263172 Field Experience with the Mister Sister Mobile Clinic in Namibia

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 10:58 AM - 11:12 AM

Ehimen Aneni, MBBS MPH , International Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
The combination of a sparse population, large landmass and difficult terrain significantly diminish access to primary health services for rural dwellers in Namibia. The Mister Sister Mobile clinic, a primary health care unit was set up to fill this unmet need. As technical advisor, I was involved in the daily operations of the mobile clinic while analyzing and summarizing nationwide policies on primary health care. I also set up protocols and managed data for a USAID funded research on the impact of the mobile clinic on the health of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). Riding with the clinic, I conducted an evaluation of the mobile clinic while conducting research on the impact of the mobile clinic on orphans and vulnerable children. The evaluation process required interviews with clinic staff and interaction with clinic clients/patients. Important aspects of the public health training useful in the practicum include research skills gained from epidemiology and biostatistics courses, program design, implementation and evaluation courses, critical analysis and public health writing. While offering hands-on experience, the practicum offered a pragmatic means of developing public health writing, program evaluation, and systems thinking. Importantly, field experience develops cultural sensitivity and international workplace attitudes that cannot be taught in the classroom. Working in rural Namibia has strengthened my resolve to become a global health policy researcher with emphasis on equitable access to health. Overcoming significant language and cultural barriers while working in a rural African setting were some of the greatest challenges I faced in Namibia.

Learning Areas:
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the intricacies of working with rural/underserved populations of Namibia as an African who is foreign to the country. Identify social, cultural and geopolitical differences encountered and how they were effectively dealt with.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a student/recent graduate of the BUSPH with a medical degree and MPH. My research interests have been on access to health, program evaluation and on public health aspects of sickle cell disease. I have several years of experience in international health in three countries.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.