An online search for health initiatives abroad can be disappointing, to say the least. Odds are you encounter a laundry list of why medical aid in other countries is ineffective and unsustainable or a wealth of opportunities for volunteering in such areas. Thus, it can be difficult to find a reliable, meaningful way to better the health of those suffering around the world.
One organization making it easier to make a difference is Watsi, a crowdsourcing platform for global medical treatment. Watsi was founded in 2011 by Chase Adams after he spent time in Costa Rica with the Peace Corps. While in a town called Watsi, Adams encountered a woman asking for donations to fund her son’s medical care. This inspired him to create a streamlined platform for supporting the healthcare of individuals in third world countries.
A quick visit to Watsi’s website allows you to scroll through pages of patients in need and donate any amount to assist them in gaining treatment. Patient profiles consist of a photo, description, percent raised, and timeline, among other things, making the process personal and straight forward. Alternatively, you may donate monthly to a universal fund that automatically sends your money to those in need.
The process for working with Watsi is not only well-developed for those donating, but also for those receiving funds. The journey to aid begins when patients seek care at one of the nine Watsi hospital partners around the world. Hospital employees then explain the site to the patients and asks if they would like to share their story. If patients agree, hospital staff create a profile for the patient and await donations. After the treatment occurs, the hospital submits a patient update, which is sent to all donors, and receives the funds.
So far, Watsi has had 22,994 donors contribute to treatment of 12,639 patients. This success can partially be accredited to Watsi’s incredible transparency. On their website you can find a link to a Google document which logs patient information and costs, which are updated as the patient moves through the Watsi process. This information ensures that 100% of donated funds go to patient care. With all the scrutiny charitable organizations face regarding the percentage of funds that actually go to the cause, this aspect of Watsi is essential.
With all of the uproar surrounding healthcare in the United States, we are well aware of the value of quality, affordable medical care. By contributing to an organization like Watsi, we can make such valuable care available to people in dire need.