The wonderful organization Hope Through Healing Hands Foundation graciously gave Belmont University a grant to offer a fellowship in global health with a focus on healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies to one of the students in the College of Health Sciences. With my calling to teach natural family planning and my passion for global health, I applied with hopes to expand my knowledge and create the beginnings of my life work, setting up a path for my future.
This is my last week in Guyana and I can truly say that I am going away from this experience as a better clinician. I have been stretched in ways that will serve me well when I return to the States. Not having the luxury of many tests and medicines that I am used to has made me depend more on my physical exam and lean on my Guyanese colleagues to teach my what they do in this resource limited setting.
I arrived in Kenya about 2 weeks ago and was warmly welcomed at Lwala Community Alliance (LCA). Thus far I have spent much of my time observing and learning. While my work this summer is to join the public health team to focus on malnutrition interventions within the Thrive Thru 5 project, I have had the opportunity to follow each of the Lwala teams in their work. Although I spent most of my time outside of programs specific to malnutrition, nearly everyday I saw work or projects that are positively impacting child nutrition.
I have never been to South America. The thought of coming to a new place was exciting but also made me a little nervous. After only a few days here I have quickly realized that the people of Guyana are friendly, generous, and eager to teach outsiders about their culture.
Although I have seen medical systems around the world, I never got to understand the differences in decision making until I came to Guyana as resident physician. The care the residents offer is far beyond my expectations for the resource limited environment they are provided with. New cutting techniques of airway management and disease management have all been strategically adapted to the capabilities of their A&E. Still they continue to excel while I struggled to keep up.
After the providers, the pregnant mothers came for their monthly prenatal education class. I witnessed as one of the nurses who just participated in the class accurately and eagerly taught these pregnant women ways they can space their next pregnancy to promote better health for them and their babies.
This was the first day of fieldwork. We taught the Standard Days Method to over 80 people in a couple of different sessions. The first group that participated in the study consisted of 12 providers, who were health agents, nurses, and physicians. This lesson went really well. The enthusiasm of the group was palpable and the discussion was enlightening.
Anta Ba is a 26-year-old woman living in Guédiawaye, a poor urban area of Senegal’s capital, Dakar. In a new CSIS video, Anta explains why she decided to access family planning, despite her husband’s opposition, and why these services matter for her own life and for women’s health and empowerment in Senegal.
Hope Through Healing Hands is proud to create and lead the Faith-Based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide. We launched the coalition with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to shine a light on the disparity of maternal & child health in developing nations. Moreover, we hope to educate and activate faith leaders and all people of faith to consider the critical importance of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies as a life-saving mechanism for both moms and their children.

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