Benjamin Simms, MPH '11
Kintampo North District, Ghana
I traveled to the Kintampo North District in Ghana for my summer internship. I was part of a research team that consisted of two Yale medical students, researchers from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, technicians from the Ghana Health Service and students from the Rural Health Training School in Kintampo. My primary goal was to determine whether nutritional status played a role in the response to anthelmintic treatment given to children between the ages of six and 11 who are infected with hookworm. I traveled each day to schools in remote villages to collect fecal samples from children to determine if they were infected with hookworm or other intestinal parasites. I also processed blood samples that were taken from each child to test for malaria and other indicators of nutritional status. The children in our study who were infected with hookworm were referred for deworming treatment with albendazole. Two weeks later, I analyzed post-treatment fecal samples to determine how the children responded to treatment and to calculate the efficacy of the drug. I had an incredible experience in Ghana. I ate waakye, a traditional Ghanaian dish made with rice and beans; cheered the Black Stars during the World Cup; and formed lifelong friendships with my Ghanaian colleagues. I received funding for my project from the Downs Fellowship and from the Office of Student Research.
Benjamin Sims - Ghana
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- A rainbow appears over thatched huts in the village of Tahiru Akuraa.
- Dylan Davey (right) and I standing in Jato Akuraa, waiting for children to arrive with their stool samples to bring them back to our laboratory in Kintampo. Dylan is an M.D. /Ph.D. student at the Yale School of Medicine.
- Preparing a fecal smear on a microscope slide using the Kato-Katz technique, used to identify hookworm and other eggs from intestinal parasites.
- Elyssa Berg and I taking height and weight measurements of children in Kawampe. The measurements were used to calculate height-for-age z-scores, a statistical measure of nutritional status based upon a standard growth curve for children. Elyssa is a medical student at the Yale School of Medicine.
- Our field team consisted of three Yale graduate students, researchers and staff from Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, technicians from the Kintampo Municipal Hospital and students from the Rural Health Training School in Kintampo.
- Owudu, a phlebotomist from the Kintampo Municipal Hospital, draws blood from a participant in Gulumpe while Dylan assists.
- Hookworm eggs from a fecal smear are visible under a microscope.
- Chief of Kadelso (center, seated), elders in the community, Eric Opare (center, standing) and staff from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.
- A boy smiles shyly for the camera at Babatokuma Islamic School.
- Children in Kadelso pose after a meeting with the chief and elders.
- Students crowd around the camera in Kawampe, trying to squeeze into the picture.
- Boys playing soccer at dusk in Tahiru Akuraa.
- A teacher from Mahama Akuraa and her child lead us to meet with the chief and the elders of the community.
- Debbie Humphries, a professor at YSPH, gives high-fives to students as they crowd around her in Gulumpe.
- A girl smiles happily after receiving her stool collection container at Kadelso Islamic School.
- Teachers at Mahama Akuraa Primary School smile for the camera as students wait to have their blood drawn by phlebotomists from the Kintampo Municipal Hospital.
- Students at Babatokuma Islamic School after collecting stool samples.
- Posing for a picture with a young Obama supporter at the Babatokuma Primary School prior to collecting blood samples.
- Showing my YSPH pride in Kadelso on a blood collection day.
- Colorful fishing boats line the beach outside of Cape Coast Castle on the Ghanaian coast.