In conjunction with the Drexel University WeServe program and the Drexel University School of Public Health, we will be traveling to Gambia (West Africa) this summer to do work on a number of public health projects related to maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS prevention & education, and chronic disease management.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Thursday was the first day we split up. Tomi and Idris went to the kombos (downtown Banjul) with the hospital team. They initially thought it was going to be a straight trip there and back, but were quickly introduced to the common practice of providing rides into town for the locals. Tomi was asked to help one of the passengers by holding their baby the entire way. This all-day event included picking up medicine for the hospital, purchasing food for the canteen, and a manhunt for fans for our home. After a long hunt and a lot of haggling, they got the fans! After returning, they were welcomed by no electricity, so we played the card game "UNO" with  neighbors by lantern light for a few hours until the light came back on and we could finally use the new fans!

Tosin spent the afternoon at the dental clinic with Dr. Camara. It was very busy and fast paced. The dental clinic has one machine that is used just like the machine in the States. Unfortunately, it was broken due to the light problems so she was forced to use tools manually. It was really amazing for Tosin to see how the machine being broken did not stop or dishearten the doctor. She got to assist with the pulling of the left lower quadrant premolar. The patients tooth was rotting and was becoming infected. She showed Tosin how to locally anesthetize patients' gums to pull teeth without pain. Tosin also helped with just regular teeth cleaning. When Tosin asked Dr. Camara what would make her job easier, she responded by saying she is running low on basic supplies like toothbrushes,toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. This is an easy enough wish to grant. Hopefully Love Abroad supporters can do something to help! 

Lauren went with the team of public health officers to issue birth certificates to parents in nearby villages. While in the villages, Lauren assisted the UNICEF officers as they determined the eligibility of those wanting to receive these certificates. In the Gambia, obtaining a birth certificate for children is important to receiving general services from the government.  This was a day long process because there were several villages in each district to be visited and each village had at least 10 children to be registered.  The people were very welcoming and thankful; they provided lunch for the team and snacks of groundnuts (peanuts) and mangos.  This is an important and ongoing project that will benefit lives of Gambian children and their families.

Greg and Tosin visited the HIV clinic With the supervisor Agie Bintou. They spoke with her about what it's like running an HIV campaign in Gambia. Greg asked her a number of questions about what would help her job easier. She responded by saying that a major issue for her is that information is always changing and being updated and because of this its hard for her to stay current with the information. She said she wishes there was a system that she could go on that would continuously update about any HIV information so she can stay current. They also talked about HIV stigmas in Gambia and how that affects treatment. Agie had a lot of great ideas about HIV interventions and campaigns. Her only deterrent was her resources. We are hoping to help her out any way we can!

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