By Michael Bisesi, PhD
Ohio State College of Public Health
Since my arrival on July 7, we have accomplished several activities. As an environmental health scientist, I was able to teach applicable modules to a wonderful group of grad students, clinicians (veterinarians, physicians, nurses) and scientists.
The modules included lectures and discussions regarding the properties of various environmental matrices (air, water, soil) and the fate of microbial and chemical contaminants that can adversely affect plants, animals, and humans.
An extension from the classroom included a field trip and qualitative assessment of the waste water treatment facility for the city of Addis Ababa. This was very enlightening since it demonstrated a system that has insufficient capacity for the volume of polluted waste water originating from municipal, industrial, hospital and runoff sources. The surrounding adjacent areas had fields growing crops, animals drinking and feeding, and humans using this area as a resource.
I also visited the slaughterhouse and tannery which have some pollution control technologies and practices in place. Observation of the river and surrounding land confirms suspicions that multiple sources are contributing to environmental pollution that impacts animal and human health. Our integrated approach to address this will bring results, but much work lies ahead. Our Ethiopian partners are wise to have included this work as a priority for our partnership.
Photos by Rick Harrison, Ohio State University Communications
By Karissa Magnuson
Student, Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine
For the past two days we have been in Debark, a town about 100 kilometers north of Gondar. Debark was our second data collection site for our rabies research project.
It is a common resting place for tourists who wish to visit the Simien Mountains. On our two-hour drive up to the city, we passed stunning scenery. The countryside is full of lush, rolling hills and looks like a patchwork quilt of rich coffee brown fields and vibrant green countryside.
We passed many farmers out plowing their fields with oxen and an old-fashioned plow. It was idyllic, and I felt like I had stepped back into a different time. It was hard to go five minutes without seeing a shepherd out with his flock of goats or sheep, and there were always cows, goats, and sheep grazing in the distance. Our van had to stop or slow down a few times as wandering goats, sheep, and cattle crossed the road.
The people of Debark were very friendly and accommodating. For the project, my team was in charge of urban adults and children. It was truly a privilege to be able to walk their streets and be invited into their houses, especially since they knew nothing about me. Every house we went to, I was offered a chair or a place to sit, and a few times, they roasted a snack for me over their fire for me to eat. The hospitality here was truly amazing.
Our last day of data collection, we went up to a small neighborhood on a hill. Immediately we were surrounded by a huge group of children, all probably under the age of 10. They were all extremely friendly and asked me my name.
As my Ethiopian team members told them about the study and asked if they would like to participate, one of the little girls grabbed my hand.
All the children were eager to participate in the study. As we followed them back to their houses, my other hand was grabbed by a little boy, and I was led off down the dirt road to their homes. Walking from one house to another, my hand was never empty. At one point, two of the children had a little disagreement about who actually got to hold my hand.
When we finished our data collection and were saying goodbye, all the children who had followed us around came over to me and shook my hand, and we touched shoulders. In Ethiopia, when you greet someone you shake hands and touch shoulders with the person. There must have been six or seven kids in line to say goodbye to me. It was truly a heartwarming and memorable experience that I will carry with me forever.
By Korbin Smith
Student, College of Medicine
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
As we began our interviews with the locals I was amazed how easy it was to get people to volunteer. Everybody in this country wants to talk and help.
My group consisting of Dr. Atnaj Alebie and Tadele Atinafu have been more than helpful. They are brilliant professionals as well as very kind and humble people.
Together we were able to collect our first set of data in rural areas successfully and efficiently. Hearing what the rural adults and children believed caused rabies was truly incredible.
While many answers cause me to be concerned about their safety in an area where rabies is prevalent, it is inspiring to know that our work is needed.
By Tim Landers
Ohio State College of Nursing
We’ve arrived in Gondar!
Our traveling group from the College of Nursing arrived this morning and were greeted by officials from the University of Gondar and Baye Molla, PhD, clinical assistant professor in Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Molla is a native of Gondar and has been a wonderful guide and adviser as we have planned our trip to Ethiopia for the One Health Summer Institute.
Over the summer, we will be joined by 20 faculty and students from Ohio State, representing the colleges of Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, Medicine, Public Health, Optometry, and Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, as well as faculty from Addis Ababa University and University of Gondar.
In addition, Robert Agunga, director of Ohio State’s Center for African Studies, will join us in presenting a series of short courses using the One Health framework.
The College of Nursing’s faculty contingent will begin the institute by offering a week-long course in research methods to students and faculty from the University of Gondar.