Tororo District, Uganda
Career goal: Reduce the burden of infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, and injuries in Nigeria and other African countries through preventative interventions.
Internship outline: The aim of Musleehat’s project was to determine if there was a difference in parasitemia levels and the presence of P. falciparum strains between simultaneously collected capillary and venous blood samples in clinical trials of malaria. She leveraged the participants (pregnant women, non-pregnant adults, children) enrolled in ongoing NIH-funded trails in Tororo to collect blood samples via smears and filter paper at multiple time-points over a 42-day course of follow-up.
Value of experience: I was able to apply my training in epidemiology to write a research proposal and implement it. I also learned how to assertively express my expectations to and collaborate with a team of doctors, laboratory technicians, study coordinators and principal investigators. Working at a clinic gave me the opportunity to form relationships with my Ugandan co-workers and learn about their work and culture; I have gained lifelong friends. I also got a chance to travel within Uganda and East Africa.
Best moment/experience: While assisting a doctor who was enrolling a mother into the study, I touched her baby and noticed that she was extremely warm. I reported this to the doctor and found out the child had a fever and was diagnosed with malaria. The mother was not aware that her child was sick. Thus, if I was not observant, the child would have gone home without prophylaxis and the malaria could have exacerbated.
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- Musleehat Hamadu and her internship preceptor, Dr. Norah Mwebaza go to the Antenatal Clinic at Tororo District Hospital to inform the nurses about changes in participant recruitment protocol. The antenatal center was a referral clinic for some of the participants for Musleehat’s Downs Fellowship project.
- Collecting information about the types of ART medication that patient at Tororo Distric Hospital is taking. The information is used to anticipate the number of participants needed for particular arms of the NIH-funded study. Musleehat’s Downs project used participants from the study.
- The Uganda National HIV Care Registry at the Tororo District Hospital. This registry is used to keep records of patients who receive ARVs from the hospital.
- Mukuju Health center is a referral clinic that Musleehat and doctors from her study team visited to speak with hospital staff about referring participants.
- Musleehat makes blood smears while shadowing a laboratory technician to learn the protocol of the parent study for her Down’s project.
- Examining slides with blood smears for malaria parasites.
- A thick smear of blood indicates that no malaria parasites are present.
- During a visit to a cotton ginnery in Tororo, Musleehat learns how cotton is processed. Musleehat worked with a non-profit that sought to expand the cotton apparel industry in Uganda while she studied at Howard University.
- A chameleon is discovered during a hike at Sipi Fall in Kapchorwa, Uganda.
- Uganda beats Liberia 1-0 during a soccer game in Kampala.