Public Health without Borders (PHWB)

Twinkle Twinkle Handwashing Song

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
See how clean my two hands are
Soap and water, wash and scrub
Get those germs off, rub a dub
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
See how clean my two hands are

Old MacDonald Tooth Brushing Song

All my friends have pretty smiles
Ee – i – ee – i – o.
They brush their teeth to keep them bright,
Ee – i – ee – i – o.
With a wiggle-jiggle here,
And a wiggle-jiggle there,
Here a wiggle, there a jiggle,
Everywhere a wiggle-jiggle
Oh what fun to brush our teeth,
Ee – i – ee – i – o.

Ebola: Keeping them in our hearts

Our thoughts are with our new colleagues, friends, and the children in Sierra Leone. Each communication we receive asks for us to keep them in our thoughts and prayers, and we do. When we were in Sierra Leone, there were a small number of known cases in the eastern part of the country, heightening our awareness of how quickly a public health situation can change. For those of us who have traveled and seen this beautiful country and experienced the warm welcoming of a community, we are deeply saddened and looking for a way to assist in a relief effort for Calaba Town.

What is PHWB?

Founded in 2013, PHWB is a studentrun organization supported by the School of Public Health at University of Maryland, College Park. PHWB aims to assess health disparities impacting disadvantaged communities around the world and create sustainable interventions to alleviate these disparities. Members include undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff. PHWB members believe that we are strengthened by collaboration in community. With tiered mentorship and knowledge from community members, PHWB intends to create and disseminate public health material and interventions to improve the health of families in target communities.

Other PHWB International Projects

PHWB has traveled 3 times to Compone, Peru, to assess the health needs and priorities, then deliver workshops on oral rehydration therapy, handwashing, and oral hygiene. On the most recent trip in August 2014, the team conducted post-assessment and implementation evaluation and led train-the-trainer workshops with high school students to promote good hygiene practices.

The Travel Team

From June 10 to 28, students and faculty from PHWB conducted health-related needs assessments and workshops in Calaba Town, Sierra Leone in collaboration wtih Maryland Sustainable Engineering (MDSE) which installed a UV water sanitation system and laid the foundation for a secondary school at the Abigail D. Butscher Primary School, which was funded through the Madieu Williams Foundation. The PHWB team included Hannah Asmail, a junior Dietetics major and Syed Taban, a junior Behavioral and Community Health major; Rianna Murray, a PhD student in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH) and Krishna Bhagat, a PhD student in Behavioral and Community Health; and Dr. Elisabeth Maring, Director of Global Health Initiatives in the School of Public Health.

The PHWB team completed more than 50 assessment interviews with community leaders, parents, and children and responded to concerns about water and hygiene in the community by designing educational materials and delivering handwashing and oral hygiene workshops for the children during the school day and oral rehydration therapy workshops for adults after school hours. Many of the experiences are shared on their blog about their collaborative projects in both Sierra Leone and Peru with the School of Engineering at: http://umd-sphewb.blogspot.com/

From assessment interviews, the Public Health and Engineering teams continued discussion about future implementation trips. Future travel teams may focus on latrine improvements and handwashing stations at the school. The PHWB team is also considering future health related workshops on topics such as keeping water carrying containers clean, first aid, malaria, and other relevant health concerns shared by community members