There are many ways that the UAB community is united in the mission to defeat COVID-19 from frontline healthcare work to contact tracing, research and more. Read on to see how various members of the Sparkman Scholar network have advised in their home countries regarding the novel coronavirus. 

November & December 2020 updates

 

Nursing, Markaki

Nursing, Markaki

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UAB School of Nursing is enhancing nursing education around the world through the work of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Nursing Education.

“Quality Improvement in Nursing and Midwifery Educational Programs” is a new asynchronous distance-accessible course available at no cost to nurse and midwife educators in Latin America, the Caribbean and beyond. Developed with partnering institutions from the US, Jamaica, and Chile, this course is offered in both English and Spanish. It is built around the WHO nurse and midwife educator core competencies, and is consistent with recommendations for open-access, web-based faculty development programs that promote life-long learning. The course consists of three sequential modules:
  1. key principles of teaching and learning;
  2. instructional strategies
  3. methods to evaluate students and courses

The course was officially launched on November 5, 2020 in a joint PAHO and UAB SON event titled, "Quality Improvement in Nursing Education: Future perspectives in the post-pandemic era". This virtual event included panelists from the US and Latin America and showcased how schools of medicine and nursing are responding to the new realities of providing quality education for healthcare students and professionals. Topics included clinical simulation, web-based classes, and new technologies. The event was live-streamed in English and Spanish and was attended by almost 1,000 participants representing 35 different countries, primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean region. Plans are under way to follow-up with a series of webinars and courses.

See more

J Turan

J Turan

Dr. Janet Turan, Director of the Sparkman Center for Global Health and a Professor in the Department of Health Care Organization & Policy, UAB School of Public Health, published a manuscript “How Do We Balance Tensions Between COVID-19 Public Health Responses and Stigma Mitigation? Learning from HIV Research." The authors conclude: “Applying an intersectional lens can improve understanding of the ways that COVID-19 stigma intersects with gender, race, immigration status, housing security, and health status, among other identities. Balancing tensions between stigma mitigation and COVID-19 prevention and containment can inform immediate and long-term strategies to build empathy and social justice in current and future pandemics.”

Dr. Turan and the Jamii Bora team are also preparing supplemental data collection to the NIH-funded project “Testing Strategies for Couples Engagement in PMTCT and Family Health in Kenya,” in which the team conducts a three-arm (home visit, HIV self-test kits, or the standard care) couple-randomized controlled trial among 1080 pregnant women and their primary male partners. In this study, the team proposes to conduct a standard of care health facility assessment with two goals: 1) to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on standard care related to HIV testing and counselling services for pregnant women and male partners, and compare this to service provision in the pre-COVID-19 period; and 2) to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the HIV research teams and studies, as well as study participants in rural Kenya.

Finally, Dr. Turan collaborated with colleagues in stigma research to develop a COVID stigma survey administed through text messages in both Ghana and Zambia. The researchers flexed their skills in brevity as the use of SMS for the survey restriced them to 20 questions total with each question maxing out at 165 characters. We will update further when the results are published.

See more

Szaflarski

Szaflarski

Dr. Magdalena Szaflarski, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, UAB College of Arts & Sciences, has been studying COVID-19 experiences in the US and Poland. The study found COVID-19 perceived threat and impacts (e.g., logistical, psychological) to be generally lower in Poland than in the United States. However, views on government responses (e.g., lock-downs) were largely similar. Conservatives and moderates perceived COVID-19 threat as lower than liberals, but trust in science explained the effect for moderates. Further work using these data (in progress) examines COVID-19 experiences and views of health care workers in the United States and Poland. This work will be published in the book: COVID-19, Volume II: Social Consequences and Cultural Adaptations (Routledge, forthcoming December 30, 2020).

See more

Schwebel

Schwebel

Dr. David Schwebel, Professor in the Department of Psychology, UAB College of Arts & Sciences, published a short piece in the journal Burns on COVID-19 and self-immolation suicide risk in Iran. Dr. Schwebel writes that “while we are unaware of any documented evidence of increasing suicide by self-immolation rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ingredients are present to raise concern. Public health systems should be mobilized to fight this aspect of the pandemic along with the many other ongoing health challenges and consequences of COVID-19.”

See more

Hel

Hel

Dr. Zdenek Hel, Professor in the Department of Pathology, UAB School of Medicine, conducts research on neutrophils in COVID-19 patients. His work was recently featured in UAB Reporter: Could NET-wielding neutrophils be driving respiratory distress and death in COVID-19 patients?

Dr. Hel also published two articles in the #1 online magazine in the Czech Republic addressing the COVID-19 crisis in his home country and Slovakia. Over 700,000 people so far have read these articles across several countries

See more

Helova A

Helova A

Dr. Anna Helova, Program Director of the Sparkman Center for Global Health, UAB School of Public Health, and Dr. Zdenek Hel participated in the Slovak-American Scientists weigh in: Vaccines & Covid-19 antibodies forum. Her home country, Slovakia, has been undergoing unprecedented testing of the entire country in a day, and repeated testing after a week.

See more

Zambia

Zambia

Global Network
The Division of Neonatology has two major ongoing activities in Zambia. UAB and University of Zambia/University Teaching Hospital lead one of the eight sites of the NIH-funded Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research. A serologic study of COVID-19 is being conducted in pregnant women to determine prior infection. In addition, embedded in a trial of intrapartum azithromycin trial to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality led by Drs. Alan Tita (ObGyn) and Wally Carlo and Elwyn Chomba (Pediatrics), we test if signs and symptoms of COVID-19 women and their newborn infants differ following intrapartum administration of azithromycin in asymptomatic women.

Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia
As part of the UAB collaboration with the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), Dr. Albert Manasyan (Pediatrics), head of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health at CIDRZ lives permanently in Zambia where he leads multiple studies. Following the confirmation of the first cases of COVID-19 in Zambia, Dr. Manasyan began initiatives in supporting the Zambian frontline workers. He raised $40,598 USD through generous support from UAB and crowdfunding to make 46,430 face shields and 60,000 reusable 2-ply cotton face masks to address PPE shortages in Zambia and support the Ministry of Health throughout all the 10 provinces of Zambia. Furthermore, to support the families most affected by COVID-19, Dr. Manasyan set up a food bank (Lusaka Food Bank) and provided food baskets to 543 families.
Armenia

Armenia

COVID-19 Task Force
During the second wave of COVID-19 in Armenia, which was exacerbated due to the war which began on September 27th, Dr Manasyan was asked by the Ministry of Health of Armenia to join their COVID-19 task force and assist the team with the development and revision of testing guidelines incorporating Ag into the existing PCR algorithm; patient treatment and monitoring guidelines for those to be treated at home, and revision of contact tracing guidelines. Dr Manasyan sought the assistance of Dr Jodie A. Dionne-Odom, Associate Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases at UAB for the revision of testing and treatment guidelines.

 

May 2020 updates

 

Nepal

Nepal

On April 10th Dr. Sadeep Shrestha, Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health, was part of a panel of Nepali-International Doctors and Scientists on COVID-19 on TOUGH talk with Dil Bhusan Pathak.

See more

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

On May 2nd Dr. Akhlaque Haque, Professor of Government in the College of Arts and Sciences, joined a discussion with Tritio Matra on the impact on governance, technology, and democracy. Dr. Haque has provided a translation of the discussion in Bangla here.

See more

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Dr. Zdenek Hel, professor of Pathology in the School of Medicine, was featured in the article "‘It’s dangerous to assume that the worst is over,’ says Czech immunologist based in the US" on May 5th. Dr. Hel also spoke about COVID-19 on Czech TV evening news back in April.

See more

Website News Twitter

Website News Twitter

Dr. Henna Budhwani, Sparkman Scholar, worked with Dr. Ruoyan Sun, on a study looking at the use of the terms "Chinavirus" or "Chinese virus" on Twitter and COVID-19 related stigma. Their work was highlighted in the UAB Reporter.

See more