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HOSPITALS IN U.S. AND FORMER SOVIET UNION UNITE IN HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP

 HOSPITALS IN U.S. AND FORMER SOVIET UNION
 UNITE IN HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP
 WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The American International Health Alliance (AIHA) in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced the formation of the first 11 health care partnerships between U.S. hospitals and medical facilities in the former Soviet Union. The partnerships will offer new hope for millions of men, women and children in the New Independent States (NIS) now being served by a health care system plagued not only be a severe lack of resources, but also by outmoded medical practice and a general lack of management systems and administrative skills.
 The partnerships will draw on the expertise of American physicians, hospital administrators, nurses and technical staff on a voluntary basis to address the specific health care problems facing each NIS partner during this transition period. A series of intense two-to-four week training exchanges of relevant personnel will be the backbone of the program.
 "Health care is one of the most important domestic issues facing the former Soviet Union," said James P. Smith, executive director of AIHA. "AIHA hospital partnerships will address the critical health care and delivery problems confronting a system which is as much as 40 years behind U.S. standards in several areas, including infectious disease control, sterilization, patient management, quality control and hospital administration. By working with their NIS counterparts in the development of model hospitals and centers of clinical excellence, the impact of this cooperative effort will be felt well beyond these 11 institutions."
 "This new program directly links doctors and nurses in communities throughout the United States with their colleagues in the New Independent States," said Dr. Carol Adelman, assistant administrator for the Europe Bureau at the U.S. Agency for International Development. "The exciting aspect of these partnerships is that they support the spirit of volunteerism and community involvement so fundamental to the American experience." USAID is the government agency that administers U.S. economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.
 The dissolution of the Soviet union has greatly strained the health care delivery system in the NIS. Like all institutions in the NIS, hospitals must respond to the breakdown of central authority and simultaneously adapt to a market economy. Now that the decision- making process has moved from Moscow to the republics, each hospital must learn to more efficiently utilize what few resources are now afforded them.
 AIHA, a consortium of national hospital and hospital-related organizations, is operating under a $13.5 million cooperative agreement with USAID to initiate and coordinate the health care partnerships. AIHA plans to establish at least one partnership in each of the new independent states over the next several months and partnerships in as many as 20 cities by the end of 1993.
 According to Daniel P. Bourque, chairman of AIHA's board of directors: "Hospitals in the New Independent States are the major vehicles for the delivery of both primary and acute care to approximately 300 million people. These institutions are currently under tremendous stress. American hospitals can help their counterparts in the NIS develop the capacity to function in a market economy and thus make an important contribution to stability in these emerging democracies."
 Also speaking at today's press conference, representatives of the Kansas City/Bishkek partnership -- Glenn Potter, vice chancellor for hospital administration, University of Kansas Medical Center, and Dr. Kafan Subanbaev, deputy minister of health for the Republic of Kyrgyzstan -- were enthusiastic in their support of this mutually beneficial program.
 "We not only hope to help our Kyrgyz counterparts address some of the difficult challenges now facing them, we hope to learn much from them in the process," said Potter. "As the term 'partnership' implies, this is a two-way street."
 The partnership program represents an unprecedented form of international assistance. Capitalizing on the volunteer commitments of U.S. health care institutions, AIHA/USAID funds will largely support travel and other costs usually not covered by in-kind contributions. The partners themselves will donate the personnel time and logistical support for partnership activities at their respective institutions.
 "The contributions of human resources by the U.S. hospitals and their personnel in these first 11 partnerships amounts to over $4 million," said Smith about what he termed "a unique public-private effort" to assist the former Soviet Union.
 USAID and AIHA plans also call for the development of modern medical libraries in each partnership city, and the provision of American medical equipment and pharmaceuticals from private donors in the United States. The partner hospitals will serve as models to be replicated throughout the former Soviet Union.
 -0- 10/21/92
 /CONTACT: Matt Leafstedt of the American International Health Alliance, 202-789-1136, or Kate Latta of USAID, 202-647-9137/ CO: American International Health Alliance; U.S. Agency for
 International Development ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:


TW -- DC015 -- 2923 10/21/92 13:00 EDT
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Date:Oct 21, 1992
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