Launch of the Kisumu Cervical Cancer Alliance Website

Launch of the Kisumu Cervical Cancer Alliance Website

On Thursday, January 14, the Kisumu Cervical Cancer Alliance held a Zoom meeting to review current plans and status of cervical cancer prevention in the region, and to launch their new website: www.kisumucanceralliance.org. The KCCA was started approximately three years ago to harmonize and increase the impact of cervical cancer prevention efforts among health care systems, non-profit organizations and government programs. Their mission is to “create an alliance of partners and stakeholder working to improve cancer screening, treatment and rehabilitation services in Kisumu County.” The website will serve as a resource for people interested in learning more about screening and vaccination and for women diagnosed with cervical cancer. Partners working in cervical cancer can share their work, and learn more about what control efforts in the region. The Kisumu first lady, Dorothy Nyongo, who has been a powerful advocate in cancer control for the region, was in attendance. She lauded the work, stating that “despite Covid, she is proud that...
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Director’s Blog December 2020

Director’s Blog December 2020

The past eight months have been a time of unexpected and often stressful changes as we navigate life with Covid-19 amidst a period of social and political unrest in this country. As the year comes to a close, we’ve chosen to focus this newsletter on the changes we’ve experienced over the past semester—what we’ll keep, what we’ve learned and how this has been a powerful catalyst for our work.  At this stage in the pandemic, the changes that felt temporary have become engrained into our daily lives—it’s natural to grab a mask before leaving the house, standing six feet away is the norm and it’s assumed that when we set up a meeting, it will be by Zoom.  While most of us can’t wait to resume more normalcy in our social and personal lives, some of these necessary changes have turned out to have unexpected benefits. Personally, I get to see my kids a lot more than I did before...
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October 2020 Director’s Message: Let’s make 2020 count, while it lasts

October 2020 Director’s Message: Let’s make 2020 count, while it lasts

When I wrote my last newsletter, Covid had sent students home for the rest of the spring semester, and many in the reproductive health community were wondering whether and how to engage in advocacy during the pandemic. In the past five months, Covid has transformed from a time-limited public health emergency, into our daily public health reality. Duke has settled into a new normal with a transformed campus life, including more social distancing, online and hybrid classrooms and an active surveillance program for faculty, staff and students. Our teams in Kenya and Uganda have used the research pause to strengthen their relationships with the local partners in sexual and reproductive health, mental health and cancer care, utilizing zoom workshops and webinars to build their networks and develop strategies to reimagine health care for the Covid and post-Covid era. Similarly, Blue Devils have risen to the occasion. Students have worked hard to engage online, balancing the new demands of masking, social...
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April 2020 Director’s Message

April 2020 Director’s Message

As this very unusual semester comes to an end, the world around us is filled with uncertainty. The Covid-19 crisis has changed our learning, working, and social environments in profound ways that would have seemed unimaginable just a few months ago. The challenges of transitioning to online learning are capped by the disappointment of missing out on the rituals that come with spring at Duke, especially LDOC and graduation activities. We are faced with uncertainty about when we’ll see friends and classmates again, stress associated with working at home while ostensibly caring for and schooling our children, and navigating the continuously changing work demands and structures. On top of this, most of us are worried about the health and safety of loved ones and are wondering when we will get back to normal—and what normal will look like. It may seem that now is not the time to focus on sexual and reproductive health and to prioritize issues directly related...
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Winter 2019 Director’s Message

The end of the semester and calendar lend themselves to reflections on the progress and challenges of the past year, and global health is no exception. In fact, last year we highlighted some of the year’s ups and downs in reproductive health. Both myself and Konyin Adewumi, DGHI MSc ’17, concluded that despite some setbacks, 2018 left us optimistic about progress toward reproductive and sexual health, reflected in a global call toward cervical cancer elimination, a historic decision on abortion rights in Ireland and a record number of women seeking (and achieving) government office in the United States and around the world. This year, the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) facilitates reflections on not just the past year, but the past 25 years of achievements in global reproductive health. The momentous discussion at the ICPD in Cairo, Egypt and the resultant 20-year Programme of Action were pivotal in shaping the agenda in women’s health around...
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Sandra Oketch: The Voice of Cervical Cancer Prevention in Kisumu County

Sandra Oketch, the Kisumu Research Director for the Center has been making the rounds of the radio talk shows to share information about human papillomavirus testing in anticipation of this week’s cancer awareness activities. During this media blitz, Oketch has been speaking on radio shows in Luo, Kiswahili and English, she is working with key members of the Ministry of Health to raise awareness of cervical cancer, educate women on their risk and how to get screened. Activities will include in-person education, screening and a cancer awareness walk on the second and third of October. Key stakeholders will take advantage of the momentum to convene of meeting of partners actively engaged in cancer prevention and treatment to help develop a cancer prevention alliance that works synergistically, without duplication of activities. The First Lady of Kisumu, Dorothy Nyong’o, long a supporter of cancer control activities in the region, has promised to serve as a patron for the Kisumu County Cancer Alliance....
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Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

With classes back in session, the halls are flowing with students talking about the trials and triumphs of their summers—whether they were in the field, interning in DC, trying out consulting work or just had an amazing vacation. The new school year brings with it a sense of new beginning and purpose—and sometimes an overwhelming feeling of everything needing to get “scheduled” during these first weeks of September.  A colleague recently started an email with the greeting: “did you have a relaxing or productive summer?  I feel like it’s either one or the other.”  It made me reflect on how we take advantage of being out of the classroom, trying to fit in various opportunities for travel, fieldwork and writing time that become harder during the semester, while also taking time to regroup and relax with family and friends. I hope everyone was able to have a little balance this summer, and come into the new school year with renewed...
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Summer SRT team joins Kisumu office

This summer the Center office in Kisumu will be hosting three students through a Student Research Training (SRT) summer program. They will be joined by a Masters in Global Health student, an ob/gyn resident and a post-doctoral fellow, all researching various aspects of cervical cancer prevention and health systems strengthening for reproductive health.  They've just arrived in Kenya, and I've asked them to share some of their plans and expectations for the summer.  Follow this page to see updates on their projects and reflections throughout the summer. Emma Mehlhop, T'21 Since this summer will be my first experience in field work of any kind, I have much to anticipate. First, I am looking forward to reflecting on not just why I am passionate about Global Health, but what I am personally able to contribute to the field. During the Global Health Ethics course, we spent time reflecting on the work of Boniface Mwangi, a Kenyan photojournalist, who asks Global Health workers and...
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Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

As students and faculty start lifting their heads from the end of semester rush and head off to Summer adventures, we have a chance to reflect on all we have accomplished this past year and to celebrate our graduating students. I had the opportunity to think more about this as I prepared my remarks for DGHI's undergraduate commencement on May 10. The opportunity to speak to graduates and their families was one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had since joining the Duke faculty in 2016. Asked to talk about my journey from Duke student to a career in medicine and global health, I told the students that they need to expect the unexpected, be prepared for— and maybe even proud of— the inevitable failures, and to take chances on new adventures and challenges. As we embark on new and exciting projects with learners across the university and medical school this summer, I am encouraged to see a new generation of researchers and...
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Director’s Blog, Spring 2019

Director’s Blog, Spring 2019

On March 8, we celebrated International Women’s Day, which coincided with the one year anniversary of the Center’s launch in 2018. We took this opportunity to celebrate the activities and achievements of the past year with a tweetstorm celebrating the amazing women who have worked with the Center—from our team in the field, to the team of Duke undergraduates running our communications strategy, and a lot in between! Check out our twitter feed (@RHatDGHI) to keep up to date on all of students, faculty, residents and fellows who have contributed to the Center this year. This’s year’s IWD theme, “think equal, build smart and innovate change,” was a call to address the need for truly transformative solutions to advance gender equality and empowerment for women and girls. There is increased recognition that the growing gender divide in STEM fields will continue to hinder innovation and development of the disruptive solutions necessary to address disparities in reproductive health outcomes in the US...
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