Frist Global Health Leader: Beth O'Connell

Descriptive Statistics

Feb 10 2014

            The comprehensive report that I have been creating of a baseline study has proven to be a challenge and a great learning experience. I have learned how to use SPSS software more fully and gained a better understanding of application of biostatistics and epidemiologic concepts I learned in the classroom. Having to actually use information always brings a new level of understanding. I have called upon colleagues within my network at the ETSU College of Public Health to help me along the way. After finishing up some literature review for recommendations, my report will be ready to submit to the organization by February 14.

            Findings of my data-crunching include demographic, water and sanitation, maternal and infant health, economic development, communication infrastructure, education, community organization and advocacy, women’s empowerment, and nutrition data. Some of the more interesting findings include the number-one cause of death of children being diarrhea, as well as a high prevalence of diarrheal illness at the time of the survey. Figures from these questions are shown below. 

Beth O'Connell Child Cause of Death

Beth O'Connell Current Illness of Children

Other highly interesting data is found in education levels and literacy rates. Please see the graphs and table below. 

Beth O'Connell Literacy

Beth O'Connell Languages Spoken

Beth O'Connell Highest Grade Completed

These are just two examples of data standing out from this now forty-page report. I expect my work to be of significant value to my host organization, and it is certainly adding to my knowledge and understanding of baseline needs assessment and data analysis. 

Beth O'Connell dental fair
Day 1, Guatemala

I spent my first night in Guatemala City with Christian Aponte, director of CAFNIMA, my host organization. He helped me review the report I have been working on of the household survey data. We have been fine tuning it to be the most helpful to the organization and people. From there, I took a five-hour bus ride to Cobán and a two-hour truck ride to the Ulpán Valley. 

The major project I have been working on since my arrival is a malnutrition study. We are using the WHO program Anthro to determine which children are chronically and acutely malnourished and require intervention. This determination is based on the height, weight, and age of each child. So far, I have identified fourteen children who were moderately to severely acutely malnourished at the last visit. We will be visiting as many of these children as possible to remeasure them and provide nutritional supplements as well as education to the family on their care. The supplements given with the supervision of a physician based on the United Nations recommendations for in-home recuperation of malnourished children. These interventions have been shown to work—an additional eighteen children were previously acutely malnourished and improved in subsequent measurements following intervention.

Beth O'Connell Chained

The first child we visited as a part of this study had not been previously seen, but a CAFNIMA employee, Ricardo, had been told about him. At our first visit to the home, it appeared that no one was home. We heard noise behind the house and found a six year old boy chained to a post. It was immediately apparent that this was a case of abuse rather than simply lack of food in the home. Because this organization works with the community, this situation needed to be handled delicately. We returned to the home when the adults were present including a mother, aunt, and grandfather. The other four children in the home appeared healthy. We got permission to weigh and measure each child with the intention of focusing on the six-year-old’s situation. After discussion, we found out that this one child was mistreated because of a superstitious belief of the Maya that if the mother experiences trauma during pregnancy, the child is cursed. This belief was further encouraged when he was born early at four pounds. He is currently only 21.8 lbs. We provided the family with supplemental food and vitamins and watched the child eat as fast as he could. Ricardo was communicating with the community authorities to see what could been done to change the situation from an authority standpoint.

The following day, we returned to the home with clothing for all of the children and more food. We gave the boy food again while we were there, and he vomited immediately. We then found out that he had been vomiting and had diarrhea with the food provided the previous day. He also had a cough. We told the family the protocol we were using and the organization physician both advised that with such complications the child be taken to a hospital. They agreed to allow us to take the mother, the sick boy, and a younger sibling who was still breastfeeding to the hospital. It was a long night of trying to get help because it took about three hours to get to the first clinic (with several stops when he would vomit or have diarrhea again) and then we had to take him to another facility. There was a long delay before he was actually registered and began receiving care. We stayed the night in the city to get a few hours of sleep and returned to the hospital the next morning to check on him. They would not allow the younger sibling to stay in the hospital, so we took the mother and baby back to the community and convinced her to leave the baby with the aunt and return to the hospital to stay with the sick boy. All of this was in an effort to reconnect her to her child and learn to care for him again. Additionally, an organization employee filed an official abuse report to the government. The church the family attends has also been involved, and we hope that there will be encouragement from them as well for the family to change their treatment of him as “special.” For now, the child is receiving care and food and the proper actions have been taken to get him legal help as well as to encouraging the family to change their views of him.

All this happened in my first three days in the community. It has been a rude introduction to the needs of the people and the complexity of cultural situations. We have fourteen more children to find and follow up with. I am also providing the organization with further data on all of the children involved in the study. Chronic malnutrition is rampant, with 63% of those measured fitting guidelines for moderate to severe stunting. I pray that we are able to make a difference for these children and families.

Tomorrow my hosts and I will attend a community meeting to promote upcoming dental health fairs. 

MDG4 Gates Foundation

Five years ago, Save the Children asked me to chair their Newborn and Child Survival Campaign. In 1990, over 12 million kids were dying every year; that is, over 33,000 children were dying every single day from preventable, treatable disease.

Today, the statistics have changed. We have almost cut that number in half. The goal for Millennium Development Goal #4 to reduce child mortality by 2/3 is within our grasp. The numbers show that almost 6.6 million children die per year, or about 18,000 children per day. The good news is that we are making progress.

What are the keys to this progress? With over 40% of the deaths under 5 being attributed to newborn or infant mortality, addressing the need for a skilled birth attendant, keeping the baby warm and dry at birth, and encouraging breastfeeding goes a long way. After the first year, simple interventions such as vaccines and ORT (oral rehydration therapy) combat the number #1 and #2 killers of children in developing nations: pneumonia and diarrhea. Bed nets, nutrition, clean water, and sanitation access have also been key interventions to combat child mortality.

We aren’t there yet. But we are on the way. Join Hope Through Healing Hands and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on MDG4 and other global health news and why it matters. 

Photo from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website.

Brad Paisley Harmony Award

Saturday night, December 14, Senator Bill Frist, MD, was honored to present Brad Paisley with the Harmony Award at the Nashville 29th annual Symphony Ball. This prestigious prize is given to someone who exemplifies musical excellence and serves the community by making a difference in people's lives.

Hope Through Healing Hands has had the privilege of working with Paisley on the Water=Hope Campaign, which provides clean water to communities in Haiti. Read more about the evening at TasteofCountry.com.

photo by Terry Wyatt, Getty Images

In 2000, Senator William H. Frist, MD, was a founding co-chair with then Senator John Kerry of the first bi-partisan task force on HIV/AIDS, which led to the creation of the groundbreaking PEPFAR plan and ultimately paved the way for the Global Fund, which is dedicated to fighting AIDS, TB, and malaria worldwide. Just a few weeks ago in Washington, DC, a group of international leaders met, including the President of the United States and Bill Gates, to rally financial support for the fourth replenishment of the Global Fund. Sec. Kerry acknowledge the crucial leadership role that Senator Frist provided in the early days of the fight against HIV/AIDS. 

J. Stephen Morrison and Katherine Bliss of the Global Health Policy Center wrote about this meeting and what it means for the global fund in "Refueling the Global Fund."

Gayle Smith CSIS

Since the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria's inception, the US has been a leader in supporting it, and will continue to do so in the future. But why? In this short video, Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and a Senior Director at the National Security Council explains why the Global Fund is important to America and how we're working with other nations to make global health an even more important priority worldwide.

If you want to know more about Senator William H. Frist, MD's involvement on the board of CSIS, watch what he has to say about Health and our Common Humanity

Kate Etue is Director of Communications for Hope Through Healing Hands.

Marie is struggling today in the oppressive Haitian sun.  

It's not that it's hotter than usual today, it's always hot here, but as the baby grows in Marie's womb, he takes the last of the nutrients out of Marie's already depleted body and today she feels it more than ever.  She thinks of her other six children and remembers how hard their births were as she cried out on the dirt floor of her mud hut with only her sister to help her.  She sees the faces of her two little ones that she laid to rest in that same dirt the year before.  

Marie has heard stories of women in the United States, 2 hours away, who give birth in clean hospitals and are given medicines that take away the horrible pain.  The babies there are put into warm clean incubators instead of filthy rags on the dirt floor.  She hears that the mothers and babies there have enough to eat.  But that two hours distance might as well be twenty hours.  Marie lives in Haiti and she is struggling.

Why is it that two countries separated by a mere two hour flight have such vastly different stories?  One of success and comfort and the other of failure and pain.  One with more resources than can be counted and the other with starvation, disease and death.  

Our Maternal Health Clinic seeks to bridge that gap.  By offering food, prenatal vitamins, medical care and counseling, we hope to give mothers like Marie hope.  We presently have funding for 200 pregnant women, giving them similar medical care to the care that American mothers get.  

But Marie is not one of the 200.  She is one of the 1800 who are not in the program.

For $10 per month, you can supply Marie with enough food, prenatal vitamins and medical tests to bridge that gap.  

That's the cost of one movie ticket or two grande, non fat, extra hot 
chai lattes at your favorite coffee house.

With ninety bucks, Marie will thrive during her 9 month pregnancy and her baby will enter this world with a robust cry on a clean blanket.

Donate Now at LiveBeyond

Give Life
Be a part of the solution!

LiveBeyond

Dr. Vanderpool is a great friend of Hope Through Healing Hands' chairman, Dr. Frist, and has also travelled to Haiti several times with Senator Bill Frist, M.D. to provide aid to those in need. Live Beyond is a non-profit organization that provides medical care, clean water, and nutritional support to those who are devastated by natural and man made disasters. "We choose to Live Beyond ourselves, our communities and our professions so that others may Live."


(The Hill, May 28, 2013)

By Rep. Barbara Lee and Bill Frist

A Democratic Congresswoman and a former Republican Senator aren’t afforded many opportunities to work together. Especially at a time of fiscal crisis when every dollar is scrutinized and fought over, partisanship pushes us into opposite corners. But we agree on a program that truly has bipartisan support, saves millions of lives a year, and contributes directly to stability, security and economic growth worldwide.

Ten years ago this May, when the AIDS pandemic was at its worst, ravaging many African countries and a sure death sentence for millions, our country responded in an unprecedented way. We both, along with the late Republican Congressman Henry Hyde and the late Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos, worked with the Congressional Black Caucus and a bipartisan group of legislators to address this enormous problem. Soon after, in 2003, then-President George W. Bush instated PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, pledging $15 billion over five years to combat the spread of HIV, prevent further infections and improve access to care for millions of people across the globe.  Each year since then, Congress, with bipartisan support, has stood behind the program, providing critical funding to enable PEPFAR to truly help change the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic.

Now, a decade later, PEPFAR’s success isn’t just measured in dollars spent, but in lives saved and communities improved. The Institute of Medicine called the program “transformational” in global health.

PEPFAR has directly supported life-saving antiretroviral treatment for nearly 5.1 million men, women and children around the world, and is helping prevent hundreds of thousands of mother-to-child transmissions, an essential step toward achieving an AIDS-free generation. Engaging women is crucial to the broader goal; about half of the people living with HIV worldwide are women, and their empowerment is critical to beating this disease. PEPFAR supported HIV testing and counseling for more than 11 million pregnant women in 2012 alone.

Because of PEPFAR, we’re not just working toward an AIDS-free generation, we’re achieving an AIDS-free generation.

All around the world, PEPFAR is caring both for the health of the individual and the health of communities. The medications and programs supported by PEPFAR are so effective that people living with HIV/AIDS are doing just that — living. Infected individuals can care for their families and hold jobs. Communities enjoy economic stability. The United States earns a positive reputation.

But we are at a tipping point to truly realize this vision. If we back away now, the gains we’ve made will evaporate; the success we’ve had will disappear. Support of PEPFAR now is as important as it was 10 years ago.

HIV is a virus, not an ideology. Democrats and Republicans should be proud of PEPFAR’s legacy and continue to support it moving forward, providing the program with the robust funding it still needs to help achieve an AIDS-free generation.

Lee serves on the House Committee on the Budget and the House Appropriations subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and is founding co-chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus and represents the United States on the United Nations’ Global Commission on HIV and the Law. Frist is adjunct professor of surgery at Vanderbilt and Meharry medical schools and former majority leader of the U.S. Senate.

(The Hill, May 22, 2013)

By Senator William H. Frist, M.D.

On June 8, the United Kingdom, under the leadership of Prime Minister David Cameron, will host “Nutrition for Growth,” a high-level meeting where donor governments, including our own, will pledge funding and other commitments to address undernutrition and its devastating impact on the long-term health and productivity of millions of people in developing countries.

Sitting side by side with donors and foundations will be representatives of developing country governments, the private sector and civil society organizations, demonstrating the truly complex and multi-stakeholder nature of nutrition.

Malnutrition is one of the world’s most serious, yet least-addressed, development challenges. It contributes to almost 2.5 million young child deaths annually. Malnutrition is a serious drain on economic productivity, costing countries as much as 11 percent of GDP.

Close to 200 million children throughout the world are chronically malnourished and suffer from serious, often irreversible cognitive damage. Physically, undernourished children are stunted—smaller in stature than their well-nourished peers, more susceptible to illness throughout life, including noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer and obesity.

The case for greater leadership and investments in global nutrition is clear. The Copenhagen Consensus, an expert panel of economists that includes several Nobel laureates, concluded that fighting malnutrition in young children should be the top priority investment for policymakers. In the group’s report, they stated that every $1 invested in nutrition generates as much as $138 in better health and increased productivity. Similar studies have found that undernutrition causes between $20 billion and $30 billion in additional health costs every year to treat the long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition.

While the problem is complex, the solutions don’t need to be. Cost-effective, evidence-based solutions exist. What we need are the resources and the political commitment to scale up proven nutrition solutions.  Political commitment in the form of presidential leadership and bipartisan congressional support works. We have seen it in the Global Fund, the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

We can do it again — this time to scale up and align nutrition investments. To follow the proven PEPFAR model, we should target resources to benefit the most vulnerable; align resources across all agencies and programs; focus on countries where we have committed partners and country-led strategies; and coordinate efforts internationally.

UNICEF reports that 1 in 4 children under the age of five is stunted and 80 percent of those children live in just 14 countries. The Lancet’s series on maternal and child health and nutrition highlights the 1,000 days from the beginning of pregnancy to a child’s second birthday as the critical window of opportunity for human health and development.

Like PEPFAR, we can target our interventions to benefit those most vulnerable to undernutrition, namely pregnant women and young children. We have commitments from more than 30 countries, which as part of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement — a partnership of donors, developing countries, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector — have identified undernutrition as a severe impediment to economic development. A number of those countries have developed national nutrition plans that offer donors an opportunity to build upon and strengthen the country-led aspect of the investments.

We can begin by working with those committed country partners through bilateral and multilateral channels and offer our government’s technical expertise and best practices to galvanize a concrete investment strategy that includes innovative public and private partnerships and financing mechanisms.

There is an emerging international coordination effort for nutrition: the Nutrition for Growth event in London, last year’s G8 commitment to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the UK-led Hunger Summit of 2012 and the growing Scaling Up Nutrition movement. These efforts will help the United States to share with other donors the cost of alleviating this global problem.

This is a critical moment for the U.S. to lead on global nutrition. The June 8 summit in London is the perfect opportunity for the Obama administration to announce a bold global nutrition strategy that outlines a multifaceted and multi-year approach to better coordinate and integrate nutrition resources across sectors and agencies, with clearly defined goals and targets, and with the dedicated resources necessary to achieve the strategy’s stated goals. Bipartisan leaders in Congress must step forward and commit to working with the president to make global nutrition a top priority of U.S. development assistance.

The moment for turning the corner on global nutrition is here, and it is time for our elected leaders to demonstrate anew how American leadership is the driving force for building a healthier, safer and more prosperous world.

William H. Frist, M.D. is a nationally acclaimed heart transplant surgeon, former U.S. Senate majority leader, the chairman of Hope Through Healing Hands and Tennessee SCORE, professor of surgery and author of six books. Learn more about his work at BillFrist.com.

SEED

It is with great pleasure that today we announce Global Health Service Corps (GHSC) is changing its name to  Seed Global Health. As many of you know, we have been considering a name change over this past year to better capture the full scope and mission of our work and to better distinguish our cause. We believe this new name better represents our efforts to cultivate stronger, sustainable health systems through training new generations of physicians and nurses in countries where they are needed most.

Our name is changing, but not our innovative public-private partnership with the Peace Corps and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) - the  Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP). Seed Global Health's role in the partnership is to provide the expertise in medical and nursing education as well as knowledge of clinical education in resource limited countries.
 
We are extremely proud to be sending our first class of GHSP volunteers -33 doctors and nurses - to serve as faculty in medical and nursing schools in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda this July. They are truly an impressive group of nurse practitioners, midwives, pediatricians, OB/GYN's, psychiatrists, anesthesiologists, family and internal medicine doctors who will work with faculty in their host countries to develop curriculum and help train a new generation of doctors and nurses. We will be sharing some of their stories with a bigger announcement in July.
 
Also today, the Global Health Service Partnership begins accepting applications for 2014 volunteers. We're committed to recruiting the best qualified-candidates for the job. And for those who may have financial constraints to service, Seed Global Health raises and disburses loan repayment and other support to those chosen to serve abroad.
 
We hope you will share this information with individuals you think might be a good fit for the program.  For more information on applicant requirements, visit Seed Global Health.

You can like us on facebook and follow us on twitter to spread the word, too.
facebook link to Seed Global Health or twitter Seed_Global.
 
We are humbled and excited that just over a year ago we were announcing our collaboration, and just 2 months from now we will have volunteers on the ground and working to build a pipeline of medical professionals in the countries that most need them.
 
Thank you for your continued support!
Warm regards,
Vanessa
 
Vanessa Kerry, MD MSc
CEO, Seed Global Health
[email protected]
www.seedglobalhealth.org
 
 
Join the Seed Global Health mailing list to follow our progress.
[email protected]
www.SeedGlobalHealth.org
617.520.4472

Subscribe to our newsletter to recieve the latest updates.