GlobeMed at Columbia University

GlobeMed aims to strengthen the movement for global health equity by empowering students and communities to work together to improve the health of people living in poverty around the world. GlobeMed is an international community of students and grassroots organizations who form long-term partnerships, the heart of GlobeMed's model. Together, the chapter and partner organization implement specific health and development projects, communicating on every aspect from initial design to monitoring and evaluation. In just four years, GlobeMed established chapters at 46 universities across the United States, inspiring thousands of students to become lifelong advocates for global health equity. We co...
Dec 9, 2013

Stories of Change

Lucie on her farm
Lucie on her farm

As GlobeMed at Columbia continues our Individual Giving campaign this holiday season, we wanted to share with you another story of change about the impact that our project has had on individual lives in Gulu, Uganda. This story is Lucie's. As you read her story, please consider supporting our project so we can write more stories just as impactful as hers. 

This is Lucie's story.  

Lucie is an HIV positive single mother of four children. She is trained as a Human Rights Volunteer, Community Health Worker, and caretaker with GWED-G. As a Human Rights Volunteer, she holds sensitization events in her community about human rights and HIV/AIDS awareness, and as a Community Health Worker and caretaker, she makes regular visits to rural villages to educate people about their HIV/AIDS status and to make home visits and referrals to sick people in her community. Even though she has four children to take care of, she gives up time farming her own land to do all her work on a volunteer basis because she believes in making a difference in her community.

Before her involvement with GWED-G, she was not receiving treatment for her HIV/AIDS, and she was too weak to farm her land. Her neighbors started taking parts of her land away from her, saying she did not deserve to own land that she was not going to use. As a single mother of four children, she was unable to support her family and did not feel like she had enough authority in her community to fight for her right to property and health care. After attending a human rights education session organized by GWED-G in her community, she was connected with legal counsel that got her back her land and was referred to a local health center to receive treatment for her HIV/AIDS. She no longer believes her status as an HIV positive woman justifies her marginalization. Now, she is not only one of GWED-G’s most active volunteers, she is integral to all of GlobeMed at Columbia’s project objectives.

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Nov 22, 2013

This I believe

To our friends, family, and supporters,

To celebrate the beginning of GlobeMed at Columbia's Individual Giving campain, we asked our chapter members to write "This I believe" statements to share with their family and friends as they talk about what GlobeMed has meant to them. The responses were beautiful, with members saying "I believe that inaction towards global disparity is unacceptable," and "I believe that everyone deserves to achieve happiness."  And we began to think about how GlobeMed's partnership with the Gulu Women's Economic Development and Globalization has influenced what we believe in. Some of the most meaningful lessons we have learned have come through the stories we have witnessed in our time at GlobeMed. And so this will be the theme of our Individual Giving campaign for the winter of 2013: the stories that shape what we believe. Every other week, we will share the story of an individual who has inspired us to believe in the work that GWED-G is doing. Our Individual Giving campaign is dedicated to these men and women. As you read these stories and consider the values and beliefs that have shaped your life, we hope you consider supporting our project during this holiday season.  

Alice: age 29

            At first, Alice didn’t know she was HIV positive, but she heard rumors in her village that her husband was infected.  However, she ignored them because she didn’t want to take the issue seriously.  When asked to get tested, Alice refused, afraid that she would have to take drugs.  It was very difficult for her to believe that she might be positive.  Even when she became pregnant at age 26, she decided again not to test herself. 

            Finally, a GWED-G campaign changed her mind.  A few of Alice’s friends convinced her to attend a community sensitization session with them.  As she listened to the program, she heard about other mothers who were able to have healthy babies, despite the fact that they were HIV positive. When she went home that night, she talked to her husband and told him that they needed to go to the hospital to get tested.  Unfortunately, when the results came in, both her and her husband were diagnosed as HIV positive.

            After realizing that she had the virus, Alice became incredibly stressed and didn’t want to talk to anyone.  Feeling helpless and confused, Alice approached Grace, one of GWED-G’s Village Health workers and HIV caretakers, asking for help.  Grace counseled Alice and visited her in her home.  When Alice heard that GWED-G’s HIV program was looking to support HIV positive mothers, she said she was interested.  After talking to her and her husband, GWED-G enrolled her in a program focused on prevention of mother to child trasmission of HIV.

            Thanks to the services provided in the program, Alice delivered an HIV negative baby.  She says that GWED-G’s intervention changed her life, because otherwise she would have just given birth at home with no antenatal care and her baby would most likely have been HIV positive.  Because Alice shared the knowledge she learned from the sensitization with her husband, he chose to support her decision to become part of the program and even joined with her.  When GWED-G gave the family bean seeds, her husband helped her farm the land and plant them.  Currently, Alice has given birth to two healthy HIV negative boys.  

 

This story inspired us to believe in the power of community action to create tangible change.  If you believe in the power of this story as well, we hope you will consider supporting this project.

In solidarity,

Nicole Dussault and Menaka Dhingra

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Aug 23, 2013

Gearing Up for the New Semester!

Sensitization session meeting in Oboo Parish
Sensitization session meeting in Oboo Parish

Dear family and friends,

Summer is almost over and the GlobeMed at Columbia team is getting ready to start the new year! We have some exciting updates from GWED-G and are getting ready to unveil our new proejct for 2013-2014. We can't wait to start a new semester of fundraising and awareness campaigns, and we hope you will continue to follow our activities and support us as wonderfully as you have in the past. 

Our Grassroots On Site Work team wrapped up their activities in Gulu, Uganda at the end of June and have spent the past few months preparing the media and stories collected from the field to share with you all. Look forward to stories from our beneficiaries and new photos documenting field activities, as well as some interviews of the HIV positive mothers in our groups and some of the GWED-G staff as well! The team also helped design the new project for this year, which we will share with you all in the beginning of September. In the meantime, here is a brief summary of GWED-G's activities from their quarterly report. 

Maternal Health 

GWED-G's main goal for Maternal Health projects is to decrease the infant mortality rate, which has risen in the past years to 438 deaths per 100,000 live births. Despite the daunting challenges in achieving their target reduction, GWED-G has continued implementing awareness and treatment campaigns on the parish, community, and home level over the past few months. They have also continued their work with maternal health and family planning as well as ANC and PMTCT care. 

A second strategy towards reducing the infant mortality rate that GWED-G has been using is engagement with local officials. GWED-G is working with District Health Officers and VHTs to ensure that health facilities and existing government health stuctures are being properly and fully utilized. They have also been advocating for educational campaigns for children, which will serve as a preventative measure against the spread of HIV/AIDS and will facilitate proper family planning. 

GWED-G has also been trying their best to ensure that all the mothers our project is responsible for are receiving proper antenatal care. However, transportation to health centers is proving to be an issue for many of the women. Some of the women's husbands refuse to take them for treatment, and they cannot afford to hire a motorcycle taxi to take them. GWED-G will be working with GlobeMed in our new project to address issues such as these. On a brighter note, 30 of the mothers received safe birth kits which will allow them to have HIV negative babies. 

VHT Activities

The GROW team was able to see the VHTs' work while in Uganda, as well as distribute the incentives promised to them by our project. The VHTs received soap and sugar as well as bicycles while the GROW team was on site. They were also invited to a planning meeting where they were able to discuss training strategies as well as some of the challenges that they face in their daily work, such as transportation and lack of official materials to distribute to the community (i.e. informational pamphlets, flyers, etc.). 

You can read about the rest of the activities conducted by GWED-G this quarter in the attached report, including blood screenings for HIV and GBV awareness and sensitization sessions. We will be revealing our new project within the next few weeks; we can't wait for you all to see what GWED-G and GlobeMed at Columbia have planned for the new year! 

In the meantime, stay happy and healthy! 

GlobeMed at Columbia

Safe Birth Kit Distribution
Safe Birth Kit Distribution
VHT Incentive Distribution
VHT Incentive Distribution
Blood Screening in Palema Parish
Blood Screening in Palema Parish

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