Bringing home lessons from abroad
Establishing a strong personal rapport through peer education can make a difference to clinical practice, thinks Ying Wu
Immediately after a bridge, we pulled up a short dirt road to the Livingstone Memorial Hospital in Molepolole, a village an hour outside of Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. I had been in Botswana for almost a year as a research assistant for a clinical and public health project testing the efficacy of an antiretroviral protocol for preventing mother to child transmission of HIV. Part of the study included giving mothers infant formula after delivery of the baby so that HIV would not be transmitted through breast milk.
I spent that day in a two room shed, shadowing a doctor who provided routine prenatal and postnatal care for the women enrolled in the trial, and part of her job was to counsel HIV positive patients about the importance of using formula instead of breast feeding. The waiting area emptied as 12 noon approached, and the doctor greeted her next patient