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Battling Polio in Africa: Part 2, People Here are Resourceful, Generous

Categories: Polio

This clinic was about an hour north of Accra, Ghana. Note the 24-hour service. Most staff members live on site and are available at all times.

This clinic was about an hour north of Accra, Ghana. Note the 24-hour service. Most staff members live on site and are available at all times.

Note: This is the second in a series about Ted’s experiences in Ghana volunteering for the Stop the Transmission of Polio (STOP) project during February, March, and April 2010.

VOLTA, April 20, 2010 — During my time here in Ghana, I’ve met some wonderful public health people who are earnestly trying to make a difference. Outside of Accra, the things we take for granted are often missing. In many clinics, there is no electricity, running water, or physicians. The clinics are run by a nurse or midwife, and they generally live on site and are available 24/7 for all the community’s medical needs. They have a large book of protocols, and when people come in, they make a diagnosis, refer to their protocols, and then administer treatment. They are very friendly and dedicated staff and work under what most of us would describe as unacceptable circumstances.

Battling Polio in Africa: Part 1, Positive Reception in Every Village

Categories: Polio

Ted Pestorius squeezed a liquid capsule of vitamin A supplement to a child during a National Immunization Day in Ghana. Vitamin A helps prevent blindness.

Ted Pestorius squeezes a liquid capsule of vitamin A supplement to a child during a National Immunization Day in Ghana. Vitamin A helps prevent blindness.

Note: This is the first in a series about Ted’s experiences in Ghana during February, March, and April 2010.

VOLTA, April 20, 2010 — It’s been a good trip. I’m at the end of my 12 weeks volunteering with WHO in Ghana as a Field Officer for a STOP Team — Stop the Transmission of Polio.  As a member of team number 33, I’m one of the thousands of STOP volunteers who have participated since polio eradication began in 1988 and have been traveling from clinic to clinic across the country to review and improve their childhood immunization practices. While our emphasis is on polio, we pull records and review impact for all nine of the childhood vaccines used here in the country.

Doing Good with Baked Goods: Student Helps CDC Support Ebola Research

Categories: General

Table displaying cookies and muffins and sign reading "Bake sale: All proceeds go to the Centers for Disease Control and will be used for supplies to help find a cure for Ebola...a deadly disease currently affecting people in Africa"

Ebola often captures the interest of students who are preparing projects and reports. But I’ve found that rarely does it prompt someone to then raise funds on behalf of Ebola research. However, this is exactly what Ashely Enoch decided to do.

For her senior project at Soap Lake Middle and High School in Washington, Ashely held a bake sale.  Her intention was to help raise money that could be used to research a potential cure for Ebola.

Celebrating National Drinking Water Week 2010

Categories: Waterborne

Drinking Water Week logo

Most of us don’t stop to think about the importance of a safe and reliable water supply, but imagine what life would be like if drinking tap water meant putting yourself at risk for a serious (or even deadly) illness – or if the tap was dry.

National Drinking Water Week, sponsored by the American Water Works Association, is an annual observance that takes place this year May 2–8. The theme of the week, “Only Tap Water Delivers,” is a reminder of the many public health benefits provided by our tap water and the need to make sure that we maintain and improve our water system infrastructure so we can continue to enjoy safe water.

Dengue: The Key West Tour

Categories: Vectorborne

Aerial view of Key West (circled in red) off the coast of Florida

Aerial view of Key West (circled in red) off the coast of Florida

I often get asked about mosquito-borne dengue fever in the context of climate change. One of the first things I tell people is that it’s actually quite common outside the United States. Between 50 and 100 million cases occur each year, including about 500,000 of the really severe hemorrhagic fever type, and the numbers continue to increase. This increase is due to the usual suspects: more people moving into cities with poor sewage and scattered water containers that breed mosquitoes, increased international travel spreading the mosquito and viruses, and poor public health systems to control the mosquitoes.

Bringing Vaccines to a Location Near You

Categories: Prevention/Vaccination

Girls smiling and showing off their band-aids

Vaccines are in the news, on the minds of parents, in commercials, and on Oprah’s couch. Childhood vaccination has been bolstered by recommendations developed by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices with the participation and consensus of the nation’s medical professional organizations. It has been institutionalized as a part of pediatric practice.

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