‘These deaths can be prevented’

November 15, 2017
Professor Kingshuk Sinha.

“Nearly 7 million children under five years of age died. … Almost all of these deaths can be prevented.” — World Health Organization, 2013

Not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) can play a critical role in enabling health care delivery to underserved communities worldwide. A new research study promises to help these NPOs better deliver surgical care to underserved communities.

Today, the positive impact of international NPOs on care delivery is limited because they treat separately three key facets of care delivery: affordability, access, and awareness.

The new study introduces a promising delivery framework that integrates and highlights the interdependencies between the three facets.

“We provide leaders, health care providers, and citizens an integrated framework for delivering surgical care to underserved communities,” says study co-author Kingshuk Sinha, professor and chair of the supply chain and operations department and holder of the Mosaic Company–Jim Prokopanko Professorship in Corporate Responsibility at the U of M's Carlson School.

The big challenges in conducting the study were the poor record keeping, data scarcity, and poor data quality that are common in underserved communities. The researchers met these challenges by triangulating insights from the analyses of both qualitative and quantitative data using multiple methods.

“This work makes it possible for patients in underserved communities to receive the surgical care they deserve,” Sinha says.

The research team—made up of Sinha and two University of Minnesota Ph.D. alums who are now faculty at Iowa State University and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign—focused their study on Twin Cities-based nonprofit Children HeartLink’s partnership with the First Hospital of Lanzhou University, in China’s impoverished Gansu province. There the congenital heart disease incidence rate among children is six times China’s average.