On May 14, 2016, 5 public health students, all from the BU School of Public Health, headed down to Quezalguaque to start their various summer projects. Since 2008, the students, under the direction of investigators from BU and Harvard Medical School have been involved in various studies of chronic kidney disease, a devastating and lethal illness affecting many inhabitants of Quezalguaque and the surrounding area. The data from last summer’s project is still being analyzed.
This summer, the health center director, Milagro Baldelomar, requested that the students help elucidate the causes of childhood malnutrition in children under the age of 6. In their annual vaccination campaign, 84 malnourished children had been identified. Our students developed a questionnaire that they are administering to the identified children and twice as many controls. This questionnaire was further refined by health care personnel in Quezalguaque and professors at the medical school in Leon. Data collection has been ongoing. The students are on track to finish this part of their summer project by the time they leave Nicaragua on June 26th.
Another project which is a continuation of previous years’ work involves having discussions with middle and high school students regarding sexual education, including healthy relationships between young people, domestic violence, goal setting and contraception. This is something that has been requested over the years by teachers in the schools. As in the past, our students are working in collaboration with the “sex ed” teachers in Quezalguaque.
Our students are working with 3rd year medical students for the medical school in Leon (UNAN) on both of these projects.
For a report on the project see http://www.bu.edu/sph/2016/06/27/childhood-malnutrition-and-sex-ed-in-nicaragua/
In addition, one of our students, as part of her course of study at BU, is studying the availability of various contraceptives in the area.
If time permits and the local statistician is available, they will inquire if he would like help setting up a computerized data base to follow those in town with chronic diseases.