Friday, September 26, 2014

My study

You've been privy to the thoughts inside my little oval head.  You've let me talk about sleeping next to hippos and drowsing in kayaks.  But what do I actually do?  Why did I leave a job, city, boyfriend, and move to Uganda? 

Because this is the coolest shit in the whole world.  Malaria, HIV, Ebola:  Infectious diseases make me hot and feverish.  I love having a forseeable impact.  The strongest core value that I bear is that health is not a privilege but a right.  But also, I find the science incredibly sexy.

I moved to Kampala to work on Malaria.  I am doing a randomized control trial with 150 facilities in 17 districts spread all over Uganda.  The trial is 3-tiered mentorship project with the ultimate goal to increase testing for malaria and decrease non-adherence to test results.

In other words, when a patient comes in with a fever, test that patient for malaria before just prescribing anti-malarials.  If the test comes back negative for malaria, believe the test and do not continue to prescribe the patient anti-malarials.  Overtreatment of anti-malarials has 3 main negative effects: 1) The actual cause of sickness is not addressed and you are sending a patient home who is still stick, 2) You are wasting money and precious antimalarial drugs, 3) abuse of anti-malarials can lead to drug resistance, and guess what people, we don’t have another drug on the backburner.  Scary stuff.

 I helped train the 9 master trainers recommended from the ministry to train the 70 clinical mentors from the 17 districts to mentor the 300 mentees (clinicians) in their district facilities.  My first part of the job was heavily field based.  Traveling to clinics, teaching people how to collect the data and training the mentors.  The project officially rolled-out last month.  Now my main job is to watch the data roll in and analyze it so we can troubleshoot.  I've become a wiz at excel.  Pivot tables are my slaves.

The study will continue for a year at which point we’ll write up the paper and recommend a national scale up of the mentorship project to the Ugandan Ministry of Health. 


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