GlobeMed at Northwestern

GlobeMed's mission is to connect the assets of a student-led network to grassroots health organizations working in communities around the world. By inspiring and training university students to mobilize resources for global health, we seek to build a movement fighting for a more sustainable and secure world.
Aug 13, 2010

Expanding the Childhood Nutrition Program

Allyson shares some photos with her new friend
Allyson shares some photos with her new friend

After an amazing summer working at our partner site, the Health Outreach and Peer Education (H.O.P.E.) Center, in Ho, Ghana, I am pleased to announce that exciting new initiatives are looming on the horizon.

With the support and guidance of the Center’s staff and community members, the four of us GlobeMed students were able to help develop new avenues to take the Childhood Nutrition Program. During our time in Ghana, the number of community demonstration farms was expanded to a total of four (one at the Center, two in the nearby village Ando, and another one in the village Kodzobi). The addition of these farms will help to reach a broader community, as more people are taught how to properly plant and harvest soybeans to fortify their children’s meals.

To promote sustainability, the peer education training materials of the program were updated and six more people will be trained in the coming year. Currently, three women have been educated as nutrition program ambassadors. They are responsible for helping run the cooking demonstrations and counsel community members in proper nutritional practices. These peer educators will act as liaisons between their community and the H.O.P.E. Center by promoting the nutrition program and identifying any concerns that come to light.

In addition, each student conducted community mapping surveys to better identify areas of health (infectious diseases, nutrition, sanitation, and sexual health) that can be improved among the Center’s catchment areas. Our results indicate that there are specific knowledge gaps, especially in relation to proper nutrition, that exist within certain subgroups of the communities. For instance, there is the potential to expand the nutrition program to include pregnant women. This population group could greatly benefit from the lessons taught during the nutrition program, since healthier eating during pregnancy can lead to a healthier mother and child. Already, work is underway to expand the nutrition program to include pregnant women.

Our time working at the Center this summer convinced us of the significance of the Nutrition Program; we have seen first-hand its positive effect on the community. One mother in Ando explained to me how she has gained a much deeper understanding of proper nutrition and consciously works to promote healthy eating practices among her friends and family. It is our sincere desire that more people will have the opportunity to experience the positive effects of the Nutrition Program and act as advocates within their own communities. It is easy to see that this dream is rapidly becoming a reality and we can’t wait to see what the upcoming year will bring!

GlobeMed students with their "baby backpacks"
GlobeMed students with their "baby backpacks"
Kente cloth fashion show with nurse Margaret
Kente cloth fashion show with nurse Margaret
A busy day at the H.O.P.E. Center
A busy day at the H.O.P.E. Center
Some of the Center
Some of the Center's younger patients
Playing games in Ando
Playing games in Ando
Visiting the demonstration farm in Ando village
Visiting the demonstration farm in Ando village

Links:

Jul 12, 2010

GlobeMED: HOPE Center

As most people know in development, the field is often more riddled with questions than answers. Common among these questions is how to measure an organization’s impact. Does one use fancy metrics to chart how a project develops and analyze data? Or does one rely on qualitative analysis, the actually question and survey approach of whether a person is better or worse off after a given project? Fortunately for me, GlobeMed, in partnership with the H.O.P.E Center, provided me both measurements over two days of unique site visits and insight into their remarkable work.

Day 1: Quantitative Data As I walked into the office of Margaret Asante, the head nurse of the HOPE Center, the first question in my head was “what was on the walls?” Covering the right wall of the Center was a series of post-it notes each dated and named. Margaret explained that this was how the center was visually tracking the birth weights of babies until the age of 5. It was not difficult to extrapolate from these figures that the organization was having an incredible impact on the health of the rural communities. The center sees nearly 90 patients a day both male and female, has started a testing lab, and plans to expand its services to prenatal care. In metrics alone, under the leadership of Margaret, with support from GlobeMed, the HOPE Center certainly is high performing, but what do the communities say?

Day 2: Qualitative Data After the details of day 1, Allyson along with three other members of the Northwestern GlobeMed summer team (Joey, Reema, Kathleen) led Alexis and I to Ando Village, one of the communities most impacted by the work of the HOPE Center. We all piled into a small taxi and weaved our way through cornfields until we reached the village and where we were greeted by a young woman named Esther. With some help from John (teacher) to rally the women, we sat down to learn about impact from the women themselves. At this point, I utilized what I call the “smile standard” (rating 0-10 on the size of a smile) to assess the project’s impact. The first impact indicator was the “10” smile of a young healthy girl sitting in the arm’s of her mother, after benefiting from an enriched diet thanks to support from the HOPE Center. The second impact indicator was the “10” smile of this girl’s mother, Cynthia, as the names of past GlobeMed volunteers were mentioned and the enthusiastic response the names elicited across the group of women. Thus, on qualitative smile standard, the project once again received high marks. I can imagine within a short time, the names of GlobeMed’s newest in the field volunteers will bring smiles across the faces of communities such as Ando Village as they promote health through outreach. GlobeMed was instrumental in the HOPE Center’s founding and continues to aid in the Center’s expansion of services and outreach in the surrounding areas. The facilities made possible with GlobeMed’s startup support and sustained by the Ghanaian government provide the areas an essential health resource. No matter the way one measures impact, GlobeMed’s partnership with the HOPE Center is truly a success and I look forward to hearing about all the new and exciting programs as this relationship evolves. Keep an eye out for new updates from this project at www.globalgiving.org/2071 and you can follow the students in the field experiences at www.globemedgrapevine.wordpress.com.

If you are interested in donating to GlobeMed please visit globalgiving.org/2071

Andrew and four other In-the-Field Travelers are currently in Ghana before they are making their way to Mali and Burkina Faso. They'll be visiting more than 30 GlobalGiving projects in the next month. Follow their adventures at http://itfwa.wordpress.com/.

Jun 30, 2010

Healing and H.O.P.E.

Children in Ando village
Children in Ando village

This summer, four GlobeMed at Northwestern students are spending our summer at the H.O.P.E. Center. We are each conducting community surveys in addition to project tasks at the Center. Our work will be helpful in better identifying the health care needs of the community, how the current childhood nutrition program can be expanded, and other aspects that will strengthen the partnership between GlobeMed and the H.O.P.E. Center in the coming year.

Our first two weeks in Ghana have shown us what an exceptional place the H.O.P.E. Center really is. We have been able to work closely with the Center’s staff, all of whom are dedicated, passionate individuals who care deeply about addressing the pressing health care needs within the community. The projects such as the childhood nutrition and sexual health outreach program are continuing to run well and we are currently looking for ways to improve upon and expand them. We are deep in discussion with the Center’s head nurse, Margaret, as well as the regional health director and the community organizer about ways to increase the childhood malnutrition project to reach a larger patient population. Our meetings have discussed the possibility of tailoring the program to meet the needs of pregnant women in the community as well as expand the nutrition demonstrations to the men (who do not traditionally see the importance of healthy eating habits). We as students will be conducting individual interviews and community meetings to discover the most pressing health care issues of each of the four surrounding villages. We will try to determine if the Center’s current programs are meeting their needs and what can be improved. This summer promises to be both productive and exciting!

People carrying water from the local water pump
People carrying water from the local water pump
GlobeMed summer team with head nurse, Margaret
GlobeMed summer team with head nurse, Margaret

Links:

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