The political unrest and protests were more than a news story for Rex Wong. He was living in it. Rex recently had to leave his home in Egypt – where he works as part of a GHLI at Yale program – and return to the U.S. “I was not seen as an outsider, since I had been living there, so the environment did not feel threatening to me,” says Wong. “It was actually more of an emotional experience to witness such a historical time in the country.”
As director of hospital strengthening for the GHLI’s Egypt program, Wong has been building relationships with government officials and with the National Bank in Egypt since April 2010. The National Bank has shown great interest in improving health care systems in Egypt by donating hospital equipment and initiating the partnership with GHLI in 2009. In collaboration with GHLI, they’ve created a more sustainable program to improve country-wide health care systems over the long term. Improving patient records, creating a more efficient method for patients to be seen and more effective payment systems are just a few of the GHLI’s accomplishments in the Egypt.
Wong explained how important GHLI’s relationship with the National Bank of Egypt has been during the past few weeks to ensure stability for their program. He’s positive the program will continue, but he noted a lot is uncertain because the health care system relies on the Ministry of Health. GHLI had strong relations with the Ministry of Health, and Wong said he’s committed to reestablishing relationships with the new members of the Ministry now and after their September election’s.
“The more I stay in the country [Egypt], the more I realize the importance of the program. The people I work with are amazing; they are willing to learn, hardworking and committed,” explained Wong. He added he cannot wait to go back to Egypt and continue his work there.
Amanda Sorrentino, GHLI Intern