Jennifer James's Blogs

  • How You Can Celebrate International Day of the Midwife

    I am just back from spending over two weeks in Ethiopia. At every health clinic and hospital I visited in both rural and urban areas I had the great privilege of chatting with new and seasoned midwives about their life-saving work. Midwives play a pivotal role in maternal and newborn health in Ethiopia and around the world. Why?  Because midwives have been trained to save lives.  In low-resource settings a midwife’s care and attention can mean the difference between a woman dying from sepsis and having a routine healthy delivery. Did you know that maternal mortality cannot be reduced without midwives? Did you know each year we lose close to 300,000 women and 3 million infants? Midwives could prevent most of those deaths. And finally, did you also know that the survival of every newborn depends on quality care...

  • Focusing on Cervical Cancer on World Cancer Day

    Today is World Cancer Day, a day to talk about and discuss cancer and the myths surrounding the global disease. On World Cancer Day we are focusing our efforts on cervical cancer and its effects on women in poor countries. Last year I met a cervical cancer nurse, Susan Banda, at the N’Gombe Health Clinic in Lusaka, Zambia who said she is treating more and more women every day with cervical cancer. Africa has the highest rates of cervical cancer deaths at 270,000 each year. By 2030 it is estimated that 500,000 women will die from cervical cancer and 98% of those deaths will be in low and middle-income countries. Humanitarian organizations and governments are working to end the amount of cervical cancer deaths and diagnoses. USAID is working toward and funding asingle-visit approach to cervical cancer (pdf). Jhpiego...

  • New Needle-Free Malaria Test Could Be a Game Changer

    One of the most effective advancements in malaria testing has been the rapid diagnostic test. Easy to use and inexpensive it cut the wait time for diagnostics drastically and has made testing and treatment easier for frontline health workers around the world particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where the prevalence of malaria is the highest. In countries like Zambia, for example, malaria treatments are up and the mortality rate for children under the age of five has decreased due in large part to rapid diagnostic tests. Now a new rapid diagnostic test may potentially be even more effective by not requiring a blood sample, but rather using a laser pulse to detect malaria infection. According to the New York Times the new rapid diagnostic test created by a team of researchers at Rice University led by physicist Dmitri O. Lapotko has the potential to...

  • The Face of Neglected Tropical Disease

    When we think about diseases in Africa we think about the biggest of them – malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. We forget about the neglected tropical diseases that debilitate so many in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia from intestinal worms to elephantiasis. These diseases are real and they are easily prevented, but as their name suggests, these diseases are nearly neglected. In fact, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis G Sambo, called for increased funding last month to eradicate and control neglected tropical diseases by 2020 in Africa.   There has been notable progress is controlling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). For example, all sub-Saharan countries save for Chad, Mali, Sudan and Ethiopia, have eradicated guinea worm. However there is still much work to do in order to wipe out the seven most common neglected tropical diseases. The international...

  • Why I Am Excited to Be In Tanzania

    I am writing this post sitting in my hotel room in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Right outside my patio window in the near distance is a beautiful, blue bay with connecting waters to the Indian Ocean. Dar es Salaam is the first coastal city I’ve visited in Africa. Its brightly colored buildings, abundant bougainvillea and palm trees make Dar es Salaam a visual paradise with the vast Indian Ocean serving as the main backdrop to the city. Earlier today when I stepped off the plane in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city and major international shipping hub, I was immediately struck by how very hot it is here. You see, I was just in Zambia two months ago where it was winter and the weather was cool and pristine. Here in Tanzania – although the two countries  ...

  • On the Zambezi River

    There is beauty all around us. We just need to take a moment to see it. - Anonymous On the Zambezi River | Livingstone, Zambia This post originally appeared at Jennifer James on Tumblr.

  • Trying Zambia’s Local Beer and Food

    I need to start a tab for beer on this blog. I really do. It’s my favorite thing to drink when I travel to other countries because there is always a new, local beer you can try no matter where you are. Otherwise, every drink is exactly the same: Coke, 7-Up, Sprite, Fanta, coffee!   In Zambia, I loved tasting some of the local beers: Mosi, Castle (not pictured), and Windhoek. Castle is South African and Windhoek is Namibian, while Mosi is proudly Zambian, as they like to say. I read that many Zambians prefer light lagers, so Mosi really wasn’t that great to me. I often opted for Mosi Gold if it was available. I tried all of the beers – Mosi, Castle, and Windhoek – and liked Castle the best because it was...

  • I Made It to Lusaka

    After 21 long hours of flying across the world I am finally here in Lusaka, Zambia. As we landed I could feel a sudden happiness engulf me of being back in Africa. It’s so peaceful flying in and seeing nothing but land for miles and miles and miles. I think that’s what makes Africa so unique – how very expansive it is. I met with some of the fellows at the airport and now we’re at the hotel. Some of the others had flight delays and another fellow’s flight was completely cancelled out of Cairo. We will see her tomorrow. Hopefully she can get a flight out given the circumstances in Egypt right now. Tonight is dedicated to getting to know everyone and then tomorrow the site visits start. More then! I am traveling to Zambia as...

  • Changing Money in Lusaka

    After dinner tonight a few of us went to a mall across the street from our hotel where we could change money and activate SIM cards for our phones. I didn’t tackle my SIM card situation just yet, but I did change US dollars for Zambia kwacha at a supermarket that looked just like any supermarket in the States. This modern grocery store is the first one I’ve seen like that in Africa. Although I can’t be sure of this, I believe southern Africa is a little better in terms of sheer infrastructure and status of living than other sub-Saharan countries and regions of the continent. That said, I have been in Zambia all of seven hours so I may be making a huge leap about that. That’s just what I’ve observed so far. ...

  • My Journey to Zambia Starts Tomorrow

    Remember earlier this week when I mentioned this week was ridiculously busy? Well, I put one foot in front of the other and got my work done – chats, Twitter parties, interviews, conference calls, everything. I still have a few things to do, but they’re not stressing me out as I prepare for my trip to Africa as an International Reporting Project Zambia Fellow. To be completely honest I don’t know what to expect about this trip. I’ve never been to Zambia and I have learned not to have expectations about a country and my work before I get there. What I do know is there will be a lot for me to share while there. We received our itinerary in advance and we will be busy! Plus, I am setting up visits during the time we can...

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