BLOG ENTRIES DAYS 14-15
Day 14, Monday, 07/25/11: Kayunga
Back to work today! Vacation weekend is over and it’s time to again get focused on the project. I double-checked the raw scores and transferred into standard and scaled scores today. Going through the protocols takes up a lot of time, but I think that I will be finished with all of them by the end of the week! I will be giving a presentation on the KABC-2, BRIEF, and CBCL to the testers on Thursday back in Mulago at the Makerere University Hospital, so I have started to prepare for that. Not much else going on today – just a typical day of work here at the office in Kayunga.
Day 15, Tuesday 07/26/11: Kayunga
I have been doing more or less of the same today, so here is a “guest entry” from one of the other student volunteers assigned to the project:
Hello! My name is Chris Adams and I am a second year student at Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine. I am excited to be working with Dr. Boivin and Jackie Moore in Uganda during my break this summer. My role is to help with data management of the clinical lab data for the CCRT HIV study. As a part of the study, lab data is collected regarding the immunological profile of the study children. To monitor how well the study children are doing with their AIDS treatment, our study measures the levels of T Helper Cells in the body. Human Immunodeficiency Virus attacks one of the most important defense cells: the helper T cell. Our Kayunga research team includes a Clinical Officer (Physician Assistant equivalent) who is employed at the government hospital across the street. The Clinical Officer’s name is Medina and it is a pleasure to work with her. She oversees the blood draws and compares our lab data with information from the child’s medical record to ensure proper treatment by the World Health Organization’s most recent guidelines concerning Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). I am currently working with Medina to ensure all steps of the lab data collection go as smoothly and efficiently as possible to help her with her treatment of the HIV positive children in our study.
As part of my internship with Dr. Boivin, I shadow Medina as she works in the outpatient department in the government hospital. I spent this morning with her as she saw around 20 patients. It was sad to see that she was experiencing a glove shortage today. This makes it hard for her to examine patients. It was interesting to see how she navigated around such obstacles. For example, she asked patients to pull down their lower eyelid themselves to reveal their conjunctiva so that she would not have to use a glove for this. She also explained they have limited water and soap to even wash her hands with after her examinations. I did not see her use soap at all after touching patients since there was a shortage.
The most common diagnosis in the outpatient department was malaria. It is amazing to think that a tiny parasite can cause such suffering among the human population. I avoid becoming a victim of the little bugger. After sleeping at the office last night with a mosquito net that had large gaping holes, I went to the market this morning with Peter, a co-worker, who helped me buy a new net. It costs 4 U.S. dollars, compared to the 25 dollar net you could buy at R.E.I. The shop attendant asked if I would like a treated net. But Peter told me that in Uganda, “treated nets” might actually just be treated with some smelly chemical to give the impression that it is properly treated. Instead, you end up paying more for a net that just smells bad and makes it hard to sleep. It doesn’t even protect from mosquitoes any more than an untreated net.
I told Peter that a net in America might cost 25 dollars. He laughed in disbelief and said you could buy a small plot of land in Uganda for that much. The difference in price is truly amazing regarding almost everything. For example, the standard price for a haircut at a barber shop was around fifty cents. Dinner costs around the same.
Chris signing off!