Established in 2001, International Healthcare Volunteers is composed of international doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals as well as in-country medical professionals many of whom work at local hospitals. Along with direct patient care, IHCV is committed to providing support for sustainable programs and continuing medical education.
The organization is headed by James Aikins, Jr., MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey and an Associate Professor of OB/GYN at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
The catalyst resulting in the formation of International Healthcare Volunteers was a tragedy which could have easily been prevented which highlighted the urgent need for medical services in developing countries. During a trip to his hometown of Cape Coast, Ghana in 2001, Dr. Aikins visited with a 21-year-old family daughter of a cousin who was about to give birth. He left to visit relatives in other areas of the country then returned to Cape Coast only to find that, although a healthy baby had been born, the mother bled to death two days later. This happened as a result of a postpartum hemorrhoid, a complication routinely treated in the United States.
Dr. Aikins learned that the hospital had few doctors, let alone specialists in women’s health. The reality was that the best students, like Dr. Aikins himself, left Ghana to study and pursue careers in the US and Europe. As he explains, ''In those developing countries, people were dying from common ailments that don't require much to take care of”.
He had thought about trying to do medical work abroad for years, but this experience moved Dr. Aikins to take action. In 2001 Dr. Aikins founded International Healthcare Volunteers, a grass-roots organization made up of New Jersey doctors and nurses, and the organization has sponsored two-week-long medical missions to Ghana every year since then. In 2009 IHCV also started medical missions to Jamaica.
Every year doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals donate their time, expertise, and finances to these medical missions. In addition, participating organizations such as Cooper University Hospital, Ethicon, and Boston Scientific have donated medical equipment and surplus medical supplies to help address the pressing healthcare needs of families in the developing world.
Cooper University Hospital
ETHICON JOHNSON & JOHNSON COMPANY
Robert Wood University Hospital
Two Step-Up Corporation
Ministry of Women and Children- Ghana
Central Regional Health Administration
Cape Coast Municipal Council
To provide sustainable programs for underserved women and their families
To provide continuing medical education for health professionals
To provide global health elective opportunities for Cooper Medical School of Rowan University and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School students as well as Residents and Fellows from both institutions.
Ongoing training and mentorship for Ghanaian midwives for cervical cancer screening
Mentorship for physicians in training from Ghana and the US
Cervical cancer screening initiated in 2008
Colon cancer screening initiated in 2007
HIV Screening/Treatment initiated in 2009
Over 1,167 total procedures
Over 13,600 patients treated since 2001
This work is only possible with your help. To improve women’s health and healthcare in these underserved areas, International Healthcare Volunteers needs financial support, as well as donations of medical and surgical equipment, supplies, and medications.
Board of Directors - http://www.ihcv.org/board-of-directors/