It feels like just yesterday when I started my practicum and like the saying goes “everything that has a beginning, sure has an end.” I successfully completed my remote practicum on August 10, which also happened to be the first day of class for the Fall semester.

Working at honey suckle tea house.

Working at honey suckle tea house.

My practicum project was aimed at engaging male partners, grandmothers/family members in Lusaka, Zambia to support optimal infant feeding and stimulation of HIV-exposed uninfected infants as well as women’s continued ART adherence. I also participated in secondary analysis of qualitative data obtained from interviews with HIV-positive women and their male partners in Zambia and Malawi.

I am very excited to have worked on a project that is in line with my interest, which is improving the health of women and children with limited access to health care particularly in the areas of HIV/AIDS as well as Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF).

My outputs were counseling materials, training guides and qualitative data summaries. Though I could not make it to Zambia, I am so glad for how much I have learnt about the population, their traditions, beliefs and available community assets. This knowledge helped me to design materials bearing in mind the context of the public health problem as well as being culturally sensitive which would in turn ensure acceptability and sustainability of recommended practices.

I am extremely grateful to UNC Gillings Zambia Hub for this opportunity to broaden my knowledge, develop skills and apply my knowledge on a hands-on real work. I had an amazing preceptor, Dr. Stephanie Martin, who coached me excellently, shared very useful resources and provided constructive feedback on products. I am also grateful for the guidance and encouragement from my faculty mentor, Dr. Sian Curtis. Above all, I am thankful for good health, sound mind and the ability to adapt to change.

This practicum experience has been a great one, which I would not have traded for anything. I hope to eventually travel to Zambia one day!

Below is the new addition to family [I am a new plant mom (fig. 2)…lol] and also currently “plant-sitting” for a friend (fig.3).

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 3

Doreen