Research Published in Yale Journal of Medicine
Jan 28, 2011Children play barefoot in a village in Manikganj, Bangladesh. Their shoes, for the ones who own them, sit inside their dwellings, prized possessions to be worn for school and other special occasions.
While this may seem like child’s play, these children’s bare soles are vulnerable to hookworm every time their feet touch the soil. This is one of the many reasons that Dr. Jennifer Bath and her team of five student researchers traveled to Bangladesh in partnership with Independent University, Bangladesh in 2010.
They conducted surveys of the Bangladeshi people to find out what they knew about intestinal parasites and what steps they were taking to prevent them. The results were notable enough to be published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.
“They know about worms, but it’s hard for them to take the right steps,” says Peace Eneh ’11, Nigeria, who was one of the student researchers.
While many would argue that shoes, education or medicine are the answers, none of these provides a long-term solution.
“The drugs free them from parasites, but the re-infection rate is phenomenal,” says researcher, Jarryd Campbell ’11, Hutchinson, Minn.
All of the student researchers worked on hookworm vaccines in the lab with Bath, so to interact with the people who could benefit from their work put value on their efforts.
“Vaccines don’t have to change whole cultures,” says Eneh. “We can help them keep their culture and protect them against deadly parasites.”
Both Eneh and Campbell are pursuing further education after Concordia. Eneh is enrolled in medical school, and Campbell is pursuing his doctorate. They both know that global health will be a focus in their future plans.
Already they have a jump-start on the competition with the publication of the group’s research. Not only that, but being published in a public journal helps raise awareness about global diseases like hookworm.
“Every additional organization we have contact with offers tangible hope,” says Bath.