North Africa Community Health Initiative delegates and their Follow-on Projects


Hanane Belhaj, Legacy International, NACHI participantHanane Belhaj
City: Essaouira, Morocco
Education: Nurse
Place of Work: Municipal Health Center (Ministry of Health), serves 5000 (as of Aug, 2011, has a new job as a teacher / trainer for medical / surgical nurses.)
Responsibilities: Hanane is now training others to be medical / surgical nurses. She also participates in implementation of various health programs: vaccinations, family planning, pre-natal care, childbirth education, TB prevention
Membership: volunteers at an orphanage working with teens; Moroccan Assoc of Nursing & Health Technologies
Professional Interests / Other Notable info: Ms. Belhaj is a very dedicated, young professional, still in a formative phase of her career. In her previous job, she faced many impediments to providing quality care in her day to day practice: electrical outages, poor roads leading to health center, and much, much more. She worked alone in this center, and strove to provide the best care she could given the circumstances.
Age: 25

Follow On Project: “Vaccination and Parental Management of Post Vaccination”, Hanane Belhaj

This project aims to raise awareness of parents about the importance of vaccinating their children, and how to behave in the case of a post vaccination adverse effect (PVAE). Fifty parents of babies at the health center Ait Zelten will be target to participate in a round table training including the Vaccination Information Statement (VIS) and DVDs for parents who cannot read. There will be two groups of 25 parents. The parents will participate in simulation games and ask questions. They will gain a better knowledge of the immunization program, and rumors about the vaccine will be discussed and addressed.

Though Morocco has had a strong vaccination policy for decades, after vaccination the majority of health workers do not explain to parents PVAE or how vaccines work. This can create a quandary, a state of panic, disputes and insults at the onset of a benign side effect from vaccination. Overall, parents will gain better knowledge of the immunization program and feel a climate of trust and information, and nurses and health workers will improve their knowledge and ability to communicate to parents about post vaccination adverse effects.

Samira Tabine, Legacy International NACHI participantSamira Tabine
City: El Jadida, Morocco
Education: Social Assistant Certificate in Health Training (equivalent to a Bachelors degree in social work)
Current Title & Place of Work: “Health Professional/Social Assistant”, Ministry of Health in Chichaoua, in two hospitals outside of Marrakech
Current Responsibilities: Counsels “most vulnerable” in rural area, including women and children experiencing domestic violence; assists in free clinic, responsible for writing annual reports to World Health Organization. Primary focus is working with abandoned children.
Professional Interests / Other Notable Information: Despite what she notes as great strides in the improvement of the Moroccan health system, Samira states that access to health care is a major problem. People in rural areas do not know how to take advantage of what care is provided, and often do not seek help unless very ill. One of her roles is to help people find the services they need, and help the hospital evaluate the best way it can serve marginalized people.
Age: 31

Follow On Project: Violence Can End” (Domestic Violence, Samira Tabine (Morocco)

In cooperation with a social worker representing the Justice Department, this project proposes to hold seminars in a room in the hospital in order to educate women about laws and rights concerning domestic abuse.

Aicha El Ouazzani Tuhami, Legacy Internation NACHI participantAicha El Ouazzani Tuhami
City: Fnideq (northern Morocco; near Tangier)
Education: Midwife degree (3 year, post secondary school program)
Memberships & Volunteering: President & founder of Volontaires Internationaux pour l’Egalite’ (VIE) which provides supplies to hospitals, books/computers to high schools, and toys/clothes to orphanages, through collaboration with ASPIRE, a US student service org; Midwives Assoc of Tangier
Current Title & Place of Work: Nurse Midwife, Ministry of Health, Melloussa Birth Center (serves 19 localities & villages; 14,000 people)
Current Responsibilities: is one of three midwives at the birth center, providing prenatal, antenatal and postnatal care, family planning services and vaccinations for infants.
Professional Interests / Other Notable Information: Cites numerous obstacles to being able to provide adequate health care: lack of infrastructure/logistics support (cars, water, electricity, supplies), few medical personnel, geographic inaccessibility, poverty, ignorance. She wants to establish a program to train birth assistants, to help reduce maternal/infant mortality. She also wants to develop her management skills and techniques, and learn how to implement / sustain such a project. Like many Moroccan medical professionals, she helps organize “medical caravans” to serve in remote areas.
Age: 26

Follow On Project: Training Midwives in New Communication Techniques with Patients”, Aicha Elouazani Tuhami & Fatima Ouasmani (Morocco)

This project aims to offer a 2-day training to existing midwives with the goal of improving communication between midwives and their patients. The training will include role playing and a short video, created by Ms. Tuhami and Ms. Ouasmani with the help of a volunteer video studio. Follow up observation will be made by Ms. Tuhami and Ms. Ouasmani at maternity centers and hospitals to assist the midwives in the implementation of their new knowledge.

Fatima Ouasmani, Legacy International NACHI participantFatima Ouasmani
City: Rabat, Morocco
Education: Masters in Development, with specialization in International Health (Senghor University, Alexandria, Egypt, 2009); Midwife (three year degree, 2000); Bachelor in Economic Sciences, Mohammed V University, Rabat, 1995
Memberships & Volunteering: Vice President, Moroccan Association of Midwives
Current Title & Place of Work: Midwife educator and administrator at Health Career Formation Institute (part of Ministry of Health) which trains paramedical personnel (2000 students are trained each year) and offers continuing education.
Current Responsibilities: She is responsible for the “communication unit,” collaborating with a computer technician, an MD, a biologist to: report institute activities and events, organizes conferences & seminars, “advocacy tools for sponsorship request”, etc.
Professional Interests / Other Notable Information: Feels the midwives’ role in the Moroccan health system needs to be reviewed, so midwives can be utilized to their fullest, to reduce the high rate of maternal/infant mortality. Previous to her work in Rabat, she worked in a very remote area (Beni Mella) as a midwife, where she also conducted basic prevention programs (vaccination, prenatal care, etc.) Mrs. Ouasmani has a broad vision for future of the midwifery profession. She would like to see professional midwives more valued. Laws regulating their practice are out of date. She wants to develop a program to train nurses to operate in rural areas. Current training does not prepare them for what they face.
Age: 39

Follow On Project: Training Midwives in New Communication Techniques with Patients”, Aicha Elouazani Tuhami & Fatima Ouasmani (Morocco)

This project aims to offer a 2-day training to existing midwives with the goal of improving communication between midwives and their patients. The training will include role playing and a short video, created by Ms. Tuhami and Ms. Ouasmani with the help of a volunteer video studio. Follow up observation will be made by Ms. Tuhami and Ms. Ouasmani at maternity centers and hospitals to assist the midwives in the implementation of their new knowledge.

Fatimazahra El FilaliFatimazahra El Filali
City: Safi (north of Essaouira), Morocco
Languages: Arabic, French, English
Education: MA in Entrepreneurship & SME Strategies, Economics & Business Administration
Current Title and Place of Work: Division Administrator for Human Resources, Doukkala Abda Region, Ministry of Health
Current Responsibilities: recruits staff, professional advancement / development, plans & organizes training services. Identifies what training needs are, then organizes trainings.
Membership: Committee of International Days of Marketing in Marrakesh; is responsible for PR and communications (6 years). Association Against AIDS (Essaouira; works on projects to educate young people about AIDS in rural areas).
Motivation / Professional Interests / Other Notable Information: Primary field of interest is in health service administration. Issues / obstacles noted: lack of doctors. Sites 1:3700 ratio. Also cites poverty, which is exacerbated by large families who have only one income earner. Sees role for media in effecting changes in “traditional values or equivalently motivate people towards modernization.” [written English not fluent; not able to grasp the depth of what she was trying to convey.] Sees a casual factor to illness among rural populations is in a “lack of awareness,” and the solution to address this is via communication media. “If we can raise awareness of keeping healthy, then surely they can work more efficiently and can contribute to rural development. To assess the health awareness in this regards, it is important to include other elements such as habits of cleanliness, eating habits, drinking water, vaccination awareness, family planning.” Volunteer work in areas of AIDS education with women & children. Wants to continue over the long term to work in the Ministry of Health. She has a desire to correct culture of corruption.
Age: 26

Follow On Project: Classrooms for Diabetes Education and Involvement of the Media, Fatima Ezzahra Elfilali

The goal of this project is to create training sessions to educate both nursing staff and diabetic patients in the small village of Beddouza in the north of Morocco. This program will be conducted by the nursing staff involved in the care of diabetics. First, training sessions for the nursing staff will be organized. Then the nursing staff will create training session for diabetic patients. By the end of March 2012, 50 diabetic patients will benefit from the sessions.

The project will convene two groups of 25 patients, who will attend two sessions each, for a total of four educational sessions. Patients will be selected by an endocrinologist and invited to attend the meetings scheduled. Nursing / training staff will be recruited from the regional hospital as volunteers to go into the village and deliver the sessions. Two journalists, one from a newspaper and one from television, will be recruited to accompany the staff for the trainings and report on them, in order to reach a wider audience. A DVD will be created for training purposes, along with a brochure.

Khalid NeghyefKhalid Neghyef
City: Fez, Morocco
Languages: Arabic, French, English, Berber
Education: Nurse, specialization in Environmental Health
Current Title and Place of Work: Ministry of Health, Fez Region, Environmental Health Technician.
Current Responsibilities: control and monitoring of drink water in rural areas outside Fez; safe disposal of waste water/sold waste. Provide information, education, communication.
Membership: Assoc. of Midwives of Fez (volunteer); Assoc. of Health Technicians of Morocco
Motivation / Professional Interests / Other Notable info: Issues / obstacles noted: “adequate reception facilities” for prenatal care, “birth homes far from population”; geographical barriers, poverty, few trained medical personnel to support pregnant women. Extensive experience working in very isolated areas (Errachidia), where he worked with a number of Peace Corp Volunteers. Project idea involves creating a place in rural area where pregnancy education classes can occur, and a place for “accouchement” (“confinement”). Strong commitment to work with midwives in Fez.
Age: 42

Follow On Project: Safe Birth Through Health Education, Khalid Neghyef, (in collaboration with the Association of Midwives in the region Fez Boulemane.)

In an effort to reduce the high rate of mother/infant mortality in Morocco, the national health ministry has developed a very ambitious plan “to reduce maternal mortality from 227 to 50 per 100000 live births and child mortality from 40 to 15 per 1000 live births by the year of 2012.”

The goal of this project is to train 10 women from five women’s clubs to educate, sensitize and prepare for childbirth, pregnant women from 5 disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the city of Fez.

Longer-term objectives include that by the end of 2011, 10 women from 5 women’s clubs should be able to train 60 additional pregnant women in five disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the city of Fez. By the end of February 2012, these women will:

• understand the movements and positions that will help during childbirth;

• know the healthy diet to follow during pregnancy;

• understand the physical and psychological changes that occur during pregnancy;

• be able to identify basic concepts of pregnancy; and

• know the signs of onset of labor.

Mohammed ArifMohammed Arif
City: Chichaoua (in between Essaouira & Marrakech), Morocco
Languages: Arabic, French, English
Education: Diploma in Nursing
Current Title & Place of Work: Head Nurse, Ministry of Health, Chichaoua (outpatient & inpatient)
Current Responsibilities: monitors programs related to maternal/child care, family planning, vaccinations, environmental health, epidemiological monitoring.
Membership: Association of Greater Atlas of Human Development (works to improve lives of those in isolated, inland areas.)
Motivation / Professional Interests / Other Notable info: Wants to be able to find ways to overcome the extreme isolation in the region he serves, by focusing more on specialized, mobile medical units. Has strong opinions about need for more government and international agency help to address these issues. Issues / obstacles noted: continued high maternal/infant mortality, despite increased economic support by government. Cites no real change in his region due to cultural factors. Primarily cites lack of pre and postnatal education and intrapartum care, and due to the extreme isolation in some areas. (Helicopter only means of access in some areas.) Special note: social media skills. Is web administrator for a portal for professional health care workers: .
Age: 26

Follow On Project: School Health Club, Arif Mohammed, head nurse in Ait Haddou Youssef (AHY) community, in collaboration with rural community in AHY, teachers and students.

The project goal is to decrease the rate of diarrhea in AHY by health education about hygienic practices such as hand washing and avoiding contaminated water. The measureable goal is to decrease the rate of children’s diarrhea in AHY (51%) to 25%, and then to 12%. As the rate of diarrhea among children in AHY is very high, the project will focus on children in schools. The most common causes of diarrhea are: dirty hands, contaminated food or water, and direct contact with fecal matter ( from the toilet).

The first step is to provide education to at least 50 students through health sessions about theory and in practice at a school in AHY. Students will then be evaluated in their homes, where they will in turn educate their families. The final step of the project will create a health and hygiene club in the school to continue regular and sustainable health education of students. A bulletin board will also be established in the school, where students, the head nurse, and the teachers put their opinions, messages, etc. on topics related to the education of health, specifically hand washing hygiene. Competitions in relation to hand washing hygiene will be held with small gifts awarded as an incentive. The project is scheduled to be fully implemented by March 2012.

Rachid Lamjaimer
City: Rabat, Morocco
Languages: Arabic, French, English, Berber
Education: Master in Public Health, Univ. North Carolina, 1999
Current Title and Place of Work: Health Program Assistant & Training Coordinator, Peace Corp
Current Responsibilities: background research to develop new initiatives and improve current projects; supports /monitors US volunteers; curriculum development & training classes for volunteers. Works in close collaboration with Ministry of Health so Peace Corp efforts are in-line with the ministry’s goals.
Motivation / Professional Interests / Other Notable Information: Issues / obstacles noted:comprehensive understanding of the health issues in Morocco (poverty, illiteracy, dispersed population in rural areas, lack of financial resources, high maternal mortality rate associated with low usage of prenatal care services & low rate of medically trained assistants during childbirth; drinking water issues, solid waste disposal issues). It has been over 10 years since his studies in US. He wants to refresh his knowledge of public health field; to find new, more effective models for application in Morocco. Also interested in SMS texting and its application in rural health. (Previous U.S. experience as Fulbright scholar at UNC, ’99)
Age: 42

Follow On Project: Healthy Mother Health Baby” A Lay Health Educator’s Program, Rachid Lamjaimer (Morocco)

Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies (HMHB) is a community-based project to educate women in a remote rural village in southern Morocco about health behaviors and practices that will enhance their health and that of their children. The program will train selected women (Lay Health Educators –LHEs) in the local woman’s association to discuss healthy pregnancy and safe birth with women in the larger community. The program will increase the likelihood of participants to engage in preventative behaviors and seek timely medical consultations.

The use of Lay Health Educators (LHEs) to address health issues is well documented and considered an appropriate model of community health promotion. Lay health advisors can increase awareness and promote behavior change, the HMHB program will train women in the local community association (who have an established credibility in their community) to play this role by educating and promoting healthy living to other women, particularly those in reproductive age.

By the end of March 2012, the participants will be able:

• To use at least three health education methods in delivering health messages.

• To conduct two health chats on chosen topics

• To demonstrate proper use of audio-visual aids and other educational materials.

• To properly complete a health chat monitoring form

• To describe the main methods of family planning available at the local health center and proper use

• To describe the importance of pre-natal care visits

• To describe both minor and major pregnancy-related complications and how to prevent and treat them

• To list the six vaccines a child must have during his/her first two years of age.

• To describe the importance of proper nutrition for both the mother and child, including exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months.

• To demonstrate motivation and good communication skills.

• To describe HIV/AIDS and STIs transmission and prevention

• To demonstrate proper hand washing and other disease prevention methods.

Rabii Larhrissi
City: Taroudannt (west of Agadir, southern part of Morocco)
Languages: Arabic, French, English
Education: Physician, general practitioner (specialty in occupational health & safety)
Current Title & Place of Work: Doctor, primary care, with Ministry of Health, sees about 30 people each day, of which 80% are children (outpatient only).
Current Responsibilities: Currently serves in an urban area serving about 12,000 people. Previously, he was placed in a more rural region with broad responsibilities as a head doctor, supervising a staff of 19 + physicians and nurses, and 2 Peace Corp volunteers (for 6 years).
Motivation / Professional Interests / Other Notable Information: Issues / obstacles noted: lack of will among health professionals & ministry officials to fully embrace community health education that is effective across language/culture barriers (Berber/Arab). Dr. Larhrissi had an opportunity to create DVDs in Amazigh language in collaboration with Peace Corp volunteers to educate indigenous people about many basic health issues (hygiene, to AIDS, to proper trash disposal).
Age: 35

Follow On Project: Health Education for Type 2 Diabetes / Prevention Through Education, Dr Rabii Lahrissi, Physician in Mhaita primary care health center in Taroudannt

The goal of this project is to provide health education classrooms to 50 type 2 diabetic patients at Mhaita’s health center in Taroudannt by March 31st, 2012. The lectures will concern the treatment of diabetes, diet and exercise.

In Morocco, a national survey on the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, conducted in 2000, shows that the prevalence of diabetes is 6.6% among those aged 20 and over (1 million people) are diabetic (7.7% in 2007). More than 50% of these people ignore their diseases. A very consistent health education on this topic seems to be important to help diabetics take care of themselves and provide them enough information on how to deal with their disease.

Ouafae El Ariss, Legacy International NACHI participantOuafae El Ariss
City, Country:   Temara, Morocco (just south of Rabat)
Languages: Arabic, French, English
Education: Physician; Doctorate in General Medicine; Masters in Public Health Management (Hospital Management)
Current Title and Place of Work: Health Management Specialist, at “Directory of Hospitals & Ambulatory Care”
Current Responsibilities:  Strategic planning and programming
Motivation / Professional Interests / Other Notable Information:  Feels that solutions to Morocco’s health care issues do not necessarily lie in more financial resources, but in improving education, and by improving efficiency and management practices.  Has previously worked in a rural health center.  From interview:  Dr El Ariss’s learning goals for her US training were more general at the time of the interview. She wants to see how a different system operates. Her current duties include  targeted projects for each year. This year, this includes a focus on nosocomial infections, accreditation standards, and examining how specialty services are organized, so people can share resources and knowledge better.
Age: 36

Imane JroundiImane Jroundi
City:  Rabat, Morocco
Languages: Arabic, French, English
Education: Diploma of Medicine (’07), Univ. Mohamed V, Rabat; MPH (Spain); Diploma of National Medicine Specialty (Social Medicine); Masters in Epidemiology & Clinical Methodology (France/distance learning), PhD in Medicine (International health), Univ. of Barcelona (in process)
Current Title and Place of Work:  Teacher/researcher; National Institute of Health Administration with Ministry of Health.  Investigates what are the most prevalent diseases among children 5 and under, and reports to Ministry for use in guiding policy decisions.  (Cites respiratory & diarrheal diseases.)
Current Responsibilities:  coordinates and teaches modules in such subjects as:  investigation of epidemic episode & epidemiology of infectious disease.  Supervises final thesis for students.   Also involved with national and international partners in research studies.  Duties also related to hospital based (nosocomial) infectious disease surveillance.
Motivation / Professional Interests / Other Notable Information: Interests are in epidemiology (particularly of infectious diseases), sanitation.   Issues / obstacles noted: cites lack of accurate epidemiological data on infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases, for implementation & evaluation of national health policies.  Project idea involves developing a strong yet simple surveillance system for infectious diseases among children in remote areas.  Dr Jroundi is strategically placed within the ministry to effect change.  She works primarily with a children’s hospital in Rabat, but also conducts studies in remote, rural areas, and is very familiar with the conditions faced there.  (Is interested in her fellowship including some time with the health department here in the U.S.) (No previous travel in US;  in Spain for 1 year for MPH studies; Belgium, 1 month for a course in management of infectious disease.)
Age:  37


Ahmed Hussein Ali, Legacy International participantAhmed Hussein Ali
City, Country: Cairo, Egypt
Languages: Arabic, English
Education: BSc in Pharmacy, Al Azhar University; Management Diploma (for NGOs), Cairo University (‘11)
Memberships and Volunteering: Founder/leader of sustainable health development team, a health initiative focusing on the youth sector in Egypt.
Current Title and Place of Work: Project Manager, Youth Association for Population & Development,(an Egyptian based NGO)
Current Responsibilities: project manager for counseling centers with “Step Towards Our Future” in partnership with UNICEF’s adolescence & HIV unit. Includes managerial and technical tasks for nine counseling centers covering nine governorates (“governates” = “states”). Activities include individual counseling, workshops and awareness campaigns on issues related to adolescence health. The number of people directly reporting to him: 27.
Motivation and Professional Interests: As a reproductive health trainer in the National Council of Childhood & Motherhood and a project manager of an awareness and capacity building program at a leading NGO, he works for not only raising awareness and delivering information but also changing attitudes in rural communities regarding reproductive health issues. He has also been involved with USAID health initiatives in Egypt. Of note, he coordinated a summer camp awareness program related to H1N1 and hepatitis with 6200 youths. He wants to create a project that focuses on female circumcision (FGM), beginning with intensive university based workshops to train others in FGM dangers, then reach out from this base.
Age: 25

Follow On Project“Raising Awareness of Hepatitis B/C”, Ahmed  Hussein (Cairo, Egypt)

This project aims to contact a minimum of 20 families in the garbage-collecting area of Cairo, where there is a high prevalence of Hepatitis B/C infection.  The garbage collectors area is a low-income area where many families work collecting, sorting and separating garbage entirely by hand. Many of them become infected through needles or other dangerous garbage. The project will provide those families with trusted information about infection control, proper nutrition for the hepatitis patient, how can the family cope, and how the patients can avoid spreading the infection. It will also offer voluntary screening and testing for families.

Amal_Shawky_Ali_AbdelkaderAmal Shawky Ali Abdelkader
City:  Baharia Oasis, Egypt
Education: MD
Current Title & Place of Work:  OB/GYN MD, Baharia Oasis, Six of October, private practice
Memberships & Volunteering: Founder, Baharia Oasis Women Development Organization, which aims to enhance women’s lives (health, education, work & community problems).  Offers training courses, helpings people with special needs.
Current Responsibilities:  OB/GYN, private clinic plus above volunteer efforts.  Health care in Baharia Oasis is “basics.”  (no blood bank, no anesthesia, no neonatal intensive care unit.) Hence, she has to focus her practice on early detection of risks so she has time to send patients to Cairo if need be, without risk of further complications or death during transport.  She also focuses a lot on practicing preventive medicine.
Motivation & Professional Interests: Notes deficiency of well trained leaders “which lead some times to bad management in health care units and hospitals. People don’t know how to develop their resources that lead to lack of services. Also they don’t follow up the plan of work by the feedback reports from the health team and the patients to know the strong and the weak points in our services and try to correct it….so as to not loose trust of the patients or the interest of the health team.”  Wants to gain skills on how to organize her time and ideas better, and more effectively communicate with people.
Age: 36

Follow On Project: Health Education: The Importance of Pre-Natal Care, Dr. Amal Shawky, Baharia (Egypt)

The goal of this project is to educate pregnant women in the small village of Baharia, and surrounding villages, about the importance of pre-natal care.  Objectives include: to develop a well trained medical team to continue the project; to increase the visits to the clinic to at least 5 visits in each pregnancy, to use these visits to educate each mother about health massages, to change the cultural attitudes of village women to understand the necessity for visiting the clinic even if she does not feel sick, and to create a new generation of women who have greater knowledge about the importance of the health education.

The project will develop training seminars to be presented to medical students, teachers, the mothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law and husbands. All will attend the same seminars.  Each seminar will be participatory and not a lecture, so the group is more comfortable. The audience will be free to ask questions, make suggestions or add comments.  A competition at the end to see who can give the correct answer about the subject of the seminar will be rewarded with some small gift, like a toothbrush.  A small brochure about pre-natal care will be developed and printed for handing out.

Objectives include:

  • Raise awareness of families in the concerned area through 2 public presentations.
  • Make a unique model that can be applied in a large scale all over Egypt.
  • Develop a team of volunteers to carry the message all over Egypt.
  • Encourage families to make a screening test (on both topics HBV/HCV) and take Viral Hepatitis B vaccination.
  • Educate patients about the risk of infection with HCV/HBV.
  • Provide hope for HCV/HBV, as well as breast cancer treatment and care.
  • Provide the families with information to take home through flyers and brochures, as well as about where to go for treatment and information on both topics.

Ahmed Helmy Said, Legacy International participantAhmed Helmy Said
City, Country: Aswan, Egypt
Languages: Arabic, English
Education: Physician; Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery, Tanta University
Memberships and Volunteering:  team member in Aswan Governate implementing family medicine & Total Quality Management standards in Aswan’s primary health care facilities. (“governates” = “states”) In this role he helps new physicians implement these health ministry standards and follow clinical guidelines in their practice and facility management.
Current Title and Place of Work: Manager, El-Karor Family Health Unit, Aswan; Coordinator of Aswan District for Family Health Program Implementation  (see above under memberships)
Current Responsibilities:  manages a primary care clinic, serving about 11,500 people.  It especially serves those with chronic diseases and provides maternal / child services.  14 people report to him.
Motivation and Professional Interests:  His efforts have upgraded health centers to full family health centers. He is genuinely committed to people in Aswan, even though this is not near his family’s home.  His work focuses on prenatal care, health communication, and chronic disease. He cites a keen need for more professional development among medical personnel.
Learning goals while in the US include: observing how primary care is delivered, especially in rural areas; models to provide better health services & how to manage a facility.  A more specific goal aims to learn new methods to improve prenatal care.
Age: 32

Follow On Project: “Increasing First Trimester Health Care”, Dr. Ahmed Helmy (Egypt)

The goal of this project is to increase by at least 10% the percentage of pregnant women in the govenorate (region) of Gharbia, Egypt, who seek preventive health care in their first trimester.  The current ratio of pregnant women who seek medical care during their first trimester may be as little as 0-25% in some areas in Egypt, while in USA for example, it is over 85%.

The project will address the health care providers and their coworkers in a way to increase their quality of service and as well as carry a message to the public about the services available in primary health care centers, the benefits of pregnancy follow up as early as possible specially in the first trimester, what are the risk factors during pregnancy and when should a pregnant women seek medical help.  The overarching goal is to decrease the fatality rate in newborns, complications during pregnancy.

Sarah Yousri, Legacy International NACHI participantSarah Yousri
City, Country:  Cairo, Egypt
Languages:  Arabic, English
Education:  Physician, Mansoursa Univ, ‘07
Memberships and Volunteering: volunteer experience through UK sponsored Global Exchange Program (in Egypt & UK)
Current Title and Place of Work:  physician, nephrology department, Sednawy Insurance Hospital
Current Responsibilities: clinical care, out-patient & in-patient, primarily in the dialysis unit Motivation and
Professional Interests: Recalls gaining significant personal and professional growth through the UK sponsored Global Exchange Program. Her current thinking regarding a follow-on project revolves around wanting to expand a breast cancer awareness campaign, which she originally piloted in Upper Egypt while volunteering with the Global Exchange Program. “I want the campaign to be more advanced with a good referral system to hospitals. Along with that by targeting women in such project we could have various women health awareness sessions on sexual health, child care, prenatal care, postpartum care etc. As a female doctor and someone who has lived in rural area I think I have the privilege of working in these areas specially that it has its own nature where it is sometimes hard for people to listen to outsiders. I am enthusiastic about this campaign because I have seen its rewarding results and sustainability being a part of the team when it was implemented in Assuit.”
Learning goals: Dr. Yousri hopes to learn different skills and methods by which she can provide health care providers with trainings on leadership skills, doctor-patient relationship, patient counseling etc. She is also interested in learning about the problems in the US health sector, and how they are being addressed.
Age: 26

Elia Boles, Legacy International NACHI participantElia Fares Anees Boles
City, Country: Assiut, Egypt
Languages: Arabic, English
Education: Physician, MS (Pediatrics, ‘09), University of Asyut; Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery, University of Asyut, ‘04
Memberships and Volunteering: Egyptian Pediatrics Association.  Volunteers with Bishopic of Abotig, Sedfa & El-Ghnaeem (part of Coptic Orthodox Church), providing various social, educational and medical services to the poor.
Current Title and Place of Work: Pediatric Assistant Specialist at Women & Children’s Hospital in Manflut (operated by the Ministry of Health, in rural Upper Egypt). Also operates a small clinic in his home town of Abotig. Current Responsibilities: In-patient and out-patient care in a hospital. The pediatric unit has 20 beds. The outpatient clinic sees about 150-200 patients each week. They have about 15-20 admissions/month for care in the unit’s incubators.
Motivation and Professional Interests:  Dr Boles is very accomplished academically. When he served as a fellow in the Pediatrics Dept at Asyut University, he excelled in teaching medical residents & students.  One issue cited in his essay questions on the application:  people lack confidence in government projects and distrust NGOs and their intentions (due to foreign funding, political and religious affiliations). Strong volunteer ethnic in upbringing. He sees the role religion and media needs to play in enhancing health awareness in communities, and has clear insights into possible solutions to improving rural health care.
Age: 28

Mary Samir, Legacy International NACHI participantMary Samir
City, Country: Cairo, Egypt
Languages: Arabic, English
Education:  Middle East School of Sexual Abuse Related Pastoral Counseling, (Sep. ‘09 until now); Church Counseling Institute, July 2008, Graduate of El Roda Council (Accounting)
Memberships and Volunteering: volunteers with Church Counseling Institute, Friends of the Environment & Development Association, and the Better World Foundation Current Title and Place of Work:  Administrative & Development Assistant, Caritas (an international NGO)
Current Responsibilities: Leads trainings and organizes workshops in reproductive health in and outside of Cairo, in a program funded through the Ford Foundation. (Is also in the midst of getting trained as a pastoral counselor for sexual abuse victims.)
Motivation and Professional Interests: Ms. Adly seeks skills to overcome cultural issues in educating youth and women about sexual health, reproductive rights, violence against women, hygiene, etc. She has taught classes all over the country, primarily Cairo and Upper Egypt.  She commented on how her training approaches differ when her audience is in Cairo vs. the more rural parts of Upper Egypt, and how difficult it can be to find a way to educate people about these issues. Learning goals:  she hopes to gain more knowledge about women’s health issues and learn new models for helping women dealing with difficult health related issues/family circumstances. She wants to “develop my skills regarding breaking cultural barriers and learn various methods to urge people to accept change, new ideas and overcome fear and embarrassment.”
Age: 26

Follow On Project: Because We Are Girls”; Mary Samir Adly
This project’s aim is to raise health awareness among teenage girls in Imbaba, a poor section of Cairo. Fifty girls between 17 -21 years old will be invited, in collaboration with the Orthodox Church Diocese. Lectures and seminars will be held with the target groups to tackle important, though often taboo, issues concerned with teenager girls’ health, including concepts of personal hygiene and cleanliness, health rights, handling teenage transitions in a healthy manner, awareness of sexually transmitted diseases, information about sexual abuse and how to protect themselves, and early marriage and its effect on girls’ health.  Follow up plans include home visits and arrangements for weekly SMS “health tips” to be texted to the participants.

Sondus Hassounah, Legacy International NACHI participantSondus Hassounah
City, Country: New Cairo, Egypt
Languages: Arabic, English
Education: Physician; BSc, Faculty of Medicine, University of Cairo (2007)
Memberships and Volunteering:  synchronized swimming judge (former coach and national swim team member)
Current Title and Place of Work: Associate Technical Officer, Family Health International, a US based international public health NGO. ( Current Responsibilities:  monitors and maintains FHI’s three Comprehensive Care Centers for HIV/AIDS harm reduction which targets the most at risk populations. The centers provide voluntary anonymous services:  risk reduction counseling and voluntary counseling & testing for HIV, basic clinical care for injecting drug users, clinical and nursing care for people living with HIV/AIDS, management of sexually transmitted inflections, peer education, one-on-one and group counseling amongst many more services. Motivation and Professional Interests:   She envisions working closely with Egyptian NGO’s, governmental health sector, and individuals, to build capacities to bridge the health deficiency gaps.  “I also plan to increase the young health professionals’ awareness on the critical integrity of incorporating the stream of health administration, awareness and harm reduction into their individual specialties as I believe it is integral for the overall comprehensive health service provided.” She gives priority to projects involving harm reduction, proper health policy planning and increase in health awareness. She also wants to address a broad base of health problems stretching from HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and TB to family planning, child health and healthy lifestyles. “I believe my experience in the U.S. will help me focus on public health and development in a practical approach which will help me advance on the technical level as well as on the administrative and management levels.” (previous US tourist travel; extended family in California.)
Age: 27

Follow On Project: “HIV/AIDS Information Website; Dr. Sondus Hassounah
A website is being created to provide trusted and applicable information appropriate to an Egyptian audience regarding HIV/AIDS.  The overall goal is to establish an online hub for communication, information and links to services for people affected by and/or infected with HIV/AIDS in Egypt. Research reveals there is not a single website addressing HIV from a service and information-providing perspective in Egypt. The National AIDS program has no database on the web to provide its patients with up-to-date information on testing services, drugs, etc.

Legacy International participantAhmad Samir AlFaar
City:  Cairo, Egypt
Education: MD, Cairo University, also medical informatics diploma, Halwan Univ. (specialty – ophthalmology; eye tumors)
Current Title & Place of Work:  MD, Clinical Research Coordinator; Ophthalmologist, Children’s Cancer Hospital #57357 (considered a very prestigious hospital in Egypt)
Motivation & Professional Interests: Current focus is on research related to retinoblastoma. Wants to develop an early detection program, integrated with a vaccine, to prevent this childhood eye cancer. Has extensive experience using web base technologies for learning.  Has been exposed to telemedicine and is currently working on setting up their first satellite hospital in the delta region of Egypt using telemedicine, to reach the rural population in northern Egypt. Has studied clinical research methodologies at Harvard for 9 months (distance learning); is being sponsored for further distance learning at the Univ. of Cardiff in UK in the near future. Details on his background at:
Age: 28

Follow On Project: Egyptian Health Awareness Network / Child Health Awareness Project (described below)

Legacy Community Health participantRania El-Kaffas
City: Giza, Egypt
Education: MD, Pediatrician (Cairo Univ., ’03) (subspecialty – cardiology)
Current Title & Place of Work:  Assistant Lecturer, Cairo University
Memberships & Volunteering: volunteers with “medical convoys”
Current Responsibilities: Works in a public charity hospital, treating children.  Also teaches graduate and post graduate students. She sees about 150-250 patients/week in the outpatient clinic alone.
Motivation & Professional Interests: feels community needs more health education on a regular basis in order to change the beliefs of people. “This problem of inadequate education not only faces poor people but also many people can afford healthy life but they don’t know how. Offer proper education and providing facilities to practice this education is the mile stone of solving health problems in my country. My way of solving this is to join convoys to far places that lack preference and provide proper education to make sure they are practicing it…”
Age: 31

Follow On Project: Egyptian Health Awareness Network / Child Health Awareness Project (described below)

Legacy International Community Health participantRodina Sobhi
City:  Cairo, Egypt
Education: MB.BCh, Cairo Univ., (‘01), MA, Pediatrics, Cairo Univ., (‘06), MD, ‘08
Current Title and Place of Work:  Asst. Lecturer of Pediatrics, Pediatric Cardiology, Cairo University Specialized Children’s Hospital
Memberships and Volunteering: Egyptian Lactation Consulting Assoc., International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
Current Responsibilities: Teaching undergraduates, providing medical care (pediatrics and cardiology clinics), managing patient advice about breastfeeding, gives lectures for the IBCLA program. Part of infection control team at hospital.  Volunteers in Resala Charity Hospital.
Motivation and Professional Interests: Notes challenges centralization of health services creates in medical system.  Would like to see university hospitals specialize more so as to better serve critical patients.  Project ideas involve education related to infant nutrition, hygiene & neonatal resuscitation.
Age: 33

Follow On Project: Egyptian Health Awareness Network / Child Health Awareness Project (described below)

Legacy International Community Health participantSalma Ibrahim
City:  Cairo, Egypt
Education: Certificate, shelter management “protecting victims”, Certificate: BS in Dentistry (‘07), Ain Shams Univ. (‘07)
Title & Place of Work (at time of visit to US, has a new job now with Red Crescent):  Hotline Operator with Family Counseling Hotline, Ministry of State for Family & Population; also a “dental operator” in private clinic (part time)
Memberships & Volunteering: Red Crescent volunteer (primarily works in program related to disaster management, also works with campaigns related to “family empowerment” and infection control.)
Responsibilities: Hotline operator in the family planning project (Anti Human Trafficking Unit) Worked to prevent human trafficking and child marriage.
Motivation & Professional Interests: Writes about Egyptian attitudes about destiny, personal actions and consequences, and how this affects behavior that make it challenging to teach people healthy behaviors.   One of the most critical issues she would like to address relates to the lack of safe drinking water and sewage systems in rural areas.  Salma has high aspirations and hopes one day to be a minister or work with the WHO.
Age: 27

Follow On Project: Egyptian Health Awareness Network / Child Health Awareness Project (described below)

Legacy International Community Health participantWessam Mankoula
City:  Giza, Egypt
Education: MBBCh, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta Univ. (‘07); Field of Epidemiological Training Program (FETP) student 2010-2011 (an applied epidemiology program offered in Egypt by the CDC/Atlanta)
Current Title & Place of Work:  MD / epidemiologist with the Ministry of Health, in the Epidemiology & Surveillance Unit/Preventative Sector (ESU)
Memberships & Volunteering: volunteer in Ministry of State for Family & Population, and Establishing Our Youth Initiative
Current Responsibilities: With ESU, Dr Mankoula conducts field research, assist in outbreak investigations, and data analysis. Prior to this he worked in primary care clinic in Damietta. Trainer for “Friends of Family” project, which impacts health by targeting the friends and family of patients, including education around reproductive health, family planning & population issues.
Motivation & Professional Interests He is interested in reducing hepatitis C infection (HCV). female circumcision, HIV/AIDS, breast health and milk safety.  He has also volunteered in an anti-human trafficking unit. He would like to learn about effective messaging in the U.S., how to address barriers to getting patients to do what is in their best interests, and do research about the significance of each barrier. This includes cultural, religious, and economic factors.
Age: 26

Follow On Project: Egyptian Health Awareness Network / Child Health Awareness Project

  • Rodina Sobhi, MBBCh (MD), MSc, MD Pediatrician, Cairo University Children’s Hospitals
    Lecturer of Pediatrics, Cairo University School of Medicine
  • Rania El-Kaffas, MBBCh (MD), MSc, MD Pediatrician, Cairo University Children’s Hospitals
    Lecturer of Pediatrics, Cairo University School of Medicine
  • Salma Ibrahim,  Dentist, Ministry of Family and Population
  • Wessam Mankoula, MBBCh (MD) Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health
  • Ahmad Samir,  MBBCh (MD) Ophthalmologist Clinical Research Specialist, Children’s Cancer Hospital 57357

The goal of this network is to integrate and coordinate efforts to increase the awareness of healthcare problems, and maximize the benefit from the available resources. Each coordinator will be responsible for delivery of the network messages through one certain delivery route, and the formulation of one health message each that will be shared between all delivery routes.  There are two main projects or areas of focus in this effort:  the Children’s Cancer Awareness Project, and the Dental Awareness Project.

Children’s Cancer Awareness: This effort will promote screening and early detection of Retinoblastoma (Childhood Eye Cancer), and integration with the well-established existing vaccination program.  The plan is to develop a simple screening method that could be utilized at existing vaccination centers which already serve large numbers of children.  If successful, this same method can later include screenings for different types of other illnesses.

Dental Awareness Project:  This effort will teach children living in orphanages how to care for their teeth, as well as educate their caregivers about good  dental care and the primary signs of tooth decay, so the children can be treated in the early stages. In addition to tooth brushing methods,  children will learn about diet and healthy food choices to avoid dental caries. The target audience will be children from 6-9 years old.  They will be shown videos about how caries attack teeth, what dentist does to remove that caries. They will also be able to practice brushing on models of teeth. The goal is to train 50 children in good dental care.

In addition to the above projects, objectives include:

  • Starting a health information center in the children’s hospital of Cairo University  to continually provide health education for parents & children visiting the outpatient clinics for  3 months (15/11/2011-15/2/2012), using the help of volunteer house officer teams & part-time paid nurses.
  • Providing LCD screens in the waiting area of the outpatient clinics of the children’s hospital of Cairo University to act as fixed stations providing health messages for children & parents while waiting for their health services.
  • Training of  trainers: training courses for the volunteer house officers of Cairo University children’s hospital  every 2 months, and also training of doctors in distant & rural areas during convoys ( which are set about 3 times/year) on how to deliver health education.
  • Sharing in & holding social events for children & parents to raise the health awareness with specific emphasis on a certain subject in each event (sex; oral hygiene, hand washing, healthy nutrition, etc).
  • Raising awareness of 180 students (5-11 years old) about the specified health messages by training three teams each from three schools (total 18 students, three teachers and three health care workers) on delivering the health messages. Providing 4 morning radio programs / month (1 / week); Peer-to-peer health education (10 by each student); 10 minutes talk in-between the classes; then conducting a survey about the practices change.