Benjamin Simms, MPH '11

Kintampo North District, Ghana

I traveled to the Kintampo North District in Ghana for my summer internship. I was part of a research team that consisted of two Yale medical students, researchers from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, technicians from the Ghana Health Service and students from the Rural Health Training School in Kintampo. My primary goal was to determine whether nutritional status played a role in the response to anthelmintic treatment given to children between the ages of six and 11 who are infected with hookworm. I traveled each day to schools in remote villages to collect fecal samples from children to determine if they were infected with hookworm or other intestinal parasites. I also processed blood samples that were taken from each child to test for malaria and other indicators of nutritional status. The children in our study who were infected with hookworm were referred for deworming treatment with albendazole. Two weeks later, I analyzed post-treatment fecal samples to determine how the children responded to treatment and to calculate the efficacy of the drug. I had an incredible experience in Ghana. I ate waakye, a traditional Ghanaian dish made with rice and beans; cheered the Black Stars during the World Cup; and formed lifelong friendships with my Ghanaian colleagues. I received funding for my project from the Downs Fellowship and from the Office of Student Research.