Tag Archive | Veterinary Medicine

The initial journey of the University of Gondar-Ohio State rabies project: my perspective

By Tamiru Berhanu Denka, DVM
University of Gondar, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

I was voluntary and happy when requested to be part of the Rabies Knowledge Attitudes and Practice assessment in and around Gondar. The University of Gondar team was established ahead of the arrival of Ohio State teams, and was made up of lecturers and assistant professors from College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (FVM).

Tdele Atnafu form the School of Pharmacy, and myself form FVM went to two districts: Debark and Woreta, 105 km and 120 km respectively away from Gondar.  Dr. Reta Tesfaye (FVM) and Debasu Damtie (CMHS) went to different places in Gondar. The mission of our team in these different places was to contact responsible government bodies and to discuss and debrief the rabies project objective in Gondar particularly, as well as Ethiopia at large, before beginning work.

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UOG, Welcoming Ohio State students at Hotel Lamergeyer.

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UOG, Welcoming Ohio State students at Hotel Lamergeyer.

After the arrival of the Ohio State team, Dr. Wassie Molla, coordinator of the project from UOG, held a meeting to allow the teams from Ohio State and UOG to meet and discuss the interview questions, recording on the ipad, and consent of interviewees at the meeting hall of FVM.

The next step was to start the job– interviewing various individuals and professionals as per the project proposal. Interviewing individuals is not an easy thing to do. However, our prior communication and discussion helped us to interview efficiently. Everyone was welcoming and eager to participate in these interviews. As we continued on, I began to see how important the issue of rabies is, and how much it affects my country. Everywhere we went people stopped their daily activities to meet with us, allowing our groups to finish interviews more quickly than originally anticipated. Due to our efficiency, our teams were asked to take on the challenge of an additional city and we did so in stride. In total we surveyed four cities and conducted approximately 280 interviews in eight days.

Because, it is cultivation season, the periurban community leaders and communities were super busy plowing. At this critical time, it was necessary for us to meet this group of people for the interview. Then we decided to participate in plowing! (Ally, Ohio State 3rd year Vet Med student).

Because, it is cultivation season, the periurban community leaders and communities were super busy plowing. At this critical time, it was necessary for us to meet this group of people for the interview. Then we decided to participate in plowing! (Ally, Ohio State 3rd year Vet Med student).

We then went to Addis Ababa to attend the rabies stakeholders workshop, held July 18-19. I am having an immense experience working in a team, appreciate  learning about a different culture, and developing more friendships among the Ohio State team and from the University of Gondar as well.

Mr. Berihun (lecturer, Department of Nursing) did well plowing. The farmers were surprised when he started pushing the oxen.

Mr. Berihun (lecturer, Department of Nursing) did well plowing. The farmers were surprised when he started pushing the oxen.

Dr. Tamiru Berhanu (lecturer, University of Gondar, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine)

Dr. Tamiru Berhanu (lecturer, University of Gondar, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine)

UOG

The UOG–OSU rabies project team members after successful interviews of various target groups of the study at Debark, 105 km from Gondar, where UOG is located.

The UOG–OSU rabies project team members after successful interviews of various target groups of the study at Debark, 105 km from Gondar, where UOG is located.

Dr.Baye Molla and the OSU students (Laura Binkely, Karissa Magnuson, Korbin Smith and Allyson Sterman) before getting to attend the graduation ceremony of the UoG  on July 6, 2013.

Dr.Baye Molla and the OSU students (Laura Binkely, Karissa Magnuson, Korbin Smith and Allyson Sterman) before getting to attend the graduation ceremony of the UoG on July 6, 2013.

The MPH-VPH program started admitting students in 2012. The program was made successful due to the significant contribution of Ohio State professors. From Left to Right: Dr.Achenef Melaku- Dean of FVM, UOG. Dr.  Sileshi Nigatu- Head Department of Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology.

The MPH-VPH program started admitting students in 2012. The program was made successful due to the significant contribution of Ohio State professors. Dr.Molla (Ohio State professor) with two of the first batch of MPH-VPH graduates on June 6, 2013. The MPH-VPH students have green striped graduation gowns.From Left to Right: Dr.Achenef Melaku- Dean of FVM, UOG. Dr. Sileshi Nigatu- Head Department of Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology. 

University of Gondar graduation ceremony

University of Gondar graduation ceremony

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Rabies In Ethiopia And The Way Forward – Stakeholders Workshop

By Mary Jo Burkhard, DVM, PhD
Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine

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I had the privilege of facilitating a 1.5 day workshop for stakeholders committed to the control and eradication of rabies in Ethiopia. We had approximately 70 registrants including representatives from a number of agencies such as the Ethiopian Health and National Research Institute (EHNRI), Federal Ministries, Center for Disease Control (CDC); partners including conservation, environmental, research and vaccine development groups, as well as a host of faculty and students from the University of Gondor, Addis Ababa University, and The Ohio State University.

Mamo Gebreyes

Dr. Hailu Mamo, Research Coordinator from ENHRI and Dr. Wondwossen Gebreyes from OSU, two of the meeting organizers working on details before the start of the session.

While not everyone could make it for all of the sessions on both days, we had 45-60 participants in each session which demonstrated the importance of rabies control in Ethiopia. Particularly when you consider that the session was held on a regional campus approximately 23 km outside of downtown Addis Ababa that required navigation through substantial traffic!

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We utilized a very powerful workshop format that we at the College of Veterinary Medicine like to call “Focus Forward.” This format included overview presentations, facilitated small group discussions, identification of common recommendations by a “theme team,” and prioritized voting through participant clickers. Dr. Tamiru Berhanu, a veterinarian and lecturer at the University of Gondor (UOG), served as one of our small group facilitators. Dr. Tamiru Berhanu is one of the partners for the rabies collaborations between the University of Gondar and Ohio State. I learned that in Ethiopia, it is common to refer to doctors by their first name, so Dr. Berhanu rapidly became known to me as Dr. Tamiru. Once I figured out the Ethiopian way of addressing people, it became a lot less confusing to sort through our excel spreadsheets of the participant list!

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Tamiru Berhanu, a partner for the rabies collaborations between the University of Gondar and Ohio State, and Mary Jo Burkhard.

We had four main topics to cover in the workshop: surveillance and reporting, how to identify people exposed to rabies and develop standards for immediate care of bite wounds, controlling rabies in the dogs and other animals, and education for both urban and rural areas. During the breakout sessions, diverse teams of experts discussed these critical topics. One of the strongest themes that arose in all of the sessions was the need to include traditional Ethiopian healers in the process by combining culturally-accepted, traditional methods of treatment and training of traditional healers with rabies vaccination programs and current medical treatments for bite wound care.

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Here, Dr. Debasue Damtie (at right, taking notes on participant responses), a professor from the University of Gondor, leads one of the breakout sessions.

Even though I spent nearly all of my time in the workshop rooms, I learned a lot about Ethiopian culture just from listening to the discussions and hearing the recommendations. However, I am also looking forward to seeing more of Addis Ababa over the next couple of days now that the conference is over and personally experiencing more of the Ethiopian culture!

Second team of Ohio State faculty arrive in Ethiopia

Eric Sauvageau is all smiles at baggage services.

Eric Sauvageau is all smiles at baggage services.

By Wondwossen Gebreyes, DVM
Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine

The second team of Ohio State faculty arrived in Addis Ababa yesterday after 18+ hours of flight and airport transfers. While our travel was overall smooth, some flight glitches occurred. One of our team members, Mike Bisesi, had his first and last name switched on his ticket, and TSA and United made it a big deal worth a thousand USD to correct his ticket. Two team members, Eric and I, did not get our luggage on arrival. Despite the long flight and the mishaps, there are still lots of smiling faces. This morning, we are at the Akaki satellite campus of Addis Ababa University, gearing up to begin the environmental health course module led by Bisesi. We will keep you all posted with more updates.

University of Gondar graduation

By Ally Sterman
Student, Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine

Yesterday was a day of celebration here in Gondar. The university graduated over 45,00 students today. Students graduating were from a variety of fields and disciplines including undergraduate, masters, and professional students. The University of Gondar also graduated three PhD students in the field of public health from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, which was a first for the university. Most of the students were undergraduate students with close to 1,000 students from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. Next was Faculty of Natural and Computational Science with 850 students. The Faculty of the Veterinary Medicine will graduate their first class next year though there were students who graduated today with a degree in the field of veterinary public health.

Though a majority of the graduation process was similar there were a few subtle differences between graduation here and at Ohio State. In the states it is typical for graduates to enter to the song Pomp and Circumstance. Today they entered to a different song that seemed to be much shorter and strictly keyboard-based.  Another big difference, here in Gondar they announced and gave awards to students with the highest grades in their respective fields as they graduate. Though we acknowledge them in our programs, with cords or other visual means, we do not announce their names.

There were also a lot of similarities. They had speeches including one from their president and then a special guest speaker. Very similar to Ohio State, they awarded the speaker an honorary degree from the university. They also dressed very similar. Students and faculty were in the black graduation robes with hoods if they were from a degree program that we would hood for, but the undergraduates had sashes where we would have nothing to distinguish the different undergraduate majors.

Below is a video taken while graduates are walking in. Many are seated while quite a few are still walking past. In the background you can hear the music they are entering to, cheers from graduates/families/friends. You can also see some of the professors and external examiners that came to help give exams or determine if candidates were eligible to graduate.

Data collection in Debark

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.

Microbiology lab at the University of Gondar hospital

From left to right:  Ohio State's Baye Molla, DVM, PhD, and Tim Landers, RN, PhD along with University of Gondar's Wubet Birhan, head, School of Biomedical and Laboratory Sciences, Kassie Molla, head, microbiology laboratory, and Tigist Feleke, lab technologist

From left to right: Ohio State’s Baye Molla and Tim Landers along with University of Gondar’s Wubet Birhan, head, School of Biomedical and Laboratory Sciences; Kassie Molla, head, microbiology laboratory; and Tigist Feleke, lab technologist

By Bayleyegn Molla, DVM, PhD
College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University

This week, I had a chance to tour the microbiology at the University of Gondar Hospital.

The lab processes hundreds of samples from patients every month. Patient samples are accepted, labeled and sent on to the microbiology lab where they are placed in different agars and broths to check for the growth of bacteria in patient samples.

I was surprised when the staff showed us a large book where the date, source, and patient information are recorded. This can be a time consuming task and makes it difficult to transmit results efficiently to clinicians. Papers can be torn, lost, or burned.

It is a less than ideal system.

When I asked to see the computer, they happily showed us the new electronic system to track individual results including results, name of the organism recovered, and information about antibiotic resistance for each organism. Having this system allows more rapid feedback to clinic staff and can be used to research problems in microbiology.

I was relieved and encouraged that they were using this technology.

This made me reflect on how I still rely on older systems in my old work.  They are comfortable for us to use. In order to really harness technology to address important health and food safety problems, I also need to help develop effective technology, trust it to perform, and use it to its maximum.

That is what I learned in the microbiology lab.

Ohio State in Ethiopia: Now the students’ work begins

By Ally Sterman
Student, Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine

With the start of the both the new week and new month our Ethiopia summer project really begins. Though we four students from various colleges at Ohio State arrived near the end of last week in Ethiopia, we did not begin our field work until July 1.

Our project takes us into both the rural and urban communities interviewing local adults, children, policy makers, community and faith leaders, as well as health care workers about rabies and dogs. We are set to travel around to three different areas before a workshop is held in Addis Ababa to discuss rabies further in mid-July.

However we do not go out alone. Each Ohio State student has two wonderful Ethiopian University of Gondar partners. These individuals are primarily faculty and staff at the university from a variety of fields/disciplines. They not only serve as interpreters for our project but tour guides of the city and historians for Ethiopia’s culture/traditions/history. They are quickly becoming lifelong and treasured friends. I know I can speak for all of the students about how grateful and appreciative we are for their help and how much fun/enjoyable they are making this experience.

The picture below was taken before one of the interviews conducted by my group. My group’s main focus is community leaders which include teachers, faith leaders, elders, and other various leaders in both the rural and urban settings. This picture was taken of one of the churches we travelled to in the city of Gondar where we had the opportunity to meet and talk to the priests about rabies and the dog population here in the city.

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Ohio State and Ethiopia: Building Collaborations

Here I am reviewing some class materials with students in the “Food Safety and Food Borne Diseases” course, as part of the Summer One Health Institute.

Here I am reviewing some class materials with students in the “Food Safety and Food Borne Diseases” course, as part of the Summer One Health Institute.

by Bayleyegn Molla, DVM, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor and International Programs Coordinator
Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine

Our hope is to establish ongoing collaborative relationships–not just during the One Health Summer Institute, but well in to the future.  We hope to be able to build a mutually beneficial partnership between faculty and students at Ohio State and University of Gondar, which will help leverage expertise and open opportunities for all.

For participants from Ethiopia, this experience can bring the world-class knowledge and expertise of Ohio State to address important public health problems, though training and ongoing working relationships.  Partners at the University of Gondar bring a wealth of knowledge about local priorities and infrastructure.

Research and practice priorities are well organized in thematic areas with an emphasis on team-based research.

For faculty from Ohio State, this partnership offers the opportunity to explore and help develop solutions to tropical diseases, wildlife and environmental issues, and to apply new approaches in a different culture and region.  This opportunity helps expand the capabilities for students trained through the University of Gondar and faculty to use this knowledge to address important issues in Ohio, in our country, and throughout the world.

It is very rewarding to see this partnership in action in the One Health Summer Institute.  Students and faculty from nursing, public health, veterinary medicine, basic sciences, and human medicine have been discussing important problems such:

  • Food-borne illnesses
  • MRSA prevention
  • Cervical cancer
  • Zoonotic diseases

More importantly, these workshops explore potential ways to work together in the coming months and years.

The “One Health” framework is an excellent foundation on which to build this partnership, because it relies on contributions from a range of scientific experts and the active engagement of students in workshop sessions.

Being from Ethiopia originally, and now as a faculty member at Ohio State, it is tremendously rewarding to see the engagement of both universities in an effort to improve health.