On June 27 a delegation from Senegal’s National Agency for Universal Health Coverage (ANACMU) toured UConn Health’s clinical care, research and academic enterprises to find out what advancements they should consider bringing back to Senegal to improve health care access and patient outcomes.
“The ANACMU was created in Senegal in 2015 to coordinate a number of landmark health initiatives – free eldercare and subsidized community-based health insurance. These are difficult tasks in a country like Senegal,” says Yonatan Morse, assistant professor in UConn’s Department of Political Science, who coordinated the group’s international visit. “It is rare when one’s own research in another country can lead to longer-term and meaningful relationships.”
The stop at UConn Health is part of a week-long visit of the Senegal delegation to Connecticut. They aim to learn more about America’s health care delivery including locally in Connecticut. They also are exploring more about Medicaid/Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and how a large public medical center like UConn Health manages their relationship with insurers and promotes health. Additionally, they are meeting with Community Health Network of CT, Access Health CT, HUSKY-Health, Office of Health Strategy, the regional Social Security Administration Office, the Universal Health Care Foundation of CT, the Community Health Center in Middletown, the Connecticut Health Foundation, and the Connecticut Association of Health Plans.
“Together, we all play a big role in health and preventive care in our State of Connecticut,” said Khadija Poitras-Rhea, assistant vice president for population health at UConn Health. “UConn Health shows how significant a role a hospital plays and we will share some lessons learned with Senegal of what we have done in the state to promote health care.”
“There are lessons to be learned here in Connecticut,” also stressed Morse. “The goal of universal health coverage is challenging in the developing world, but not unattainable. What the ANACMU is trying to achieve is quite remarkable, and I hope that their visit in some way helps them build the necessary vocabulary and expertise to improve their health system.”
“We take care of all,” shared Dr. Scott Allen, chief medical officer of UConn Health, as he led the delegation’s tour of UConn Health’s state-of-the-art Emergency Department and UConn John Dempsey Hospital’s inpatient floors.
“It’s wonderful and impressive with very comprehensive facilities and IT,” said M. Mamadou Racine Senghor, Secretary General of the ANACMU, after touring the academic medical center of UConn Health. “Your hospital is about concern for public health and research.”
A medical doctor, Justine Ngom who serves the Medical Control Department of the ANACMU, shared that UConn Health is very different from her Senegal health care facilities.
“It’s very different and UConn Health is huge,” Ngom says. “We are here to learn about your care and see if there are some skills to exchange. There are many issues to manage when managing a health system.”
Ngom is very hopeful for the future of health care in Senegal.
“If I learn to better manage a hospital, I may have many ideas to bring change,” she says.
ANACMU’s Secretary General Senghor also shared at the end of the tour: “The way UConn Health welcomed us is wonderful.”
Other members of the visiting delegation from ANACMU included Dr. Bocar Mamadou Daff, Director General; M. Sergine Diouf, Director of Operations; Mme. Khady Fall Dia, Director of Planning; Mme. Aminata Cisse – Chargée de Missions; and Mme. Rachel Virginie Coly, Secretary General of the Ministry of Community Development and Social & Territorial Integrity.