Led by Dr. Mark Doidge, Henry Gold and Simcha Jacobovici, CPAR was founded in 1984 in response to the extreme famine and critical health crisis faced by Ethiopian refugees in Sudan. At this time, CPAR’s work took the form of emergency relief – providing food aid and medical relief to those in need.
These initial actions were the catalyst for CPAR’s evolution and transformation into a development organization that not only responds to the immediate needs of a community, but also takes a long-term sustainable approach to improve the health of community members, and ensure that they can build resilience against the impact of future crises.
Our geographic presence expanded from Ethiopia to Malawi (1991), Uganda (1992), and Tanzania (2001) in East Africa.
Over that time, significant gains have been made in improving the health of communities and combatting major health problems in each country, and CPAR has been proud to have played a role in that progress. Our programs are designed to support the knowledge, training and inputs that a community most needs, and we strive to build capacity and ensure that the benefits of our programs continue long after we’re gone. CPAR is committed to this model, whether in a community or in a country, as demonstrated by CPAR Uganda, which in 2008 incorporated as an independent non-profit organization locally registered in that country.
Much of CPAR’s work has addressed the social and environmental determinants of health – so that families have enough nutritious food to eat or access to clean water - impacts the well-being of these populations, but improving weak health systems is also instrumental to improved health. Moving forward, as we seek to make even more impact on the health of communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, we are focusing more purposefully in the improvement of health systems.
Weak health systems are a barrier to even greater progress in sub-Saharan Africa. Strengthening the health system directly addresses not only the quality of service and therefore health outcomes, but also discrimination by improving equitable access to care. By working to improve the capacity, sustainability and outcomes of health systems in Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania, we improve emergency care. We help mothers have healthier babies. We connect educators, front-line professionals, health centers and technology in better ways, so healthcare resources make a greater impact.
Physicians continue to be an integral part of CPAR’s base of supporters, which has grown rapidly to include more than 10,000 Canadians from coast to coast. CPAR’s work has also attracted the attention of major international funders like UNICEF, Global Affairs Canada (GAC, formerly CIDA and DFATD), USAID, UNDP and the World Food Programme.