One of the things I’ve always loved most about travelling is meeting people and listening to their stories. I guess it’s the journalist in me but some of my best memories of my trips are the characters I met along the way.
During my 30b430 trip in China, as a result of my work with Kaifeng School for the Deaf, I was taken to meet the families of some of the pupils at the school and their stories really brought home to me how important the school was and what a life-changing difference it made to those children. I have always believed that nothing raises awareness about an issue better than the personal stories of those affected by it.
I therefore feel very lucky to have been selected by the International Reporting Project as one of ten new media journalists to report on global health in Zambia.
I’ll be visiting the country in July and the aim of the trip is to focus on the issues of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. During our ten days in the country we will visit urban and rural sites to examine mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the high rates of HIV/TB co-infection and the challenges of drug delivery in rural areas. We will look at drug resistance issues, the use of bed nets and other low-cost solutions to malaria and malaria during pregnancy.
The visit will also allow us to investigate the use of technology in healthcare and social and environmental factors – for example, gender-based violence and concurrent sexual partnerships – that exacerbate the spread of these diseases.
I hope that you will follow me on this journey – I’ll be blogging and tweeting using the hashtag #ZambiaHealth – and that I will be able to help raise awareness of these vitally important issues.
Support for the International Reporting Project (IRP) is provided by foundations, individuals and nongovernmental donors. The program is based in Washington at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).