By Tamiru Berhanu Denka, DVM
University of Gondar, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
I was voluntary and happy when requested to be part of the Rabies Knowledge Attitudes and Practice assessment in and around Gondar. The University of Gondar team was established ahead of the arrival of Ohio State teams, and was made up of lecturers and assistant professors from College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (FVM).
Tdele Atnafu form the School of Pharmacy, and myself form FVM went to two districts: Debark and Woreta, 105 km and 120 km respectively away from Gondar. Dr. Reta Tesfaye (FVM) and Debasu Damtie (CMHS) went to different places in Gondar. The mission of our team in these different places was to contact responsible government bodies and to discuss and debrief the rabies project objective in Gondar particularly, as well as Ethiopia at large, before beginning work.
After the arrival of the Ohio State team, Dr. Wassie Molla, coordinator of the project from UOG, held a meeting to allow the teams from Ohio State and UOG to meet and discuss the interview questions, recording on the ipad, and consent of interviewees at the meeting hall of FVM.
The next step was to start the job– interviewing various individuals and professionals as per the project proposal. Interviewing individuals is not an easy thing to do. However, our prior communication and discussion helped us to interview efficiently. Everyone was welcoming and eager to participate in these interviews. As we continued on, I began to see how important the issue of rabies is, and how much it affects my country. Everywhere we went people stopped their daily activities to meet with us, allowing our groups to finish interviews more quickly than originally anticipated. Due to our efficiency, our teams were asked to take on the challenge of an additional city and we did so in stride. In total we surveyed four cities and conducted approximately 280 interviews in eight days.
We then went to Addis Ababa to attend the rabies stakeholders workshop, held July 18-19. I am having an immense experience working in a team, appreciate learning about a different culture, and developing more friendships among the Ohio State team and from the University of Gondar as well.