I haven't had the chance to go on anymore exciting field visits yet, but I have become more familiar with how NGOs work. My supervisor has been out of the country for the last two weeks and consequently I've been given a lot more responsibility. For example, I lead this month's meeting of the Quality Improvement Task Force. The Q.I. Task Force meets monthly to discuss issues pertaining to the quality and guidelines of the care and support of orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC) in Tanzania. My supervisor is a co-chair on the task force and she usually hosts the meeting but I led the meeting in her absence. The task force is in the process of developing national guidelines for quality improvement of OVC care as well as a household status tool to be used in assessing the household conditions of OVC. The discussion about the process of creating and revising the documents gave me insight into how national guidelines for development work are established and the relationship between governmental ministries and non-governmental organizations.
Senator Frist's first trip in Medical Missions was with Dr. Dick Furman and World Medical Missions, an affililate of Samaritan's Purse.

Samaritan's Purse has been doing good work in Sudan for some time. I thought it appropriate to highlight their work, in support of their continued efforts, here as we focus on Sudan this month.

Senator Frist has a forthcoming book that will release October 5: A Heart to Serve: A Passion to Bring Health, Hope, and Healing

In Chapter one, A Mission of Mercy, Frist shares his experience of flying into Lui, Sudan, under the radar, to perform surgery in a conflict zone. This experience was a foundational one which shaped his understanding and philosophy of health diplomacy and how offering health care can be a currency for peace around the world.

For CHAPTER ONE -- CLICK HERE.

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Don't forget to order your copy of the book on Amazon.com!

 

 

My first two weeks in the office at Africare in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania have been surprisingly busy. In fact, on my first day I was asked to accompany two co-workers on a five-day trip west to Dodoma. In Dodoma we met with representatives from the other partner organizations involved in the COPE project. We also had the opportunity to visit a household and evaluate the impact of the aspect of the COPE project designed to assist orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) households in generating income.
We have made significant progress on the Munsieville Needs Assessment. After several drafts and two field tests, a final version of the survey was created. Our survey covers 11 topics that include health indicators such as housing, income, health behavior, and reproductive health. Our specific questions aim at health attitudes, general health knowledge and accessibility to health care and government services.

As we continue with the Munsieville Model, we must evaluate other settlements in the area for additional or alternative sites for Project Hope to establish programs. With the help of a local minister and director of a substance abuse center, Dave Gardner, another American, we have established contacts in Randfontein, a nearby city. We were introduced to Lucky, an eccentric Obama fanatic that is also the political representative of all of the informal settlements in one of the wards of the West Rand district.
Take a moment today to read Nicholas Kristof’s thoughtful op-ed “Would You Let This Girl Drown?” Kristof zeroes in on several very important facts. He asks a poignant, hypothetical question: “If G-8 leaders would be willing to save one drowning child, why are they collectively so far behind in meeting humanitarian aid pledges to save other children?”
The weather has turned here in the Johannesburg suburbs. For this reason, we work from day to day not knowing exactly what kind of participation we will have from the Munsieville residents. Mondays are spent with Engelinah, Eva, and Betty meeting with their women's groups for most of the day, and Glenn and I focusing on the specifics for our needs assessment survey. Health screening is usually every Tuesday but due to the cold weather last Tuesday (June 23) only 4 mothers attended. The weekly baby bathing held on Wednesdays have had a similar fate. The temperature was much too cold for the mothers to bath their babies even in the fellowship hall of the Catholic church for the past 3 weeks. The women did attend but we did not set up the baby tubs. They received food and clothes from other organizations as usual.
The United States is engaged in a historic debate over government's role in reforming health care. But on the continent of Africa, there is little debate that U.S. investment has reaped major rewards. Yet there, too, reforms are necessary.

By fighting measles, then AIDS and, more recently, malaria, the United States has partnered with African nations to help save millions of lives since the turn of this century. It's a remarkable achievement, and the American people have led; the American taxpayer should be proud.
So far things are going well in South Africa. My accommodations are nice and I am starting to become acclimated to the J'oburg suburb lifestyle. My work started here last Monday with a debriefing session with Stefan. We work out of a container that is on the property of a Catholic church. Each day there is a different task scheduled. On Tuesdays, we go to a little Protestant church in the informal settlement to meet with several of the women who are participants in a small savings and loan program called Village Savings Fund (VSF). Mostly all of the women have young children.

Engelina and Eva, two local women, lead these meetings and act as interpreters for Glenn and me. With such an attentive audience, it is the perfect venue to do health education. A retired health advisor, Mama Tandi, then discusses the current women's health topic. Last week, it was breast and cervical cancer. After the health talk, we begin the health screening. With the help of Engelina, Eva, and Mama Tandi, Glenn and I record height, weight, BP, and whether the children take breast milk, formula, or solid foods. We will continue to collect the data mostly to asses the health risks of obesity and hypertension.

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