Dr. Edwin Vallecillo: Crafting a Vision for Better Patient Care

Halfway through his first year as an NPHI director, Dr. Vallecillo shares his vision for Medical Services in 2020.
February 10, 2020 - International

Medical Services Director Dr. Edwin Vallecillo shares his vision for ensuring the health and well-being of thousands of children and families who rely upon NPH for healthcare.

I have been adapting little by little to my new role. I had a fairly broad knowledge of how health services functioned at NPH Honduras. Now that I am at the international level, however, I have had the opportunity to learn much more.

In the first six months in this role leading the Medical Services function for NPHI, I have delved into the legacy of my predecessor Dr. Pilar Silverman, who established the NPH health model which consists of both internal and community clinics that focus on basic healthcare of all patient groups. I am also getting to know NPHI’s team of medical consultants and establishing relationships with the 10 national directors who lead in-country operations.

The broad team of NPH healthcare personnel runs basic programs that are already well established and achieved advancements that have been extraordinary. In 2020 I will continue visiting NPH Homes and reviewing our primary health clinics.

Amid these successes, there are still challenges, such as communication. I continue to observe and learn from the team and our patients. Together we are working to be more efficient and provide better answers for our patients and their families to whom we provide services.

Greatest successes in 2019

Our greatest achievement was maintaining an active and vibrant primary healthcare system with the capacity to deliver services to the population that depends upon it, in particular the most vulnerable, such as our chronically ill patients and our children with disabilities. We also ensured consistency in the quality of services offered, such as potable water, timely vaccines, balanced diets, medications for chronic conditions, and preventive health measures for the entire NPH child and adult population.

Once again, we held our annual medical workshop in Guatemala attended by representatives from each NPH home. The event was held alongside a psychology workshop, which brought both departments together with the aim of enhancing multidisciplinary cooperation and mental health support in our homes.

2020 vision for the NPH Medical program

Our focus this year is stated as follows: To strengthen the concept of health prevention in the culture of NPH homes guided by the leadership of NPH primary health clinics and centered around defined results and populations; to better understand our role as health administrators, organize our services in a logical and orderly manner, and improve the safety of our health facilities; to be better able to respond to emergencies; and to consistently empower and train the local human resource that delivers services.

Vanquished diseases make a comeback in NPH countries

In Latin America, not only in our homes, but also externally, the predominant ailments continue to be vaccine-preventable diseases, which are both infectious and contagious. We see the re-emergence of tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV, plus endemic diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and the Zika virus.

One segment of disease we see in the population we treat is directly linked to poverty and includes aliments like malnutrition, anemia, and parasitism in all its forms. Poor maternal care during pregnancy and childbirth is linked to significant neurological and psychiatric conditions, among them childhood cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and complex neurological syndromes.

Another disease segment is conditions resulting from child abuse, drug use, and lack of access to healthcare services. These conditions contribute to psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress, which can derail a child’s normal development.

These diseases and other challenges are some of the problems the Medical Services team will tackle this year across Latin America and the Caribbean.

There are many ways my department can help NPH fulfill its lofty mission of a world without poverty. We, in Medical Services, will start by providing basic services to greater numbers of people.

You can support NPH Medical Services by visiting nph.org.

Dr. Edwin Vallecillo   
Director of Medical Services, NPH International




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