I worked at Lumumba Health Centre as a STEP student for a period of 6 months, which allowed me to gain insight into research on important public health issues in Kenya. I was involved in a secondary data study for which I collected and cleaned data. This meant I learned about the tools used, examined the data for irregularities, and then deciphered what might have gone wrong at data entry to change these errors and delivered high-quality data.
This work went on for about 4 months during which I meet lots of different and interesting people that helped make the study a success.
For the remaining two months, I was able to develop a research question for my Bachelor thesis. Unfortunately, syphilis and HIV co-infection is common in the region so I want to find out how prevalent it is in three FACES-supported clinics in Kisumu, if the co-infected patients are treated and compare their CD4 count and weight with patients infected with HIV alone at enrollment. I collected the data partly from the patients’ files and partly from the medical record system used.
All in all, I had a great time in Kisumu and I hope to contribute to the program’s development with my thesis findings. It was great being integrated into the FACES project, which helped me understand even more what kind of problems the patients and NGOs fighting against HIV face. Thanks to the whole Lumumba team and especially the Systems office, I had a memorable time and will definitely come back to meet my friends again. I would recommend to anyone interested in global health to come and get in touch with the people. No report or further education will teach you the kinds of lessons and insights into the needs on the ground.