Introducing Dr. M. Matias Iberico, Muso’s Visiting HEAL Initiative Global Health Fellow
Muso is excited to welcome our first HEAL Initiative Global Health Fellow, Dr. M. Matias Iberico. Here Dr. Iberico shares his thoughts and experiences that brought him to work with our Bamako-based Muso team.
Health care delivery is a challenge all over the world in the best of circumstances. The HEAL Initiative model is unique and an important step forward in global health training. It works to “create, scale, and sustain” a highly trained workforce to address the challenges inherent in such work. As a HEAL Fellow (in affiliation with UCSF), I will be spending the next two years rotating between two sites: Mali and Navajo. In Mali, I will begin by working as part of the Muso training team under the leadership of Dr. Youssouf Keíta and mentored by Dr. Djoumé Diakité, and in Navajo, I will be spending my time working in a predominantly clinical capacity at Tséhootsooí Medical Center in Fort Defiance, Diné (Navajo) Nation, USA, as an internal medicine physician.
My work with Muso’s training team will develop and refine high quality training modules used to support the work of health center staff–physicians, nurses, midwives and nearly 400 community health workers in the nine communities where Muso will be working by the end of the year. This training curricula will lay a foundation for a functioning health system, and link together the elements of health care delivery. These training tools will ensure that health care professionals are equipped to deliver high quality care to a total population of approximately 270,000 individuals and handle an estimated ten-fold increase in demand in the rural communities when we launch the study in December of this year. Although my position is not directly clinical, my advanced training in internal medicine and training in public health will directly inform this work.
Although I grew up in the US, I was born in Lima, Perú and made yearly family visits. I was uncomfortable with the stark contrast I saw between rich and poor — it was this discomfort with the inequities around me that drove me to pursue something more than the typical physician’s path in the United States. During my medical residency training I conducted a research project for a masters of public health on tuberculosis and poverty in Lima. During this process, I learned about the HEAL Initiative and its focus on underserved care and health equity, and its organizational partners. Muso’s unique approach to operational health systems research and commitment to ending child mortality inspired me to pursue this fellowship and work in some of the world’s poorest communities.
Global health equity is, in part, a commitment to recognize the disparities in access to health care within our own national borders as well as across the continents. We recognize that the current state of injustice inherent in global health inequity is not a natural state, but that a deep historical inertia and a network of broad geographical connections are maintaining the imbalanced status-quo. Overcoming this requires time, dedication, resources and understanding. Muso is tackling this challenges through researching and designing health systems in partnership with Malian Ministry of Health, other professionals, and above all our community members.
This work will transcend place and time. At Muso we already collaborate with various organizations on the community health worker space, including Last Mile Health in Liberia and Hope Through Health in Togo. In the coming months and years I am looking forward to contributing to the important work in health systems research and design with Muso, the HEAL Initiative, and our partners.