Field trip to Uganda zeroes in on public health issues in developing nations

CALS Stefan Elde and Kate Mansfield digging in a village garden.

Fifteen UW students—13 of them from CALS—have just returned from three weeks in Uganda, where they helped kick off the second decade of the Uganda International Health and Nutrition study abroad program.

The idea of the program is to give students first-hand look at health and nutrition issues faced by people in developing nations. The program offers opportunities to learn about these issues from both a classroom perspective and through real world experiences. Roughly 175 students have participated in the program since it began in 2003, and nearly half of them have gone on to careers in medicine or public health. The program is led by John Ferrick, CALS director of international programs, and James Ntambi, professor in nutritional sciences and biochemistry. This year they were joined by biochemistry professor Doug Weibel. The program has also given rise to another Uganda field course led by Ntambi and his wife, Solomy, that goes in August and focuses on mobile health clinics.

Kate Mansfield and Dan Chen help construct a drying rack.

This year’s students helped farmers with their fieldwork and helped build drying racks and small hand cleaning stations to improve sanitation at the household level.  The program also is engaged with a local primary school. This year the students helped paint a new classroom built with funds secured through the Village Health Project (a UW student-run organization that was started about 7 years ago by students from this program).

For another account of the program, see It Takes A Village in Grow Magazine.