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For Release: August 29, 2006
Contact: Susan Knapp (603) 646-3661

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New Kosovo Partnership Will Promote Healthy Mothers and Babies

Hanover, NH—Dartmouth Medical School and Kosovo's Ministry of Health have launched an Alliance for Healthy Newborns in an effort to improve the health and health care of pregnant women and their infants in Kosovo. The 18-month initiative is funded by the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, through their Global Development Alliance, or GDA, program.

A new program is helping women and infants in Kosovo. Front row from left to right: Donald O. Kollisch, Ellen F. Thompson, George A. Little, Cristina Hammond, all with Dartmouth. Back row from left to right: James C. Strickler, Elaine P. Livingston, and William W. Young, all with Dartmouth; and Robert E. Webber, Founder Webber & Company International Consulting Group. (Photo by Jopseh Mehling '69)

The Alliance for Healthy Newborns involves partners AmeriCares, a humanitarian organization that will donate money and medical supplies, and Webber & Company, an international commercial consulting firm that will provide management assistance and financial advisory services. Kosovar partners are led by the Ministry of Health and include the Center for Development of Family Medicine and the Obstetric and Gynecological Hospital at the University Clinical Center in Prishtina, Kosovo.

Since 2001, DMS students and faculty have worked with health care professionals from Kosovo on a cross-cultural program to help the Kosovars rebuild their medical education and health care systems. This latest effort, supported by DMS's third USAID award, aims to develop a model to improve pregnancy outcomes and lower infant and maternal mortality rates.

Numerous DMS and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center staff have been instrumental in developing this program, including Cristina Hammond, project director and a research associate, Donald Kollisch, an associate professor of community and family medicine, George Little, professor of pediatrics and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Ellen Thompson, senior care manager and project consultant for nursing and quality improvement, and William Young, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology.

"Over the past five years, we've built many strong relationships with doctors in Kosovo," says James Strickler, professor of community and family medicine at DMS and the executive director of the DMS/GDA. "This new Alliance for Healthy Newborns capitalizes on our existing relationships, and focuses on improving maternal and infant care on several fronts, including primary care, pediatrics, and obstetrics. We also want to help develop a system that will be sustainable, so we're looking to improve the business and financial models that support better pregnancy outcomes."

The foundation for the Alliance for Healthy Newborns was laid in 2004 when DMS hosted three doctors and two nurses from Gjakova, Kosovo, to begin the process of integrating prenatal care into the Kosovo family medicine system. Currently, most obstetric care in Kosovo is provided by specialists; many women do not see a doctor until the actual time of delivery.


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