Written by Caitlin and Heather
Madex work is finally underway. After being greeted with a wonderful meal cooked by Madame Chez Martin herself, we have all settled well in Marolambo. Yesterday was the first day spent as a full MadEx team in Marolambo and it was a busy one!!
The morning started with a circuit of research methods for the children in Marolambo. This was compiled of 5 research stations laid out in the local school classroom.
1. Questionnaires: The Malagasy team stay with the children and help them to fill out a questionnaire regarding their health behaviours and understanding of schistosomiasis before education.
2. Anthropometrics: Robbie and Steve took the height and weight of the children
3. Anaemia and Malaria testing – Caitlin and Hannah tested each of the children for malaria and anaemia.
4. Novel ultrasound – Heather performed an abdominal examination and basic ultrasound scan of the liver of each children
5. Ultrasound – Graham performed a full ultrasound scan of the liver of each child
Alongside all of this Alice has been hard at work looking for snails in the Marolambo waters (another blog post to come about this).
Having completed a day of research methods the new members of the team are now familiar with the programme and can replicate this in the next villages.
The afternoon was the start of the MadEx team fitness regime (as well as part of the research methods for the study) – the afternoon was bleep test time!! The children all participated in a bleep test which was led by some MadEx team members (who realised they lack some fitness). This is used as a measure of cardiovascular fitness. Robbie, who loves a spreadsheet, is keeping track of the team’s bleep test scores for the expedition!
The evening was spent handling the ‘pipi’ (children’s urine samples) and carrying out the urine tests for schistosomiasis (CCAs).
Today has consisted of more ultrasound for Graham and Heather while Steve and Hannah were on the hunt for a few power solutions – solar powering two ultrasounds is looking promising!
Manu, Gina, Tahiry, Jenny and Antsa, the Malagasy doctors and students in the team have all been busy carrying out an education programme. This year we are working on developing lesson plans with teachers and involving them in the delivery of the education in order to improve sustainability of the education.
Everyone’s having a great time and enjoying a sunnier day today! Looking forward to getting our hands on some of the ‘caca’ (stool samples) to start on some microscopy tonight!