Author Archives: Global Health Corps Fellow

Malnutrition Close-up: Reflections from the Field

In our first couple of weeks with Gardens for Health International (GHI) in Rwanda, we were fortunate enough to visit a few of the families that had graduated GHI’s program so we would better understand the need for and the impact of our fight against childhood malnutrition. We were driven deep into the countryside and dropped off individually with different families that spoke very little or no English. I was introduced to my family in front of their mud and stick home, which they were waiting to expand when the rainy season returned and mud was easily available. The mother of the family, Clementine, greeted us at the road with her child on her back. Her husband was off doing some work nearby in the village

Posted in Aid, General Global Health, Malnutrition, Mental Health, WASH | Comments closed

A Life of Service: Insight into the life of a community health worker

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The health sector in Zambia faces major human resources challenges, with a shortage of health care workers at practically every service delivery level. For example, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended establishment, Zambia faces a shortage of 9,271 nurses (a vacancy rate of 55%), 2,538 clinical officers (a vacancy rate of 63%), and 1,464 doctors (a vacancy rate of 64%) as of January 2010. To compensate for this critical shortage, like many developing countries with human resource shortages in the health sector, Zambia has utilized community health workers (CHWs) to alleviate the workload of delivering primary health care services for the few trained health care workers within the health care system, especially for the provision of basic preventive, health care promotion and curative health services in underserved rural areas. But how does one become a community health worker? Do they receive any formal training

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Information Systems: the Secret to Solving Uganda’s Health Problems

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It’s interesting how so many ideas have been documented and visualized about improving the health sector in Uganda, while ignoring the fact that an improved health sector starts with health providers being able to work more efficiently and effectively. This involves proper documentation of patient records, proper data storage, and proper feedback mechanisms in order to create a smooth information flow. Most of the current processes are often manual and more laborious than they need to be. This causes greater inefficiencies, longer turn-around time, loss of revenue due to inaccurate compilations, inability to archive data for future use, and poor allocation of resources. Well developed health information systems that are based on the idea of sharing critical information can assist areas of operation in the health sector

Posted in Aid, Delivery, Featured Content, General Global Health, HIV/AIDS, Hub Selects, Infectious Disease, Medical Record Systems, Technology | Comments closed

Malawian Mentor Mothers – Their Inspiring Role in the Fight to Empower Women and End…

During one of the first Still Harbor sessions at Global Health Corps’ Training Institute in June of 2014, we were asked to think about our heroes. My mind immediately went to the easy, obvious choices – the type of person who is idolized by many and has had a tremendous impact on society – like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and Mahatma Gandhi. Then the facilitator clarified that a hero should be someone who has actually made an impact on my life. This proved to be a bit more challenging as I asked myself, what qualities does a person possess to make them a hero?

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The Five Pillars of a Strong Global Health Brand

If there is one lesson I’ve learned from working at the Global Health Delivery (GHD) Project at Harvard University these last few months, it is that the global health field is full of extremely intelligent individuals that are required to maintain expertise in a variety of interdisciplinary skills. GHD’s mission is to build a network of professionals dedicated to value-based health care globally, and they do this by creating public goods that give global health professionals an opportunity to learn the varied skills needed to deliver health care effectively and efficiently without letting the quality of care they provide diminish. Through their online virtual communities on GHDonline.org, GHD connects more than 13,000 global health professional to solve their real-time health care delivery concerns. Doctors have the opportunity to ask engineers the best way to structure a TB clinic to prevent the spread of infection to new patients, while health literacy experts can share their health communications plans. For this fellowship year, I am helping GHD with their marketing and development.

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Learning to Look Both Ways

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Despite being one of the least motorized regions in the world, Africa bears the highest burden of road traffic fatalities. Working in Rwanda for the past three months as a Global Health Corps Fellow, numerous colleagues have shared distressing stories of family members and acquaintances killed in accidents. For people living in Rwanda traffic accidents are an all too common reality. A Personal Story It had been 72-hours since landing in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. We were moving to Partners in Health’s headquarters in a rural village in the Eastern Province

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Place Matters: The Role of Community in Health Outcomes

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What runs through your mind as you sit in your doctor’s office, waiting to be called? You’re likely wondering about the long wait or hoping to get to the bottom of the aches and pains you’ve been having all week. Or maybe you’re worried about your last visit’s test results. Either way, your zip code is probably the last thing on your mind.

Posted in Diabetes, Environment, Featured Content, General Global Health, Global Health Corps, Social | Comments closed

The Intersection of Health and Public Transport in Uganda

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Looking at my worn-out shoes reveals how much I have traveled within Uganda over the past few months. But moving on road from place to place in this beautiful country is no ordinary experience you could just pass your eyes over; from vehicles weaving through potholed roads to starting random conversations with strangers especially when using public means. Public road transportation in Uganda is composed of taxis (Matatu), buses and motorcycles (Boda Boda). In this day and age when health systems around the world are stretched due to disease outbreaks, accidents and other public health challenges, I wonder whether regulation of public transport especially in my country could present a solution. Buses in Uganda are reputed for transporting persons and commodities between cities or even across borders

Posted in Ebola, Environment, Featured Content, General Global Health, Injury, Mental Health | Comments closed

Chikungunya: An Emerging Disease in The Americas

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Given the major Ebola outbreak in West Africa, some governments throughout the world seem to be teetering on hysteria. In some cities of the United States, for example, schools have put teachers on leave and barred children from West Africa to enroll unless they show a health certificate, and parents have pulled their children from school. These decisions have been made based on unfounded information and deserve a second look to prevent measures that could be excessive and counterproductive. Without neglecting the attention that Ebola deserves, more pertinent consideration ought to be given to an infectious disease spreading throughout the Americas since it has been classified as an epidemic in some areas of the continent. This disease can cause significant complications and may even lead to death under certain circumstances.

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Technology and Health: Impact of phone network radioactivity on neighboring communities

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In the 1990s, cellular phones first became widely available in the United States. Over subsequent years, however, its roll out and usage has increased dramatically worldwide. To harness this increased demand, desire and roll out, telecommunications service providers worldwide had to, and are still, placing towers in several communities: mainly in areas they deem allows their system (base station) to radiate as much signal as possible. Against this backdrop, some of these points have turned out to be within homesteads. These towers, also called base stations, have electronic equipment and antennas that receive and transmit radio frequency (RF) signals

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Climate Change is a Huge Barrier to Health Equity

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As you read this, tens of thousands in the foothills of Mt. Rwenzori have lost their loved ones in the last two years, and their community hospital has been totally destroyed by devastating floods. Other millions are displaced from their homes in the Balkans and a quarter of Bosnia went without clean water all at once, according to BBC World News on May 19, 2014. The cause of all of this is the damaging weather changes.

Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Featured Content, General Global Health, Injury, Malaria | Comments closed

Promotion of health through cultural leaders

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For a long time there has been a war between culture and modern medicine. This has clocked way back especially in most African countries and led to misinformation and the loss of many lives. To date so many people have had a change in their beliefs. There are many cultural leaders who have come up with strategies to promote modern medicine and save the lives of their subjects. The example will come from Buganda kingdom where the King has come up with numerous plans to promote having healthier and happier subjects

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Sample Transport

It’s quite mind blowing how we take a lot of things for granted and think…or rather not think that it could be a big deal for someone somewhere. Come to think of it, if something has already been deemed worthy of being taken for granted then who would have a minute to think of the same and how it might affect someone somewhere. I think if our thoughts would only reach as far as…somewhere, somewhere being beyond the Rocky Mountains, across the bridgeless rivers, through the sticky mud that our cars are too ‘cool’ for, then maybe we would have our hearts to think with. I can admit that ‘somewhere’ has always been a place that the TV has exaggerated and overstressed for marketing purposes.

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Getting to zero new HIV infections: Would mandatory testing get us there?

“A lion that kills, is one that does not roar”, goes a famous Savannah grassland African saying. “It is one that crouches and lays quietly in the calmly swaying savannah grasses, patiently crawling behind its unsuspecting victims”, goes the saying with further elucidation.

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