It’s been a very eventful couple of weeks for the TB department at the Bairo Pite Clinic. The TB team and I have been working to create training materials for our 4 new health care workers who will be carrying out the Doorstep Treatment Support (DTS) program. As I mentioned in my previous post, the DTS program aims to increase adherence and completion of TB treatment for those with active TB and to provide preventative treatment for children under 5. I have learned so much about program implementation; how difficult it is to translate an idea onto paper and then into a practical setting, and then how time consuming it is to translate all this from English to Tetun.
One of my goals for this summer was to apply what I have learned in the classroom as an HSSP student in a more practical manner, particularly as it pertains to implementation of community health projects. First, the needs of the community had to be gaged. Given the high incidence of TB in Timor, it was clear that there is a need to reduce the incidence and prevalence of TB by identifying those with TB more efficiently, by increasing adherence to TB treatment, and by trying to deliver more preventative treatment (http://www.who.int/countries/tls/en/). Then, the clinic had to determine what resources, in the form of money, facilities, and human capital were available for the program. Foreign grants were obtained and 4 new workers were hired for the program. Once we knew the program had proper support we began creating materials for a 6 day training for the new workers. My colleagues and I created scripts and videos, scenarios for role play, and other written and verbal activities for the two days of training that pertained to effective communication. Learning points included recognizing verbal and non-verbal signs, and active listening through paraphrasing, summarizing and reflection (http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/nonverbal-communication.html). We collaborated with many wonderful Timorese volunteers who were willing to act in the videos, translate the work we had done and then deliver a lot of the materials in Tetun. Working as a group was essential for the success of the training and it was also a great opportunity to build new friendships.
I think one of the most important things I’ve learned through all of this is that if you want anything to be successful you must be able to keep the big picture in mind while being extremely detail oriented. Every little detail matters and you must try to go the extra mile with every assignment you are handed. I am very proud of myself and my colleagues, particularly our ring leader, Paul, and all the hard work we have put into our work. We have been forced to do things we have never done before that have taught us to be more resourceful and also to draw from each other’s skill sets. I hope to take back everything I’m learning here related to teamwork, planning and program implementation to PP1 so that we can grow together as a club and organization.
Kathelyn Rivera, 15