Monday, August 2, 2010

Back on the deworming trail

We finally picked up on our deworming work again on Wednesday and the last couple of days have been a replica of the work that I was doing in Mekele, except now it's been expanded to adults and is centered on a NGO named Mekedim. Mekedim is a NGO that is focused on reaching out to the HIV/AIDS population here in Addis and since NTDs are known to be co-endemic with diseases such as HIV, the deworming campaign will go a long way in helping to alleviate some of the already heavy health burden facing these populations.

We began the last couple of days by driving to the Mekedim office and administering KAP surveys and gathering stool samples from the volunteers. Most of the volunteers were mobilized by the Mekedim health staff and many have been part of Mekedim's health outreach in the past. We mostly helped out with labeling the stool cups and ensuring that all of the labeled samples were returned and arranged in order. Next, we went to the parasitology lab located on the Lideta campus of Addis Ababa University. The lab apparently does a lot of Schistosomiasis and NTD work of its own, primarily through research. Since the lab team hadn't arrived yet, I was able to jump right in and show Braveen and Thanurshan the ropes on how to prepare the wet mount slides from the stool samples. They picked up quickly and we prepared all of the wet mount slides that then Jemal analzyed by himself for parasite prevalence. Although here the prevalence of Schistosomiasis mansoni is really low as it's more commonly transmitted through children, we were still able to discover the presence of other infectious parasites such as Ascuriasis, taenia, hookworm, trichurias, S. vermicularis, and S. stronglytis. In addition, we helped to input all the data from the survey work done in the 16 schools in Mekele, which will then be further analyzed for the deworming campaign's impact. The preliminary analysis had showed approximately a 50 percent reduction, but this data will be used for a more detailed and precise analysis as to which schools are showing the most improvement.

This coming week, we will be leaving Addis and travelling to Zuwai, which is one of the more poorer regions in Ethiopia. We get the unique chance of helping to mobilize the volunteers for the survey work there and we are excited and hopeful that this phase of our work will go well. Until next time, goodbye.

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