The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center - ECHO Institute

Project ECHO: Empowering Local Communities to Solve Global Health Disparities Highly Ranked

Lead Organization

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center - ECHO Institute

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Every year, millions suffer and die from conditions we know how to prevent, manage, and cure, because healthcare practitioners in underserved areas lack needed knowledge, training, and support. Imagine thousands of health workers effectively treating conditions like hepatitis C, HIV, or tuberculosis in their own communities, without sending patients hundreds of miles away to medical centers where care is too costly and too late. Project ECHO makes this possible by building communities of practice that connect local providers with specialists for remote training and mentoring. The ECHO Institute trains and supports partners worldwide to use the ECHO model for their priority health challenges. We will scale across India and Africa so that, by 2024, 100 million people will receive high-quality specialty health care locally. We will also implement a new digital infrastructure to more effectively disseminate training/support and quality improvement resources across our global network.

Problem Statement

Financing and philanthropy for global health have increased in recent years, yet healthcare inequities persist: in 2015, the World Bank and World Health Organization reported that half the world lacks access to essential health services, let alone specialist services for common, complex diseases such as HIV or tuberculosis. Consider that, in Africa in 2015:•760,000 died from HIV/AIDS•643,000 died from diarrheal diseases•434,000 died from tuberculosis India is a destination of choice for Western medical tourism. Its specialists offer world-class medical care at vastly lower rates than the developed world, yet most citizens lack access to decent healthcare. In India in 2017:•Suicides increased by 40% from 1990•1400 died every day of tuberculosis •Over 8 million were infected with the hepatitis C virusLack of workforce capacity contributes to this problem. Knowledge of effective treatments and procedures is growing, yet rapid, effective dissemination of that knowledge to improve health outcomes has not kept pace. Cutting-edge, best-practice knowledge is often only available to those living near advanced care and research centers. This imbalance of medical knowledge severely impacts rural, underserved communities and manifests via premature deaths, health disparities, economic burdens, and low quality of life. Globally, almost four billion people could benefit significantly from distributing knowledge of best practices to address health and social concerns. Project ECHO empowers local experts to get the right knowledge to the right people, in the right places, at the right time.

Solution Overview

With respective populations of 1.3 billion and 1.2 billion and disproportionate shares of the global disease burden, India and Africa are priorities for the ECHO Institute. Project ECHO has made a significant impact on providers and patients in India, thanks to our Delhi branch office and support from the Merck Foundation and Co-Impact. The Indian government has written ECHO into national guidelines for treating TB, mental health, and hepatitis C. By 2024, we will establish regional offices in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Kolkata, enabling us to support India’s national health priorities: •Provision of best-practice mental health care to 20 million patients•Cure of 500,000 hepatitis C patients •Embed the ECHO model in the DNA of the Indian government’s TB elimination plan In Africa, we will establish regional offices in South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire, and a training center in Tanzania or Kenya. We will support development and promote research through annual regional conferences in Africa and India, and a global biannual conference. ECHO Digital – an open-source digital platform for partner training, support, outcomes tracking, and resource-sharing – will synthesize our existing training, support, and evaluation infrastructure into a comprehensive, globally-accessible online system for all partners to share ECHO best practices. With the additional capacity that our branch offices, training centers, and ECHO Digital will unlock, we will scale our India partners to 750 and Africa partners to 250. We will reach one million new participant-learners, each with the potential to provide better care to hundreds of patients.

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Project Funders

  • Co-Impact 2019 - 2024
  • Goradia Foundation 2015 - 2019
  • Merck Foundation 2016 - 2021

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