UNC Interns Headed to Africa

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Blood:Water is always looking to strengthen our partnerships in Africa along with our work back in the States, particularly in the medical field. This summer, we are so excited to have two UNC Gillings School of Global Health students interning with our partners in the field in Africa. They will be working at the New Life Medical Center in Uganda.

Brianne Kallam is studying maternal and child health and Victoria is studying health policy and management. During their time in Africa, they will be sharing their experiences with us and with you! So, we wanted to introduce you to them in a question and answer format before they depart.

Why did you decide to do this program?

Victoria: I had already fallen in love with Uganda when I visited in 2012 with the organization ConnectAbaana. As a Health Policy and Management student at UNC-Chapel Hill, I have had wonderful opportunities over the past year to learn about health systems and gain tools to evaluate and improve programs. I want to work with Blood:Water because of your focus on working through local organizations to meet needs expressed by the community and the health system. It is also a great opportunity for me to apply some of the skills I've learned in an environment where the leadership is very enthusiastic about improving the quality of care and building the capacity of staff to monitor and maintain high standards.

Brianne: I was drawn to the core values of Blood:Water, especially the focus on communities.  Blood:Water's partnerships with existing African organizations were very impressive to me, as strengthening local systems is not always the easiest strategy, but definitely an effective one.

What do you hope to experience?

Victoria: This summer, I know that I will experience more than I can imagine. I can't wait to see the new maternity ward and how the center keeps and uses data. Above all, I hope to be able to plug in quickly and contribute to process improvements in an open, collaborative way. In the end, I want to learn with the staff about the challenges of their environment and how we can overcome them to serve patients well.

 Brianne: I am looking forward to being in the field and practicing some of the skills I have gained in the classroom at UNC Chapel Hill. My passion is maternal health, specifically safe childbirth for mothers and infants, so I am really excited to have the opportunity to see the new maternity wing at New Life Medical Center begin serving the community.

Stay tuned for posts from the interns throughout the summer!