Career goal: Reduce the burden of infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, and injuries in Nigeria and other African countries through preventative interventions.
Internship outline: The aim of Musleehat’s project was to determine if there was a difference in parasitemia levels and the presence of P. falciparum strains between simultaneously collected capillary and venous blood samples in clinical trials of malaria. She leveraged the participants (pregnant women, non-pregnant adults, children) enrolled in ongoing NIH-funded trails in Tororo to collect blood samples via smears and filter paper at multiple time-points over a 42-day course of follow-up.
Value of experience: I was able to apply my training in epidemiology to write a research proposal and implement it. I also learned how to assertively express my expectations to and collaborate with a team of doctors, laboratory technicians, study coordinators and principal investigators. Working at a clinic gave me the opportunity to form relationships with my Ugandan co-workers and learn about their work and culture; I have gained lifelong friends. I also got a chance to travel within Uganda and East Africa.
Best moment/experience: While assisting a doctor who was enrolling a mother into the study, I touched her baby and noticed that she was extremely warm. I reported this to the doctor and found out the child had a fever and was diagnosed with malaria. The mother was not aware that her child was sick. Thus, if I was not observant, the child would have gone home without prophylaxis and the malaria could have exacerbated.