Tuesday, October 27, 2009

High Profile Interviews

After our visit to the US Embassy yesterday, we were able to connect with representatives from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Our interview took us to the CDC building, a relatively newer high-rise skyscraper office building. The CDC office was elegantly decorated inside and we were greeted by the two physicians who worked there. We could definitely tell that the CDC was sponsored by foreign aid money. One of them was Dr. Kebba Jobarteh and the other was Dr. Klaus Sturbeck. Dr. Jobarteh graduated from Yale Medical School and worked in Malawi prior to coming to Mozambique. Dr. Sturbeck studied in Germany and practiced as a surgeon prior to working in the CDC in Mozambique. Our interview with them was not recorded because we were not granted permission. However, their insight of foreign aid in Mozambique was invaluable. They explained some of the treatment protocols that are used in Mozambique and the obstacles that are present. For example, without the specific laboratory equipment, the physicians are unable to determine a patient’s viral load count. Another interesting point was the fact that very little reports of economic indicator data are present in Mozambique. According to Dr. Sturbeck, this lack of information is not too much of a concern for Mozambique because instead of trying to take surveys and figure out the level of poverty, it is probably more important to work on improving the economy.

Our next interview was with Dr. Chavane at the Ministry of Health. His insight of government sponsored aspect of health care in Mozambique gave us a better idea of the protocol that needs to be maintained in a government backed institute.

An interesting point made by Dr. Chavane regarded the PM2CT, which is the program for maternal to child transmission of HIV. According to Dr. Chavane, almost $40 million of foreign aid was proposed for this program. However, an interesting analogy that he gave was that a family with a deteriorating home with a particularly bad kitchen decided to fix up and re-decorate the living room. While the family is able to enjoy the new living room, they end up dying from the bad food they had from the run-down kitchen. Basically, he was hinting to the fact that so much money is being directed towards programs that will affect a smaller population relative to the whole. In his position, as the Deputy Director of Public Health, he needs to allocate resources efficiently to the areas that will affect the largest percentage of the population.

It is pretty amazing to say that we were able to interview physicians today from the CDC and the Ministry of Health of Mozambique. I believe that the uniqueness of our project as well as the persistence and strong work ethic of our group will make this trip very rewarding.

Dinner at Mimmos!

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