It’s hard to believe how a country that once just screamed sentiments of family, food and carefree fun can look so different after just a year at the School of Public Health. Immediately after getting off the plane, the humidity hits you (a punch to the hair) and the mosquitoes and cockroaches are everywhere. Getting in the cab, the familiar cacophony of obnoxious car and singsong truck horns, bicycles and motorcycles all weaving around seemed scary not funny like it once did. There was definitely some bliss in the ignorance that were my childhood India trips!
The neatest thing I noticed this time, compared to the last time I had visited, were the public health bulletins all over the city of Kolkata – from prostate cancer, to general healthcare messages. It was heartening to see that preventive measures were starting to permeate the culture here…unfortunately I couldn’t capture a non blurry image of one…will look out for more.
I just finished the first week of my internship here at iKure in Kolkata. It’s a company with a really novel approach, synergizing technology and medicine for improved healthcare outcomes, and it’s been great seeing how they work! The first couple days we tried to iron out differences to get protocols and surveys ready for use. It’s cliche, but I really do take our American infrastructure for granted and never remember that until I’m elsewhere in the world. I’ll try to remember this the next time the internet wigs out for a second back in America; it’s nothing compared to the temperament of the internet here! It really dictates the speed at which we can accomplish any of our work. It seems like each day we got one step closer to our final goal: begin training the community health workers to collect data on maternal and child health outcomes (descriptive epidemiology) in rural West Bengal.
As the week drew to a close, I felt more and more pieces come together. I’m hoping that next week we will be able to get out into the field and get things going! It’s very hard to believe that an entire week has passed so far….I realize I haven’t been taking too many pictures – more to come for sure!