Malaria, Measles, Diarrhea, and Rabies!

Master of Public Health Students who have been attached as “interns” at Provincial Health Departments or Hospitals for the past six months gave us summary reports of their work yesterday and today. Their reports covered everything from disease outbreaks they had investigated to evaluation of the effectiveness of various health programs. Some of the outbreaks they covered included malaria, measles, diarrheal disease and rabies. One doesn’t usually think of rabies as an epidemic disease, but a cluster of six cases occurred in a rural area of one province last June and July. It turned out that one rabid dog had bitten many other dogs. This led to a rabies mini-epidemic in the dog population as well as the six human cases, all of which proved fatal. With thousands of unvaccinated dogs in that province, the potential danger was great. Our MPH student made excellent recommendations for better control in the future. Reports from other students were equally compelling. A visitor from another department commented, after hearing all the reports, that she had no idea our public health students were involved in such wide-ranging activities of such importance. That’s a commentary on the nature of public health work – largely invisible, but very important. It was also a nice compliment for the students!

They also outlined their research proposals to be completed in the next four months.