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Global Health Education Student Experiences Christiana Obeng

A breastfeeding workshop in Lesotho, part of Christiana Obeng's Global Health experience

Download Christiana's Discovery Day research poster [PDF]

The Dornsife Global Development Scholarship was a formative internship for me. I did not know what to expect when I learned that I would be spending six weeks in Lesotho. I did not know much about the people or their culture, nor did I know how well I would be able to weave myself into their culture during my time there. However, my ignorance about the Basotho culture was to my benefit. It allowed me to travel there with little-to-no preconceptions or expectations. It pushed me to ask genuine questions to learn about their lives, instead of assuming wrongly. I learned quickly to put off the “tourist from the U.S.” mentality, in order to make myself approachable by my coworkers and neighbors. This new attitude helped me tremendously because it allowed people around me, both coworkers and neighbors, to inform or warn me, whenever necessary, of appropriate cultural norms or even how to use the amenities in the community.

Sanitary conditions around used tap water posts, part of Christiana Obeng's Global Health experience
Sanitary conditions around used tap water posts

The goal of my project in Lesotho was to determine the impact of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects done by World Vision, on the disease burden in Berea District. To achieve this, I was tasked with visiting the villages affiliated with World Vision to see how WASH workshops were conducted and to assess the effectiveness of these workshops through conversations with the health committee leaders, schoolteachers and town chiefs. I was also required to visit health clinics in these villages to record the number of diarrhea incidences since 2016 and compare this data with diarrhea incidences in villages that are not affiliated with World Vision.

My stay in Lesotho was worthwhile. Although we were time-constrained because of some delays in reaching the appropriate authorities to get permission to access data, we were still able to get some data before the end of my stay. I was exposed to the dire public health needs of underserved communities, and I felt a rekindling of my passion to serve the underprivileged. I hope to fuel my medical training with this passion, and to give back to such communities both in the U.S. and abroad.

Christiana Obeng during her Global Health experience in Lesotho  Committee Health Leaders, Chief of Ha Senekane, Christiana Obeng and an interpreter

Christiana Obeng presenting at the 13th Annual Drexel Student Conference on Global Challenges

Christiana gave an oral presented about her time in Lesotho at Drexel's 13th Annual Drexel Student Conference on Global Challenges on February 27.

Her talk was titled “Sustainability of WASH Infrastructure in Lesotho: Observations of Attitudes of the Basotho and their Impact on Project Longevity.” View a recording of the conference.