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What Does Global Health Research Look Like?

Marlyn Moradian


Global Health Senior and Double Major Marlyn Moradian took 1st Place at the 2nd Annual Horizons of Global Health Research Symposium on May 29th, 2015 at UC San Diego.

Her poster was titled:

“Ebola Prevention and Health Care Projects in Kpando, Ghana – A Cultural Perspective”

Abstract: Over the summer of 2014, I partook in a global health assignment in Kpando, Ghana, collaborating with a local non-governmental organization, UNiTED (Unifying Neighbors Through Education and Development).

My aim was to understand methodologies of health outreach and medical approaches in relation to the Ghanaian culture, contextualizing both global and international health from the Western perspective. During this time, the largest Ebola epidemic in history affected neighboring countries in West Africa, killing thousands. The virus was first discovered and identified in 1976; consequences of infection have been deadly. The recent outbreak has resulted in a fatality rate of up to 71%. In an effort to bring awareness to local community members about the virus and disease in case of a local outbreak, pamphlets, presentations, and outreach efforts were administered. Collaboration with local translators and residents were coordinated to produce an appropriate pamphlet and presentation, using acceptable language and method of communication to be best suited for the local population.

The local St. Patrick Hospital was one of the venues where daily educational discussions were conducted. Patients were given the opportunity to learn, ask questions, and familiarize themselves with the outbreak, under the coordination of a staff health educator and myself. Additionally, I worked with staff and physicians. We discussed the situation of the outbreak, and educated myself of their outlook and attitude. Further, and importantly, I learned about diagnosing malaria and related diseases, and also took note of the methodologies followed for prescribing certain malarial medications to pediatric, adult, and elderly patients. A group of six patients (male and female, 16 to 64 years old) living in a nearby village outside of Kpando, from, suffered from chronic diabetes and hypertension, resulting in acute ulcers. In developing my assessment of local diseases, daily rounds were made with a local translator, to change dressings, record vital signs, offer support, and advise on seeking further care at Margaret Marquart Catholic hospital. There was a need to also assist another local woman who was physically disabled from medical condition. Daily rehabilitation exercises were performed, while also offering social support.

Further, along with another volunteer, I traveled to an island in Lake Volta to understand the needs of local residents, and helped with maintaining a newly assembled clinic. In a community with no running water, electricity, or local physicians, learning to effectively run a clinic was challenging, yet insightful. Donations of dressings, medications, and instruments from volunteers were used, while training a local resident how to successfully deliver health care. Many techniques came from the text, Where There is No Doctor. My experience in Ghana was contextualized from a global and international perspective coming from a Westerner, while learning about and understanding various health care methodologies. The importance of listening to the community, patients, and understanding cultural values and perspectives has been shown to be necessary, to best suit the needs of individuals and the local population. Whether serving a local community or going abroad, it is essential to aim for personal cultural humility and local cultural competency when attending to health care needs.

If you are interested in participating next Spring in the Horizons Poster Session keep a look out for the call for abstracts in Winter 2016.

This years poster topics included:

  • Cheyenne Butcher: Residential distance to flower plantations in relation to a marker of pesticide exposure

  • Soumajit Kundu: Leishmaniasis in China and India: Key Factors in Disease Contraction and Strategies for Disease Control

  • Brianna Egan: Evaluation of Recruitment Sample Across Neighborhood Types in Community of Mine Study

  • Priscilla Soria: The improvement of Healthcare in Limited English Proficiency communities through the use of Medical Interpreters

  • Emma Jackson: A Fluid Reality- The Danger of Misdiagnosing a Mental Illness

  • Erica Settlecowski: Universal Food Insecurity Screening and Referrals Among Low-Income Hispanic Immigrants Within Student-Run Free Clinics

  • Marisol Garcia: Triple p-positive parenting programs in domestic violence emergency shelters

  • Ashlee Merida: Women Empowerment through Pregnancy Resource Centers

  • Arlene Ngor: USMEX: Cross Border Dynamics And Efforts

  • Marlyn Moradian: Ebola Prevention and Health Care Projects in Kpando, Ghana – A Cultural Perspective

  • Gun Violence Intervention Group: Gun Violence Intervention Student Organization

  • Julius Solbes-Moran: Human rights issues facing migrants and deported patients attending the HFIT clinic

  • Lynhea Anicete: The Makeshift Clinic

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