Wayne State University

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GlobeMed at Wayne State helps Ugandan children receive proper nutrition

November 15, 2013

A group of Wayne State undergraduates with a commitment to global health equity are helping to eliminate malnutrition in Uganda through their work with GlobeMed, a national nonprofit that partners students at university-based chapters throughout the U.S. with grassroots health organizations in the developing world.

As a network of 55 universities, GlobeMed has raised close to $1,000,000 for community-based projects since its national founding in 2006 at Northwestern University. Established in 2011, the WSU chapter of GlobeMed partners with KIHEFO Nutrition Rehabilitation Center in the East African nation’s Kabale District to improve the health of malnourished children.  The chapter’s 25 members raise funds to benefit the center and send delegations to the East African country each summer to assist with research and capacity building.

On Nov. 11, the WSU GlobeMed chapter invited Geoffrey Anguyo, M.D., president and founder of Kigezi Healthcare Foundation (KIHEFO), to deliver a talk at the university’s Community Arts Auditorium. Dr. Anguyo, who is raising awareness about KIHEFO through a multi-city tour of the United States and Canada, described founding the nonprofit in 2001 in response to the dire poverty, disease and lack of education afflicting the area. In addition to the nutrition center, KIHEFO operates a general clinic, a dental clinic, an HIV/AIDS clinic, services for orphans and vulnerable children, and maternal health services. Dr. Anguyo was introduced by Michael Wright, chief of staff to WSU President M. Roy Wilson, who has affirmed Wayne State’s commitment to international collaboration since taking office in August.

Ani Mannari, a junior majoring in chemical engineering who founded GlobeMed at Wayne State and serves as co-president, said students interested in joining the university’s chapter are carefully vetted. They must make a significant time commitment, as members meet weekly for formal lessons on global health or community building topics, and they must embrace the idea of health as a human right.

“We seek students who bring an open mind, are ready to challenge others, and bring their boldest ideas to the table,” Mannari said. “When you have committed people you have committed goals, which leads to committed partnerships, which leads to tangible impacts on the ground.”

Mannari should know, having traveled to Kabale this summer with five other members of GlobeMed at Wayne State. While there, the delegation visited a half dozen villages, interviewing families about their water resources and about their health experiences before and after receiving assistance from the nutrition center. The Wayne State group also provided computer literacy to nutrition center staffers to help them sort data, which Mannari said is critical for discerning health conditions and improving service delivery.

GlobeMed at Wayne State members typically pay their own way on these trips, Mannari said, although assistance is sometimes available. According to Mannari, the national GlobeMed office, located in Evanston, Ill., has strong partnerships with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Public Health Institute. The USAID has a grant program called Global Health Fellows Program that has given nearly $300,000 to GlobeMed students for their international internships.

KIHEFO founder Anguyo expressed pleasure at visiting Wayne State for the first time, saying that KIHEFO’s partnering with the university through GlobeMed “was the first time we’d gotten high-profile university involvement.” He said he hopes to make routine trips to Detroit.

“I want Wayne State to be like my home,” Anguyo said. 

More information on GlobeMed at Wayne State is available at http://globemed.org/impact/waynestate/. Donations to support the chapter’s work with KIHEFO Nutrition Rehabilitation Center can be made at givingtuesday.razoo.com/story/Kihefonutrition