Cross Cultural Care (C3) is an international non government organization (NGO) that pairs western health care providers with medical staff in areas of the developing world to assist with medical training and health capacity building.
Cross Cultural Care (C3) was founded by Dr. Robert Montana, an American Emergency Medicine physician who decided to create such a program while volunteering in North India. He saw the value of training, mentoring, and encouraging growth of skills as more effective strategy to toward lasting change and improved health care access in places such as his India clinic site, where staff clearly needed education and support to improve their practice and empower them to save the lives of their own people.
Over the next two years, Dr. Montana has created such capacity building pairing opportunities in India and also in Liberia, West Africa. Liberia emerged from 14 years of civil war in 2002. The country's infrastructure and human resources had been decimated; there were less than 50 trained doctors to address staggering health care needs for a population of over 3.5 million.
While volunteering in Liberia's capital, Dr Montana identified a 40 bed government referral hospital that was intended to provide free services to people living in the marginalized north western part of the country. When Dr. Montana visited this hospital, located in a town called Robertsport, he found that there was no dedicated physician and only one mid level provider for a population of 130,000. Therefore, in March 2011, C3 began assisting this hospital by sending doctors, nurses, and mid levels to come for four weeks or more at a time to assist in training and taking care of the local population. C3 entered into a formal partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Liberia to provide these services in return for free housing.
C3 is a very small grass roots organization. It does not endeavor to supply medical items or health systems logistic support, but partners with existing organizations and institutions in countries of need and supplies volunteers to train and mentor local health care staff. In this way, C3 stays focused on it's mission, and direct costs. To date, all of C3's administrative costs in the USA have been paid for by the founder so that 100% of donated funds are used directly to provide implementation of health care training in the countries where C3 operates. In order to ensure supervision and quality control, Dr. Montana personally volunteers at all sites in which C3 operates and supplies medical volunteers on a rotating basis.
Since March 2011, C3 has provided 25 months of volunteer coverage by rotating nine physicians and three nurses volunteers from the US. Some of these health care providers have returned to continue to help the people of Robertsport. These volunteers work in challenging conditions that include limited access to drinking water, intermittent electricity, and highly limited medical resources (for example no X-ray machine, medicines running out of stock weekly). Patient mortality is high, with malaria as the number one killer of children under 5 years old. More impressive is the fact these volunteers take time off from work and family for at least 4 weeks, sometimes more, and pay for their own airfare, food, and associated travel costs.