Mercy health promoters: A paradigm for implementing third world practices for resource-poor conditions of the developed world
Peter A Clark, Luke Surry
Med Sci Monit 2007; 13(3): PH1-8
The foreign-born population in the United States, according to the “Current Populations Report” published in 2004, is estimated to exceed 33.5 million, or “11.7 percent of the U.S. population”. The increase in foreign-born peoples and their need for health care is a complicated issue facing many cities, health systems and hospitals. Over the course of the past few years Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia has treated increasing numbers of foreign-born African patients. The majority have been presenting in the late stages of disease. The increase of foreign-born documented and undocumented African patients seen by Mercy Hospital seems to refl ect a foreign-born population “boom” in Philadelphia over the past decade. To meet the needs of this growing population, the Mercy Hospital Task Force on African Immigration designed a program that centers on the developing world concept of “Health Promoters”. This program is intended to serve as one possible solution for hospitals to cost-effectively manage the care of this growing percentage of foreignborn individuals in the population. This notion of a “Health Promoter” program in Philadelphia is unique as one of those rare occasions when a developing world concept is being utilized in a developed world environment. It is also unique in that it can serve as a paradigm for other hospitals in the United States to meet the growing need of health care for the undocumented population.
Keywords: Health Resources - supply & distribution, Ethics, Medical, Developing Countries, Developed Countries, Hospitals - trends, Humans, Philadelphia, Public Health - trends, Social Justice