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.
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 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.