2012 Schistosomiasis Effort
The collaborative efforts of non-profit organization, academia and community that compose the GPC continue to provide viable public health efforts in and around Shirati, Tanzania. This unique setting has produced innovative and effective programs that address the health needs of the targeted underserved communities. The programs’ continuously evolving resources and methodology combined with GPC’s increasing influence on the community has led to sustainable public health initiatives.
In 2012, TU global health students and members of the GPC continued the research and treatment of schistosomiasis in the surrounding villages of Shirati, Tanzania. The 2012 group expanded the scope of the project to include a new village with a high incidence of the disease, and as a result the number of patients participating in the project grew to an all time high of 807. This expansion can be attributed to the ambitious nature of the 2012 group, whose intensive fundraising efforts allowed them to treat more people more efficiently. They were able to purchase new, more advanced equipment, additional supplies to aid diagnoses, and more medications to treat an overall greater number of patients. The 2012 group utilized extensive advertising and promotion for their Mobile Clinic and with the support of local assistants the results truly paid off.
The work of the 2012 group continued with their return to the states and focused on establishing a stronger foundation for the growth of the projects. Some of the enhancements included establishing electronic records for all of the data collected since 2005, streamlining the transition between yearly groups and also updating this very website.
Most importantly, the group produced several abstracts that assessed the Schistosomiasis project in different ways. Examples include an investigation into the efficiency of the methodology used in our approach to combating disease, identifying neglected sub-populations within the study group, and a temporal analysis of our efforts in reducing the disease burden. The results of these abstracts proved that our mission has been a successful one, in large part due to our strong emphasis on health education and promotion. The positive feedback the group has received while presenting this data has been very encouraging and supports the continuation and further development of the project.
The public health program created and carried out by the GPC-Student-Tanzania initiative in collaboration with students from TU has been recognized and awarded for their efforts by such organizations as the American Osteopathic Association, American College of Osteopathic Physicians and the American Public Health Association. See our research section for a more in depth look at the projects and awards received by students of the GPC.
Health Education: Promotion and Outreach
One of the goals of the Global Physicians Corps is to provide sustainable solutions to address access to health care and health education in underserved communities. With this in mind, the 2012 Tanzania GPC group worked in collaboration with local artists and healthcare providers to create several murals outside of KMT Shirati Hospital to increase awareness of preventable diseases. Malaria, HIV, and Schistosomiasis all plague the area - the burden of these diseases can be greatly reduced through preventative measures and guidelines for when to seek care.
These basic and frequently misunderstood topics became the subject of three separate murals. Designed with the goal of increasing knowledge about the transmission, signs, symptoms, and availability of treatment, the murals provide simple messages in an artistic format that all members of the Shirati community can appreciate. Located outside of the hospital in downtown Shirati, the paintings not only provide valuable information about the diseases, but they are aesthetically pleasing with bright colors and a local touch of creativity.
The 2012 GPC group carried out a special outreach project, one that did not relate to disease or health education, but rather sought to enrich the lives of the children that grow up in Shirati. Donors provided youth soccer equipment for two full soccer teams and GPC participants worked in collaboration with local soccer stars to hold weekly clinics and games for the youth of Shirati. Creating the opportunity for the younger generation to participate in their country’s most popular sport allowed them to learn the rules and skills from their idols, and also provided a safe, unifying activity for the community. During the training-clinics and games, the watoto (“children” in Swahili) would come from every direction with smiles from ear to ear, eager to participate, and the experience was extremely satisfying and rewarding for everyone involved.
On behalf of the 2012 Global Physicians Corps group I would like to thank all of those who supported and participated in our work!
Completed ProjectsConstruction of self-sustaining grinding mills to provide poverty relief for six villages:
Provision of 4 desktop computers to Shirati Hospital Library
- Poverty Relief Project
- Financial aid generation for poverty stricken members of Shirati satellite villages through the construction of grinding mills. Income generated by the mills is used to provide financial aid to the impoverished and to maintain the mill. In addition construction of additional mills decreases the distance villagers have to travel for grinding, thus benefitting the entire community.
- Schistosomiasis Control Project
- Members of fishing villages near Shirati are screened for Schistosomiasis providing a cross sectional analysis of its prevalence in the area. Subjects that test positive are treated on site. Subjects presenting with complications are referred to the Shirati Hospital Outpatient Department for imaging and treatment.
- Bike Project
- Improving access to pre-natal care for members of Shirati satellite villages through the provision of modified bicycles used to transport pregnant women to the hospital for prenatal care and safe delivery.
- Anti-malarial Bed Net Distribution Project
- Distribution of insecticide treated bed nets to children aged 5 and under residing in Shirati satellite villages as well as provision of bed nets to all children aged 5 and under following discharge from Shirati Hospital. Bed nets are retreated with insecticide every two years.
- Malaria Education Project
- Provision of monthly malaria education sessions at Shirati Hospital Children’s Clinic
- Health Education Center
- Offers biweekly health education sessions to maternity ward patients and mothers of children’s ward patients at Shirati Hospital.
- Diabetes Control Initiative
- Seeks to investigate the potential for increased of diabetes among patients being treated for HIV at the Shirati Hospital. Participants are screened for elevated glucose levels to measure conversion to hyperglycemia and diabetes. Diabetes counseling medical treatment is provided.
- Project Share
- Provision of medical supplies and medical equipment to Shirati Hospital
- HIV Education Project
- Provision of HIV education seminars and youth discussion groups promoting the understanding of HIV and safe-sex practices. Condoms are offered free to participants.
- Leprosy Poverty Relief Project
- Financial aid generation for poverty stricken members of the leprosy ward at Shirati Hospital through the establishment of a self sustaining chicken and vegetable farm
Current and Planned Research and Service ProjectsConstruction of fresh water wells for Shirati satellite villages
Establishing not-for-profit psychiatry clinic at Shirati Hospital, supplied with medications and educational materials