New software makes educational materials more accessible in developing nations

The Sparkman Center for Global Health has partnered with developers in Zambia and Ethiopia to develop a software solution to address two challenges in developing nations: lack of textbooks or educational resources and lack of internet. “We looked for alternative solutions to provide educational resources for students in these two countries, but found they were not effective,” said Craig Wilson, M.D., professor in the UAB School of Public Health. “Our students even collected textbooks to take to Africa, but they were both heavy and expensive to transport. We began looking for alternative modes of delivery. The new software is cost-effective and practical in delivering educational materials to an area with limited resources, like Zambia and Ethiopia, and potentially parts of rural Alabama.” 

 

 

To read more on this ground-breaking software, view the official UAB News article here:

UAB News

 

Content above written by: Alicia Rohan, UAB News

Rohan, Alicia. “New software makes educational materials more accessible in developing nations.” UAB News. UAB News, 10 October 2017. Web. 10 October 2017.

The Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) was founded in 2001 in Birmingham, Alabama as a collaborative, non-profit organization between the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Zambia School of Medicine and the Zambian government. CIDRZ collaborators envisioned having the ability to conduct maternal-child research within the existing Zambian infrastructure. Through subsequent large scale programs supported predominantly by the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative, CIDRZ supported researchers and staff have facilitated supportive health programs within 336 clinics across ten provinces in Zambia to scale-up health efforts in the areas of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), adult and pediatric HIV/AIDS antenatal care, and medical male circumcision initiatives and other programs.  For more information on the history of CIDRZ, please click here (CIDRZ).

CIDRZ provides an opportunity for early and mid-career public health professionals to receive health practice training by way of the CIDRZ HealthCorps Health Research Training Fellowship. CIDRZ Fellows gain hands-on experience in programme and data management, analysis, and development in the areas of professional presentations and manuscripts. You can view additional details in relation to the CIDRZ HealthCorps Health Research Training Fellowship here (hyperlink). The Sparkman Center for Global Health has co-sponsored two UAB Sparkman-CIDRZ Zambian HealthCorps fellows for the 2017-2018 year: Ms. Mbaita Shawa and Dr. Chileshe Mabula. Enquiries about the CIDRZ Health Corps Fellowship can be sent here: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For additional information on Ms. Shawa and Dr. Mabula, please read below: 

 

Mbaita holds an MPH degree with a concentration in Global Health from Simon Fraser University, Canada.  She previously worked at the Zambia Center for Applied Health Research and Development (ZCAHRD), on an Early-Childhood Development project. Mbaita applied to be a UAB Sparkman Centre CIDRZ HealthCorps Fellow because she has ‘always admired and been inspired by the CIDRZ work in Zambia’. While at CIDRZ, Mbaita will be working with the social qualitative research team and will be supervised by Dr Roma Chilengi and Jenala Chipungu.

Mbaita Shawa Zambia CIDRZ

Mbaita holds an MPH degree with a concentration in Global Health from Simon Fraser University, Canada.  She previously worked at the Zambia Center for Applied Health Research and Development (ZCAHRD), on an Early-Childhood Development project. Mbaita applied to be a UAB Sparkman Centre CIDRZ HealthCorps Fellow because she has ‘always admired and been inspired by the CIDRZ work in Zambia’. While at CIDRZ, Mbaita will be working with the social qualitative research team and will be supervised by Dr Roma Chilengi and Jenala Chipungu.

 

Chileshe Mabula Zambia CIDRZ

Dr Mabula holds a BA in Human Development from the University of California, San Diego, and a Medical Degree from The University of Zambia. Dr Mabula gained research experience when she worked in labs and on studies in San Diego and Lusaka; implemented a successful intervention for adolescents living with HIV in Eastern Province; and worked as a Medical Officer in Chipata where she developed a keen interest in improving patient engagement and access to care. As a UAB Sparkman Centre CIDRZ HealthCorps Fellow she will be attached to the Clinical Trials Team and supervised by Dr Roma Chilengi.

Think Globall Act Locally"One of the many motivational and inspirational posters at SIFAT"- Angela Monahan (May 2-week course)

 

During the months of May and August annually, students embark on a global health and development journey to learn about challenges that pertain to food and nutrition, water and sanitation, and alternative energies in developing countries. The Southern Institute for Appropriate Technology (SIFAT) field course provides an opportunity for students to gain hands-on skills with various appropriate technologies that are used to combat malnutrition and sanitation challenges in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). SIFAT also covers topics such as microenterprise development, conflict resolution and cross-cultural training. There are two field course options for SIFAT: May (2-week course) and August (1-week course). Students can receive academic credit for both courses. The May course is a total of 6 credit hours; the August course is 3 credit hours. To learn more about SIFAT, check out their website here. To learn more about the 2017 SIFAT student experience, check out the photos and blurbs below:

 

Monahan Angela SIFAT Pic 2"Making Moringa Powder pasta for the next days' lunch! We had to knead the dough together with the Morgina powder, and put it through the pasta maker many times to make it as flat as possible."- Angela Monahan (May 2-week course)

"The 2-week SIFAT course was one of the most humbling and eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had. It started out very shaky; I was completely out of my comfort zone...We worked all day, every day, inside and out, until about 9-10 PM. I quickly became more comfortable at SIFAT with our busy schedules that quickened the time, and from the stories I heard from the Universidad Nacional de Agricultura (UNA) students, the founders of SIFAT, and even from UAB students. At SIFAT, we had many great speakers join us. One of my favorite speakers and teachers at SIFAT were Leaf for Life founders, David and Therese Kennedy. They taught us all about the power of leafy greens and their concentrates, and even helped us make leaf dryers and Moringa powder pasta and cookies, which were delicious!"

-Angela Monahan (May 2-week course)

 

Monahan Angela SIFAT Pic 3"Students from the Universidad Nacional de Agricultura gave multiple presentations about their school and the different countries they are from"- Angela Monahan (May 2-week course)

 

 

"Over summer semester 2017, I completed the two week SIFAT course, and it was definitely a life changing experience. Before arriving at SIFAT, I was a bit nervous mostly because I didn’t know what to expect. At the same time, I was really excited for this opportunity because I’ve always wanted to expand my knowledge on appropriate technologies and hunger. SIFAT did not disappoint my expectations. Those two weeks at SIFAT were life changing. During SIFAT, I learned about so many different topics such as urban gardening and the importance of leaf powder. We also learned how to make actual technology such as solar lead dryers and water pumps. Another aspect of SIFAT that I really enjoyed was making friends with international students and really learning about their culture. I ate a lot of homemade corn tortillas in those two weeks, and they were absolutely delicious. After SIFAT I felt empowered. After SIFAT, I now confidently feel that I can take the concepts, skills and appropriate technologies that I learned and implement them in communities. "

 

- Aseel Hajazin (Senior, Public Health - Global & Environmental Health concentration)

 

 

 Hajazin Aseel SIFAT Pic 1"This is a photo of the SIFAT farm. This is where we learned about different topics such as urban gardening and composting" - Aseel Hajazin (May 2-week course)

 

Hajazin Aseel SIFAT Pic 6 "In this photo, we were learning how to make a solar leaf dryer that make leaf powder" - Aseel Hajazin (May 2-week course)

 

Monahan Angela SIFAT Pic 8Learning how to make a proper fire in a Rocket Stove - Photo credit: Angela Monahan (May 2-week course)

 

Hajazin Aseel SIFAT Pic 3Black bean leafs being dried in the solar leaf dryer - Photo credit: Aseel Hajazin (May 2-week course)

 

Monahan Angela SIFAT Pic 1"This was the bridge we would cross to get to our dorm. The river underneath was incredibly beautiful and we would often spy turtles sitting on rocks" - Angela Monahan (May 2-week course)

Hajazin Aseel SIFAT Pic 5Spaghetti made with leaf powder - Photo credit: Aseel Hajazin (May 2-week course)

Monahan Angela SIFAT Pic 4"For a group assignment, we had to talk with a partner and map their community. We mapped Christian's community in Santa Cruz, El Salvador"- Angela Monahan (May 2-week course)

Dr. Carolyn Gomes, Executive Director of Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC) has been appointed to serve on the developing country NGO delegation to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Her work drives policy analysis, advocacy and resource mobilization to support services to vulnerable communities. Her organization CVC, a strong global partner of the UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health, currently provides grants and technical support to number of countries across the Caribbean islands and mainland territories. The CVC hosts annual internship placements for highly meritorious UAB students and has collaborated with the Sparkman Center for Global Health team to conduct population size estimates of MSM, transgender persons, and sex worked in the eastern Caribbean. For more information, see: Three Members of The Consortium Appointed to the Global Fund Board