Eradicating Human Diseases: Opportunities and Risks

Eradicating Human Diseases: Opportunities and Risks

The Director of the Center for Global Reproductive Health, Dr. Megan Huchko, participated in a panel on November 28th entitled "Eradicating Human Diseases: Opportunities and Risks." Dr. Gavin Yamey (Director for the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health) moderated the event, which featured Dr. Christopher Plowe (Director of the Duke Global Health Institute), Dr. Lavanya Vasudevan (Assistant Professor in Community and Family Medicine) and Dr. Osondu Ogbuoji (Deputy Director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health) as additional panelists. While the panelists disagreed on the definition of eradication, they all commented upon 'donor fatigue' and the economic and political difficulty of completing eradication as cases dwindle. The panel discussed the difficulty global health programs face in second-world countries, which don't benefit from the same economic resources as first-world countries or as many donations as third-world countries. The panelists stressed the importance of continued screenings, especially in the case of cervical cancer, and emphasized the necessity of childhood vaccinations....
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The KCHSSIP 2018-2022 Validation Meeting

The KCHSSIP 2018-2022 Validation Meeting

The KCHSSIP (Kisumu County Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan) 2018-2022 validation meeting held at the Acacia Hotel on 9th Nov 2018 saw the Kisumu County Health Department and a consortium of partners come together to finalize a plan, which is based on data from county health services over the last 5 years, as well as experiences and lessons learned during implementation of the first strategic plan from 2013 to 2017. The plan attempts to effectively position the County Health Department in the correct contexts of the health system pillars: human resources for health, health technology and infrastructure, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, health governance and leadership, health service delivery, health financing, health information system, health sector policies and context and health sector social outcomes. It also examines county health burdens such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, skin diseases, pneumonia, tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases and non-communicable diseases. The document has gone through a process of stakeholder’s participation and input and is now...
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World Health Organization Releases New App

World Health Organization Releases New App

The World Health Organization has recently launched its new app entitled “Medical Eligibility Criteria For Contraceptive Use.” The purpose of the app is to allow anyone with a smartphone to be able to access recommendations for the best and proper contraceptive methods according to one's medical conditions. The WHO released the fifth edition of the medical eligibility criteria (MEC) in 2015 as a 276 page document as “part of the process for improving the quality of care in family planning” for “guidance on the safety of various contraceptive methods for use in the context of specific health conditions and characteristics.” The app condenses this information into an easily accessible and user-friendly interface. MED takes into account a woman’s medical condition and history in order to note which contraceptive methods would adversely affect the woman and to note if the condition could interfere by making the contraceptive method less effective. It truly emphasizes safety as a priority to promote female reproductive...
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Ovarian Cancer Needs more Attention and Awareness

Ovarian Cancer Needs more Attention and Awareness

Ovarian cancer is the 7th most common cancer in the world. Nearly 300,000 women are predicted to develop ovarian cancer this year and less than half of these women diagnosed are expected to survive after 5 years. However, there is very little awareness of ovarian cancer and its effects. A survey conducted by the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition gathered information from 1,531 women across 44 countries. The women who participated were from high, middle, and low income countries and were asked to answer online questions about their experiences with ovarian cancer. The study points to the fact that over two thirds of women who participated had never even heard of ovarian cancer or knew nothing about it before they were diagnosed. Additionally, less than half of these women attempted to find care or answers for their symptoms within the first month they appeared, and one in every ten women did not seek medical help for 6 months. This data is important...
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One Man, His Wife’s Legacy, and the “Monarch of Dreams”: Cervical Cancer Prevention in Zambia

One Man, His Wife’s Legacy, and the “Monarch of Dreams”: Cervical Cancer Prevention in Zambia

The women of Zambia have the world’s fourth highest rate of cervical cancer; yet, Zambia’s government provides free cervical cancer screening services. This begs the question: why does such a high incidence of cervical cancer persist? The answer is due, in part, to a lack of awareness amongst the female population regarding this disease, particularly in rural areas. Robert Zulu, in upholding the legacy of his late wife whom he lost to cervical cancer, aims to inform and empower Zambia’s women by encouraging regular cervical cancer screenings. These preventative measures are especially important for HIV, which disproportionately affects Zambia’s women, as this disease increases the likelihood of cervical cancer diagnosis by three times. Zulu’s non-profit, Rakellz Dream Initiative, takes an incredibly unique approach to this end of raising awareness, producing plays and movies about cervical cancer. Zulu’s latest film, “Monarch of Dreams,” which is based on his wife’s battle with cancer, premiered on October 31st in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital. The...
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Community Health Campaign: Thoughts Station by Station

Community Health Campaign: Thoughts Station by Station

Not much changes yet everything seems different whenever I return to my home country of Kenya. I was reminded of my first time in Kisumu last year with Dr. Megan Huchko & Katelyn Bryant-Comstock and how anxious I was, even though I was in Kenya, I was completely unfamiliar with this region, the local language, and the culture. Last year, I was a rising junior filled with high hopes, yet naïve of the intricacies of proposing a project and carrying it out. This year, I have returned with much more practical expectations as well as a greater capacity to carry out my project: using GIS spatial mapping to enumerate the risk of loss-to-follow up for treatment of HPV. My project is taking place in Migori, Kenya as a part of the ongoing Cervical Cancer Screening & Prevention Study. The use of geographic information systems will help us create correlations between women’s sociodemographic variables as risk-factors and treatment loss-to-follow up rates....
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Patient Barriers to Cervical Cancer Prevention in Kenya

Patient Barriers to Cervical Cancer Prevention in Kenya

Starting at age 21, you get regular pap smears. You get in your car, drive on a paved road to an Ob/Gyn or primary care clinic, and have the pap done, with relatively little effort on your part. That’s how cervical cancer screening works for most women in the United States and most other developed countries. In these countries, pap smears have significantly reduced rates of cervical cancer and resulting deaths. It’s a different story in developing countries like Kenya. In East Africa, cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women, even surpassing breast cancer. In Kenya, only 3.5%[1] of eligible women ever get screened for cervical cancer, and it’s difficult for those that screen positive for precancer or cancer to access treatment. Some barriers relate to infrastructure, as cervical cancer prevention and treatment requires resources including skilled providers, supplies, and transportation of specimens. To try to overcome some of these systems issues, Dr. Megan Huchko (director of the Center for...
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