To work!

After a night of restful sleep, I got up bright and early to give myself enough time to explore the route to the office. I had been warned that road conditions would be challenging in Addis, especially given the frequent rains and mud puddles everywhere. They weren’t exaggerating. I have never been so thankful to have a pair of waterproof hiking boots in the capital of a nation before. Everywhere in this city, there is road and building construction. Dirt paths don’t even begin to describe it. At one point, I had to climb over a massive 5ft-tall mountain of red rubble and dirt just to cross the street. It wouldn’t be quite as bad if it weren’t for the thick traffic fumes permeating the air. Any health benefit from speed walking at this high altitude seems to be instantaneously negated by the heavy pollution around town.

At any rate, about a half hour later, I managed to locate the office. Between the complete lack of building numbers and the language barrier, it was quite an adventure to say the least. Tucked in a small alley behind the tallest building in Addis, Jhpiego’s office occupies a 4-story building that holds approximately 100 full-time staff.

I got to meet S, who has been coordinating my scope of work over the past few months. Originally from Kenya, S moved to Addis six months ago to help manage the Human Resources for Health (HRH) portfolio here. Despite her young appearance, S quickly revealed herself to be a no-nonsense, practical colleague who had too many responsibilities and too little time. She sat me down, ran through a laundry list of logistics and relocation concerns, and then shuffled me off to a training. We barely touched on my assigned responsibilities.

In any case, this is what I know so far:

  • I am sitting in the Monitoring and Evaluation Office under the Human Resources for Health (HRH) Program headed by Jhpiego. One of the main goals of HRH is to strengthen the core competencies of midwifery and anesthesia students who are graduating with diplomas or degrees from higher educational institutions across the country. The interventions include updating curricula, strengthening faculty and preceptor teaching skills, establishing / strengthening skills laboratories and clinical practice sites, and quality improvement.The IRB for the evaluation study of this program was passed last week, which means I will be helping with baseline data collection, management, and analysis over the next two months. As students will be graduating over the next few weeks, we are on a tight schedule to complete data collection. A three-day training for data collectors began on-site today, and next week the actual collection will take place at regional sites, which leads me to the following….
  • I’ll be traveling on rural field visits to supervise data collection from Monday, June 24 through July 4th for a total of 10 days. It’ll be my first real ‘field visit’ and I can’t wait!
  • Apart from the work described above, I am leading a systematic literature review on the influence of joint appointments and performance recognition on faculty retention in health settings.

Anyway, that’s it for now. More soon!

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