Over this summer, I developed a codebook to analyze thirty transcripts on maternal depression and knowledge and behaviors associated with anemia, malaria, and helminth infection among women and children. Additionally, I have learned to use a new qualitative analysis software, Dedoose, to facilitate the analysis process. Through my practicum, I have further developed my qualitative analysis skills and acquired new tools to expand my research scope. Focusing on the experiences of women during their maternal health period has also allowed me to gain a more nuanced understanding of maternal health challenges associated with infectious diseases and mental health. I hope to further these insights in future projects on maternal health, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa. Through my data analysis, I have also gained insight into social and structural factors that impact adherence to treatment plans and health promotion, such as challenges with the affordability of treatment and lack of knowledge surrounding treatment options.
This practicum experience has been incredibly rewarding and informative and has set me on a path toward further exploring maternal and child health!
I start my mornings by opening my laptop and heading to Zoom. Ready to meet with my team in Paris from my desk in Raleigh.
I am completing my practicum with a team from UNC and the École des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique (School of Advanced Studies in Public Health). Together, we are working on a qualitative sub-study based in a semi-rural area of Benin. This project branched from a previous randomized-control trial in Benin, comparing the efficacy of two prophylaxis options for pregnant women. Additionally, previous work from the team revealed a high prevalence of anemia among pregnant women in their second and third trimesters. These studies raised several questions regarding iron supplementation efforts in this population, especially as iron deficiency is the leading cause of anemia. There is a gap in the literature on effective iron supplementation methods in malaria-endemic areas, especially as the WHO recommends conducting parallel efforts in malaria and anemia prevention in these areas.
This summer, I am analyzing interview transcripts from women in Benin on their experiences with malaria, anemia, and helminth infections. The project has three main goals: (1) to identify women’s knowledge and perceptions of anemia and iron supplementation for themselves and their children, (2) to examine factors that impact adherence to iron supplementation, and (3) to identify potential strategies for iron supplementation in Benin. I am currently developing a codebook before jumping into the analysis and producing a summary report.
With this practicum, I am working to continue to develop my qualitative analysis skills and explore maternal health challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, I am excited to learn from the team of researchers I am partnered with at both UNC and the École des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique (remotely). Overall, I am looking forward to deepening my understanding of structural and social factors that impact adherence to treatment plans and health promotion. I am excited to see where the next few weeks take me!