Sunday, May 23, 2010

Coe College May Term Course on Swaziland Health & Safe Water

Dr. Paula Sanchini.......

On May 12, Dr. Paula Sanchini, member of Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Rapids, and rofessor of biology at Coe College, along with Dr. Anita Nicholson, a nursing professor at Coe, journeyed to southern Africa with a class of 14 undergraduate students participating in a May Term travel course.

The students, who are nursing, pre-medical and environmental science majors at Coe College, share a deep and enthusiastic interest in finding out what life is like in Swaziland and South Africa. The course focuses on: delivery of health care and delivery of safe drinking water.

The course has been designed so the students will learn first-hand about how people gain access to health care services and clean drinking water. The students will experience the work of walk-in clnics, hospitals, and home-based parish nursing in treatment and support of individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Access to clean water is especially important in rural communities, and the students will assist with expanding the "point-of-use: chlorination method used to purify drinking water in Swaziland.

The Coe students will be meeting with Swazi parish nurses, the Dioces of Swaziland Safe Water Ministry (SSWM) Team, and the Swaziland HIV/AIDS diocesan staff in charge of the Neighborhood Care Points orphan feeding program and home hospice project. These opportunities to interact with community health workers one-on-one will be a highlight of the course.

Paula, Anita and their students will be cooperatively packing and delivering over 900 toothbrushes for distribution to the children at the Neighborhood Care Points in Swaziland. The toothbrushes are part of the Dr. Terry Shively Oral Health project, funded by a 2009 Diocese of Iowa International Development Grant.

The Coe College group will also transport parts for chlorinator construction in Swaziland. In preparation for working with the SSWM team, Paula and a student, Kaycee Reynolds, joined Dan Rockwell, Greg Stout, Fr. Charles Kunene and Earl Ratliff on May 4, 2010, on the Ratliff farm near New Sharon, Iowa, for a one-day course on building chlorinators.

We look forward to postings from the Coe College group during their stay in Swaziland.