On June 4, staff in six countries welcomed 75 students from 40 universities across the globe. Now in its seventh year, FIMRC's Summer International Health Fellowship (SIHF) offers participants the chance to truly immerse themselves in a new culture and community. Fellows spend one month (or two!) in the clinical setting as well as in the community offering a blend of both medical exposure and public health experience. Fellows also work on the development and implementation of independent projects designed to leave a lasting impact on the communities we serve. Less than one week into this year's program, our SIHF teams are already hard at work!
Throughout the month of June, Session I participants will begin conducting surveys to assess standards of living in the creche communities. The results of the community surveys will assist FIMRC staff with identifying areas for new public health programs. Additionally, Fellows will have the responsibility of developing new health education modules on topics such as nutrition and dental hygiene and will also be revamping our After school Program.
In order to prepare for the summer opening of the new maternity ward, Fellows will be working with our Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Coordinator to develop enhanced MCH materials for our patients. Fellows will also be improving upon our existing Community Health Educator manuals and assisting with our OVC (Orphaned and Vulnerable Children) community garden.
Under the leadership of FIMRC staff as well as the University of the Philippines Family and Community Medicine Chair, Fellows will be focusing on the development of health education modules for a rural clinic and social services center in Manila. Using their graphic design and research skills, Fellows will focus first on women's health, STIs, and cancer prevention.
After a scavenger hunt through the community (on bicycles!) and learning a bit more about current FIMRC programs, Fellows split into smaller teams to determine their SIHF projects for the month. Many fellows will be working on the development of new education lessons or enhancing current lessons to make them more relevant to community needs. Topics include: prenatal nutrition, financial planning, malnutrition (with cooking demonstrations), self esteem, and reproductive health. Fellows will also work in local schools to improve current physical education programs and will also develop specialized activities for the Los Pipitos participants with Down's Syndrome and Cerebral palsy.
Peru - Huancayo
Our Fellows in Huancayo will work together in small groups to design and implement projects that focus on three key programmatic areas. As part of our 'Dale la Mano' (Lend a Hand) Program, Fellows will develop and enhance current educational modules that focus on health education, financial management, emotional support, and environmental health. The modules will then be delivered to our three orphanage partners. Additionally, Fellows will assist with the creation of a new organic community garden as well as handicraft lessons to be given to local women's groups as part of our economic empowerment efforts.
Peru - La Merced
In support of the Ashaninka community, Belen, our Fellows will focus on numerous WASH (Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene) efforts including: water testing, development of WASH education resources/lessons, as well as the design and construction of latrine style and compost toilets for the daycare center. Also, in partnership with the La Merced Fire Department, Fellows will be designing a 'Mini First-Aiders' program that aims to bring basic first aid education to local schools.
Our SIHF group is already gearing up for the first summer health fair! After on-site orientation, Fellows created promotional materials that will be used to advertise the event later this month. Fellows will also develop enhanced tracking tools for both our Health Promoter first aid kits and our Diabetic Support Group. Additionally, Fellows will work with our Health Education Coordinator to develop materials for our 'Exploradores de Conocimientos' (Explorers of Knowledge) Program and to improve the interactivity of the current diabetic and hypertension classes.
A huge shout out to our Fellows around the globe! We are so excited to have you with us this summer and look forward to seeing all that you will accomplish.
Stay tuned for more updates on all things SIHF 2016!