Students Develop AIDS Training for Swaziland

Published on 01 August 2014

Fifth-year students Callie Stoner and Lauren Owens have developed an AIDS drug treatment and prevention training program that they hope will have a lasting impact on the people of Swaziland, Africa. According to the World Health Organization, Swaziland, a small landlocked country in southeastern Africa, has the world’s highest prevalence of AIDS and its lowest life expectancy at 49 years of age.

Stoner and Owens have been developing the program, with help from Ken Schafermeyer, Director, Office of International Programs, since September. They will travel to Swaziland on May 16 to train two entry-level health workers at St. Philip’s Clinic in the Lubombo District of the country for eight weeks using the training program, which includes anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and therapeutics lessons.  

“The program will help the health workers learn how to manage the different side effects of the AIDS medications, how to properly take the medications, what to expect with them, and the importance of taking them as directed so that patients do not develop a resistance,” Owens says.

Instead of using reference books or handouts to train the health workers, Stoner and Owens will use a pair of Android tablet devices with the training program uploaded to them. Once the training is complete, they will donate the tablets to the clinic.

Schafermeyer says the tablets will help improve access to AIDS treatment information in this rural, remote region of Swaziland. “All training materials will be provided on Android tablet devices that can be left for future reference and training and will be updated periodically via SD card,” Schafermeyer says. “The high cost of reference books, lack of access to the internet, and the high costs of printing and photocopying materials has been a challenge to health care workers in Swaziland. The tablets help overcome this obstacle by providing access to more learning resources, including reference books, manuals, instructional materials, workbooks and practice problems that can easily be updated with the use of inexpensive SD cards.”

The College’s International Student Organization (ISO) purchased the tablets for St. Philip’s Clinic using proceeds from this year’s ISO Night. Sapna Shah, fourth-year student and co-president of ISO, says the student organization was happy to donate their proceeds to purchase the tablets. “ISO aims to advocate internationalization of pharmacy and awareness of not only pharmacy, but all aspects of health care around the world,” she says. “ISO picks a charity or a cause to donate funds raised from ISO Night every year.” 

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