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Richmond, VA – While World Pediatric Project’s (WPP) healthcare delivery system means life-changing care for children and families in Central America and the Caribbean, new research shows their multi-specialty model is also a cost-effective way to provide care and help children live longer.

Just published in the peer-reviewed BMJ Open Journal, a study from William & Mary’s Global Research Institute examined 18 years of data from World Pediatric Project’s work in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A global nonprofit, WPP provides pediatric surgical care in 20 specialties, 6 of which were covered in the research.

The study determined 5,815 years of additional healthy life were made possible by WPP’s surgical interventions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from 2002-2019 at the cost of only $2,600 per saved year. For most medical specialties, the surgery leads to economic benefits that are greater than the cost of the procedure.

“While we can easily identify the outcome of our work on individual lives, we wanted to explore our model’s impact on a larger scale,” says Emily Robertson, WPP’s Director of Program Impact. “Working with William & Mary’s Global Research Institute, we’ve been able to investigate the economic impact of one of our most established programs. By tackling the tough questions, we can be more effective in reaching children in need of care, prove the quality of our work, and effectively contribute to the global discussion of disparities in surgical access.”

Previous research has shown the economic impact of specific pediatric surgical programs. This study is unique by focusing on the clinical and economic impact of a multi-specialty approach and demonstrating that the strategy of visiting medical teams can yield significant benefit in a cost-effective way.

“We found scaling up these dedicated surgical programs for underprivileged children is both a cost-effective and essential component in improving overall pediatric health,” says Carrie Dolan, the paper’s lead author and an assistant professor of health sciences at William & Mary.

WPP, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, partnered with William & Mary and the University of Ghana to help evaluate the efficiency and impact of its work. Since 2001, WPP has delivered more than $165 million in advanced medical services thanks to financial and in-kind contributions through traveling medical teams, working alongside local partners in countries in Central America and the Caribbean, and providing children with access to critical care through hospitals in the United States and international partners. 

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