Sunday, July 5, 2009

Featured Summer Intern Team: Bulumwaki

Village: Bulumwaki
Ronita Nath (Team Leader) - NYU, Masters in International & Public Health, 2nd year
Christine Poquiz - Law School (Undecided), entering 1st year
Teneille Dzuba - University of Regina, International Studies With Concentration in Development, 5th year
Ce Zhang - Penn State, PreMed, 2nd year
Julius (Ugandan Counterpart) - Masters, 2nd year

We would like to feature some of the work of our summer interns on this blog. They have been passionate, enthusiastic, and dedicated in spite of facing numerous challenges in doing fieldwork in the rural villages. We have five Healthy Villages teams this summer stationed in our pilot 5 villages for the program.

The first team we are featuring is the team stationed in Bulumwaki. This village is nearest to Namungalwe Health Center, where UVP worked intensively last year to establish a referral system for obstetric fistula. The team is made up of interns Ce, Teneille, Christine, and Ugandan intern Julius. The team leader is Ronita.

This team has been working on several initiatives since their initial interviews in the village. In addition, because of their location, they have been working on follow-up for patients who were sent to Kamuli Mission Hospital for obstetric fistula repair surgery in 2008.
- Malaria: net sales and sensitizations
- Family planning: outreaches and working to strengthen condom supply chain
- Sanitation: sensitizations at primary schools
- HIV/AIDS: testing and outreach in conjunction with partner organization

The team's accomplishments so far include setting up a point of sales in the village for WaterGuard, creating a song with primary school students about hand washing, and holding a malaria and safe water drama performance in the village. Team members have helped school students to form clubs at the students' request that focus on health issues in the community such as HIV/AIDS. They have been taking the time to search out and perform followup on patients seen for fistula treatment who had been referred from Namungalwe Health Center. The team has also been intensively seeking qualitative input from community members by performing home visits to discuss sanitation issues, malaria prevention, and other public health needs. Congratulations on all your hard work, Bulumwaki team!

Below are some quotations directly from the team about their work in Bulumwaki:

What village are you in and how do you like it?

- We are in Bulumwaki, I like it a lot! I was surprised at how welcoming the village is. We feel very safe and protected by the community. - Christine
- Our host family is very nice and our host mom calls us her "children", which is very endearing. - Teneille
- The village is very good at mobilizing for our outreaches. The five UVP volunteers are all staying at a house in the village. The house is very nice and we are extremely lucky to have a solar panel! - Ronita
- Our village is good, except there are a lot of spiders in the house and the girls are always screaming about them! - Ce

What have you been doing in the village?

- We've been talking to the primary schools about sanitation, safe water, and malaria. We started a safe water club at Wagodo Primary School to encourage them to practice sanitation. They built a tip tap (a hands-free handwashing device) last week under our guidance. - Teneille
- At the secondary schools, we talked about HIV and encourage the students to be tested. While many of them would like to be tested, one of the main barriers to testing is that the free testing is usually offered during school hours. We are working on setting up a testing date/time while they are not in school. At one school, they are starting an HIV club, which we have been invited to speak at. We would like to talk to them about infection, family planning, and safe motherhood. Additionally, we're following up with the fistula patients from last year. Though we have been conducting various small outreaches, we are holding our big bonanza outreach today! - Teneille, Christine

How does the community feel about the implementation of HVI?

- This village has been very receptive towards us and the programs that we're bringing to Bulumwaki. They are always so willing to mobilize for outreaches, it seems like they all want to have us here. - Ce
- Sometimes, I think they think "why are we here", but other times, they are very excited. Some think that we are there to sell products like mosquito nets and waterguard. -Ronita
- The community is extremely excited about the well, for which we broke ground recently. -Christine

What do you consider to be your major accomplishments so far?

- The "Big Bonanza" held today was a success because we were able to sensitize a large number of people on WaterGuard usage and malaria net usage. We also had the Safe Water Team at our bonanza and they introduced the community to the modified clay pot to gauge interest in this new technolgy. We've done four house outreaches and all of the households that have participated have been very receptive. - Ce
- The community was able to decide upon the location of the shallow well very quickly, within a 30 minute meeting period. This shows that the community works well together and is very enthusiastic about getting a well. -Teneille
- We created a fun sanitation song, which we've taught to primary students. Now instead of the kids yelling out "Mzungu, how are you?", we can hear them singing the song when we walk by. This is possibly one of the more sustainable things we are leaving with the community. -Teneille


O'kunhaaba munghaalo
N'aa amandhi n'e ssaabuni
O'kunhaaba munghaalo
Essawa yoo'nha yoonha.

O'kunhaaba munghaalo
ngonva mu'tooi
o'kunhaaba munghaalo
n'aa amandhi n'e ssaabuni

O'kunhaaba munghaalo
ngo'okhali o'kulya
o'kunhaaba munghaalo
n'aa amandhi n'e ssaabuni

O'kunhaaba munghaalo
nga'omazze okuzhaana
o'kunhaaba munghaalo
n'aa amandhi n'e ssaabuni


Wash your hands with water and soap
Wash your hands always

Wash your hands with water and soap
wash your hands after using the bathroom

Wash your hands with water and soap
Wash your hands before you eat

Wash your hands with water and soap
Wash your hands after you play

Major Challenges:

- It's difficult to figure out how to make things sustainable. For instance, we have a tip tap at the school now, and there are a few students responsible for fetching water, but we don't know how long this will last for. I can imagine them getting tired of fetching water, then leaving the tip tap dry. -Christine

1 comment:

quba said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.