accumulating data, so these nations can make better decisions about their health programs," said Eliot T. Putnam '61, a deputy director of the project.
The project is scheduled to begin in 1992 with an assessment of the health systems of various nations. After choosing which nations will participate in the project, health professionals will gather for a training session, Walsh said.
Walsh said that while several similar projects already underway have taken a long time to get going, she hopes that this one gets off to a quick start.
"I am enthusiastic and optimistic to get the project off the ground," she said. Walsh said that an important part of the project's success would lie in the caliber of its participants, many of whom are highly experienced SPH professionals.
Putnam said that he expects the project to be a success.
"I expect the project to go well because it is terrific idea and it will fulfill an important need in these nations," said Putnam.
The project may be extended or expanded beyond five years if it is successful, Walsh said.