Reflections on the Primary Care Collaborative Meeting

reflectionsReflections on the Primary Care Collaborative meeting in Delhi, October 18-22, 2013, hosted by Results for Development
Monica Slinkard, Medical Director, LifeNet International

“Creativity. Openness. Inspiration. Innovation. Kindness. These are the words that I will use to try to capture the powerful experience of the Primary Care Collaborative hosted by Results for Development in Delhi, India. It was clear from day one that bringing together great, eager minds from around the globe with similar passions to sit, learn, and think together was a powerful innovation in and of itself. I was both delighted and surprised by how easily the group webbed together beautifully innovative ideas across the conference table through enthusiastic discourse.

A true open collaborative was created over a simple weekend together, one where we sought to help brainstorm about and creatively solve challenges in each organization. One where we openly shared material with each other and spurred each other on to use one another’s successes and failures as examples and starting blocks for our own change ideas. One where people met as people, not as titles, and encouraged each other through brilliant insights and kind hearts. Bringing together inspired, energized minds from India, Kenya, and Burundi, everyone at the collaborative had something unique to share with the group. No two people out of the nine thought in the same way and everyone often gave insight into how to approach tangential issues.

We were also able to share simple suggestions to common difficulties, like how to motivate personnel, cut day-to-day costs, and create working systems for effective medical record-keeping. A particular take away that I will incorporate immediately into practice is making sure that LifeNet is sure to share our vision with our partners; we need to make sure they see the top of the mountain that they’re climbing toward or else they may loose motivation to continue the climb. These practical applications are just as important as the system-wide improvements in terms of the potential success of our young organizations.

When working in the arena of health care development in the third-poorest country in the world, at times it can feel that the broken system of healthcare is beyond repair. The glimmers of hope come from the daily successes that we are privileged enough to see help us push through, but the heaviness of the environment can weigh down the mind’s ability to freely imagine and create. By removing myself from my immediate environment, my ‘normal,’ and meeting with colleagues that are striving toward the same goals of innovation and safe care in challenging environments, I was invigorated and refreshed by the light, uncluttered space to innovate, dream, and strategize. This initial weekend in Delhi has the potential to funnel a whirlwind of innovative ideas into real health impacts for the world’s poorest people. I look forward to our continued work together.”