Meeting the Volunteers

Today was our big volunteer meeting! 63 of the surveillance volunteers from the villages around CLI came to the clinic. We didn’t have a big enough space for everyone inside so we set up in a courtyard outside the research office.

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In the last week I’ve developed a community volunteer guide, which helped explain a little about the project and its purpose, the role of the village volunteers, and important information like contact info on who to report the deaths to. It also defines neonatal and maternal deaths to help them identify what a ‘case’ would be.

Check out the English Version | Chichewa Version

The volunteers got these guides, their t shirts, and volunteer IDs. They also got a round of training from my preceptor and the CLI research lead Gladson. The clinic’s head physician addressed the group as well, expressing his appreciation for the project and their involvement.

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As with any well attended meeting, refreshments were served.

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I had some really great interactions with our participants, even across the language barrier. It was fun getting to meet them in person after seeing their faces from the ID photos.

Planning the logistics of it all was pretty stressful. For our 1 p.m. meeting, attendees arrived anywhere from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. But overall it was a great opportunity to get everyone together. The volunteers asked thoughtful questions and worked together to figure out solutions that fit their communities.

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The HSAs (CLI staff who act as liaisons in the villages) got some great face time with virtually all of the community volunteers for their areas at once, which was valuable too. Despite a long gathering, everyone was in high spirits at the end.

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In addition to returning volunteers we also had new participants, so now all of the villages in the catchment area should be covered. I’ll verify when the dust settles and the registration forms are compared tomorrow.

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My next step is to take a very close look at what happens after the community volunteer level reporting: how the HSA collects information for the audit, how it’s entered into the database, and how it’s analyzed for applications in clinic decision making.

These are just a few of the photos I was able to snap while helping carry on the meeting. I had a fellow volunteer come take more, so stay tuned.

Tionana (see you later!)

Lucy

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