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Emory Global Health Institute Field Scholars Awards Program

2008 Global Health Institute Field Scholars

World Health Organization Buruli Ulcer Initiative in Ghana

Ernestina Nyarko, Rollins School of Public Health
Mara Pillinger, Rollins School of Public Health
Zerui Yu, Rollins School of Public Health

2008 fsa project 10 inset

Zerui Yu, Mara Pillinger, and
Ernestina Nyarko with
colleagues in Ghana.

Caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, Burili ulcer (BU) is a neglected tropical disease that causes immense morbidity and disability among some of the most underprivileged populations in the world. The World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Buruli Ulcer Initiative (GBUI) internship program strives to increase the knowledge about BU by providing public health students the opportunity to work with the Ghana Ministry of Health's Buruli Ulcer Control Program. In summer 2008, three Rollins School of Public Health students participated in this internship program and conducted three separate projects with the goal of improving the community-based BU surveillance system in Ghana.

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Zerui Yu during her 2008 Global
Health Field Scholars experience.

Ernestina Nyarko evaluated the accuracy and completeness of BU surveillance data in Ghana, which will help strengthen Ghana's BU surveillance system and increase the GBUI's and the Ghana Ministry of Health's knowledge about BU in Ghana. Mara Pillinger focused her work on increasing system efficiency by improving integrated disease surveillance and increasing case reporting by recruiting traditional healers to serve as case reporters. She conducted a SWAT analysis to determine the current level of integration in surveillance of BU and other neglected tropical diseases and identifed where the system functions smoothly and where there are problems. Zerui Yu evaluated and described the current status of BU laboratory confirmation, created a database to capture confirmation and generate standardized data output, and developed recommendations for improving early BU case detection rates.

To read about Ms. Nyarko's, Ms. Pillinger's, and Ms. Yu's experiences from their perspectives, click here, here, and here.

In follow-up to their summer work, this team presented a poster of their project during the 2008 EGHI Global Health Scholars Symposium.

return to 2008 field scholars list