Utah Valley Global Health Group

A blog about global health for those living in Utah Valley and their friends.

Archive for June, 2008

Cutting through complexities to solve problems

Posted by chads on June 29, 2008

I found this speech by Bill Gates on global health inequities insightful, optimistic, and even a little entertaining (there are 5 total portions, maybe 30 min total):

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

TV Programming

Posted by ryanlindsay on June 28, 2008

Child Survival

I’ll be tuning into see the Child Survival Project sponsored by UNICEF. CNN will highlight four areas where UNICEF demonstrates its remarkable on-the-ground expertise in doing whatever it takes to save a child:

* Child protection in Iraq
* Water and sanitation in Laos
* HIV/AIDS in Peru
* Child survival interventions in Ethiopia

I thought I’d pass the news along. It will air at 8 pm and 11 pm ET on July 6th.

A Walk to Beautiful

This past month a Nova program called “A Walk to Beautiful” highlighted fistula and other gynecological problems affecting mothers in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has a population of 77 million but only 146 gynecologists and obstetricians, leaving perhaps 100,000 women to suffer fistulas. This documentary brought out the pain and yet the hope in a very dire circumstance. The show has stopped airing but can still be seen on the Internet using the following link.

Posted in Announcements, Child Survival, News | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

New Spreadsheet on Under Five Mortality Rates (with some thoughts on disease advocacy)

Posted by ryanlindsay on June 17, 2008

Here is an excellent spreadsheet made available through some listserve discussions through the CORE group. The spreadsheet is being used by the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG), Partnership for Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (PMNCH), and the Countdown to 2015 Group. Its modeling methods are explained in the 2003 Child Survival Lancet series (another excellent resource). The 2003 version was updated recently and this is the latest version (2007).

This data is objective and comes as a great resource in the midst of a heated discussion with regards to disease advocacy and funding wars currently raging in the global health realm. The battle really was set off after Roger England questioned HIV/AIDS funding. For example, this mortality data shows HIV/AIDS as the number cause of mortality in one country, South Africa. Some diseases (especially HIV/AIDS) get more social arousal than the very unflattering diarrhea. Should funding ever be disease-specific?

Posted in Child Survival, Global Health Topics, Health Systems, HIV/AIDS, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Utah NGO Round-Up

Posted by ryanlindsay on June 5, 2008

All of the following Utah-based NGOs are involved in orphan care. They all seem to follow a pattern beginning with the building of orphanages, and then expanding their efforts beyond orphanage construction to include education, health and other initiatives. Some of these organizations have partnered with each other, I’m sure they could all learn from each other through some collaboration on this site!


Kaiizen was started by some BYU students who saw a need and took action. The Kaiizen Foundation took something mainstream, such as an apparel company, and put a humanitarian twist on it. Kaiizen exists to raise money for orphanages all around the world. It is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that raises money through the sales of their apparel and through various benefit concerts, parties, and surf/skate competitions. I’m impressed by how they are able to rally the youth to get involved in global problems.

They currently have projects in Baja, Mexico and Maceio, Brazil. There are at least three more trips planned to the Baja this year. June 26-29, October 16-19, December 4-7.

Visit the Kaiizen website and become a member for only $30. Your donation will help improve the lives of orphaned youth around the world, and you will get a great looking Kaiizen t-shirt and sticker.

A Child’s Hope Foundation

A Child’s Hope Foundation provides orphaned and abandoned children in developing countries a healthy, caring environment while seeking a loving family for them. Based in Provo, Utah the foundation currently works in Haiti, Mexico, Peru, China, South Korea, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.

Volunteers can help with work trips (which are short term typically 1-2weeks). Opportunites to serve longer as caregivers in orphanages is an option. Their next volunteer work trip will be to Mexico to help build orphanages and will take place August 25-29 (they especially need individuals w/masonry skills). They often keep interested individuals posted through newsletters.

One Heart Bulgaria

One Heart Bulgaria is based in Providence, Utah. All of its programs support orphans in Bulgaria. This happens through sponsorships of individual orphanages; completion of special projects for the orphanages; providing specialized medical care; implementing life skills training programs for the teenage orphans; and training orphanage staff, to properly care for the orphans.

One Heart Bulgaria has a recent newsletter highlighting their activities. There are many different ways to donate. This organization has a seemingly well established internship program for volunteers to help in an orphanage for 4+ weeks.

The Afghanistan Orphanage Project

The Afghanistan Orphanage Project (TAO Project) initiated from a group of Utahns in the 211th Aviation Battalion who were stationed in Afghanistan. The project is dedicated to providing orphaned and homeless children shelter, food, clothing, health services, education, and love. They have a huge orphanage in the works that will house 1,000 children. Another focus of the TAO project is to bring Afghanistan children to the United States for life-saving surgeries.

Recently they went to film a documentary on the building efforts. The villagers agreed to donate their labor each Friday, the Islamic holy day, to the building of the orphanage. The director, Shah Karimi is a native and will run the orphanage. This organization seems to be making good steps into making the development sustainable.

The Blueberry Foundation

The Blueberry Foundation – was created in 1994 and is based out of Salem, UT. They work in constructing, refurbishing and maintaining orphanages as well. They advertise the need for help with July 2008 projects to Ukraine and Philippines.

If you are from an NGO and you would like something specific advertised, you can email me at unacceptableglobalhealth@gmail.com and I’ll post to this blog.

Posted in humanitarian aid, NGOs, Opportunities, Volunteer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

EpiInfo, SAS, Stata, SPSS

Posted by chads on June 4, 2008

We recently had the following discussion via email, and thought it might be useful to post it for everyone:

I’m fairly new to data management and analysis. I’m currently learning Epi Info for a project, and I know that I’ll be using STATA for BioStats this fall. I just wanted to get a “real-life” feel for which programs have been most useful and/or which are used the most. How often do you use Epi Info? STATA? SPSS? Which, would you say, is most useful? Which should I spend the most time learning? Any other advice?

Kirk Dearden: “I’d avoid EpiInfo. It has some advantages (e.g., it’s free and you can use it to calculate sample size and calculate Z scores for nutritional status) but I find it very cumbersome all around–even for data entry. For data entry I’ve switched to Excel–at least that’s the program I’ve used in my training of aid workers. It too has problems. Better options for more serious data analysis are epihandy (if you’ve got a PDA) and CSPro–both free of charge and much more manageable.

Which software package is best for data analysis is the subject of debate the world over! Of course the big three are SPSS, Stata and SAS. SPSS is great for graphics but I find it too easy to use the menus to conduct analyses. Using menus limits what you can do and–in my mind–is a crutch. SAS is the most powerful of the three though for what any of us is doing, these differences are really negligible. I like Stata because it is very interactive and intuitive. So, I’d say SAS or Stata.”

Ben Crookston: “As for data management and analysis, I think Kirk summed it up quite well. I use SAS a majority of the time, but do use Stata on occasion. If you only plan to do general analyses and don’t intend to do a lot of data management (cleaning, shaping, restructuring, etc.) then I would learn Stata and stick with it. Because I do a lot of data management, I prefer SAS.”

Posted in Evidence-based Global Health, Practical Advice | 12 Comments »

What is an Odds Ratio?

Posted by ryanlindsay on June 3, 2008

Reliable data and correct interpretations thereof will help move global health interventions in the right direction. Interventions need to be evidence-based. Hunches, gut feelings, premonitions, and even guesses about health issues need to be proven before we make incorrect conclusions resulting in wasted time, effort and money on techniques that are not scientifically sound. Odds ratios are a surprisingly simple, yet powerful way to show statistical associations in health.

I have tried to share in simple words, how to calculate and use odds ratio. This is a stab at something I just learned about as a first year MPH student, and not something I profess to be an expert at. This post is undeniably more practical than entertaining…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Practical Advice | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 39 Comments »