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Medical Students Work on Malaria Research in Malawi (Part 1)

Katherine Germann, a niece of Randy Knapp who is one of Breakthrough’s Managing Partners, is in her 2nd year at Marshall University Medical School in West Virginia, and she and three of her classmates decided instead of doing lab work there over the summer, to create a project of their own. They are working in Malawi, Africa, in partnership with Ekwendeni Hospital as part of their away rotations. During an away rotation, students spend a predefined amount of time as a medical student outside their home institution. This project will focus on Malaria specifically, and there isn’t much recent data coming out of Northern Malawi about how the disease is understood and treated.

Upon receiving Institutional Review Board approval, they created and printed KAP surveys, and have translators ready to assist. Their goal is to distribute as many surveys as possible. A Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) survey is a quantitative method (predefined questions formatted in standardized questionnaires) that provides access to quantitative and qualitative information.

Germann is excited to train under the doctors that are there and is particularly mindful of the cultural differences between her home and a new place. “This is my first time in Africa,” says Germann, “None of us know what to expect when we get to the hospital.” She is looking forward to this project and says it’s “a great opportunity to learn outside of research through verbal histories and more time with patients.”

Staff at Ekwedeni Hospital Mobile Clinic

Ekwedeni Hospital has only 300 beds and 3 doctors on staff. Volume is high and supplies are limited, so the team reached out to the CFO of the hospital for items that they could bring. They gathered resources to donate to the hospital including 12 laptops for medical use, pulse oximeters, thermometers, BP monitors, lab coats, sterile and regular exam gloves, and $3000 in direct support. BT was happy to donate several laptops MacBook Pros to the hospital, as part of our Community Action Network. Read more about BT CAN for the latest community outreach and philanthropic projects we are working on!

During their stay, they will be hosted by Soil Food and Healthy Communities.

We look forward to hearing about Katherine Germann’s work when she returns!

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