2012 Partners in Caring
|Date: Tuesday, February 14th, 2012||Return to Archive|
For the third year, WKU students participated in an international service learning course targeted at stimulating global health awareness. Twelve pre-medical students assisted three Bowling Green area physicians in providing care to villagers living in the impoverished area of Kasigau, Kenya. Currently, half of Kenya’s population of 15 million is comprised of the very poor, who are surviving on less than $1 a day with very limited access to health care. Students prepared for the trip through an intensive semester long seminar course in the Fall 2011 semester which focused on Kenyan culture, history and geography; epidemiology of prevalent and tropical disease; and the structure of the Kenyan healthcare system. Students also learned basic medical triage skills that were applied during the two-week field course in January 2012. During the field work, students participated in a seven day clinic in which they, along with the U.S. physicians and local Kenyan health practitioners, attended over 1000 patients in the villages of Rukanga, Bhuguta, and Makwasinyi. Students raised all of the money themselves for the purchase of medicines to be used in the clinics. In addition to direct healthcare administration, students also served the communities by conducting a workshop on dental hygiene for the local primary school and by collecting and distributing toothbrushes/toothpaste, reading glasses, and much needed school supplies to the villagers. Two students, John Whitaker and Lindsay Williams, and one WKU Global Scholar, Aric Johnson, also conducted research while in Kenya. Their work focuses on determining the prevalence and basic epidemiology of hypertension in this rural area of Kenya. In addition to the service-learning component of the trip, students visit a Giraffe conservation center in Nairobi, Fort Jesus in Mombasa, a remnant from the Portuguese occupation there, go snorkeling in the Indian Ocean, and have a game drive is Tsavo West National Park. In conclusion, the Partners in Caring program is a unique opportunity for WKU pre-professional students to gain hands-on international medical experience at the undergraduate level while simultaneously developing an awareness of global healthcare disparity and fostering a sense of social responsibility for all people.
In the photo is the official handing over of a microscope to a lab in Buguta. The chief of the village (in beige) and the local councilman (black) conducted the ceremony.