In May 2016, 5 public health students, all from the Boston University School of Public Health, traveled Quezalguaque to start their various summer projects. Since 2008, the students, under the direction of researchers 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 the summer project was analyzed and published along with ongoing studies.
This summer, the health center director, Dra. 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. The students developed a questionnaire that they administered to the children identified and to 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 done, and the students are on track to finish their summer project by the time they leave Nicaragua at the end of June.
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, contraception, domestic violence, and goal setting. 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 education” teachers in Quezalguaque.
Our students are also working with third-year medical students from UNAN/León 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.