Day 1 Drove down to the Save DC office and participated in an 8 am Malaria conference call. Interesting as I have been working on the GSK malaria vaccine trials. A different side of the coin. What they are doing in some of the African countries are treating the children with approved medication regardless of a confirmed infection. The same method they use for treating intestinal parasites. There are a huge range of issues to think about. The biggest issue is that all these “extras” takes away from the teaching time. Also teachers need to be trained. It is interesting that these teachers are treating children, undiagnosed, with some heavy duty mediation. Of note there are a wide range of approvals that are obtained. Central government, local government, parents and ethics committees. Compare that with parents here in the USA getting worked up if a teacher gives their child an aspirin.
Later in the day, met a number of other Save staff members. Did some reading and then met Brad from the Westport office. I will be working a lot with him. Brad, Seung and I went and grabbed some lunch and talked about how the next six months would play out. After lunch Brad and I walked to the Woodrow Wilson building for a USAID meeting about trying to prevent child marriage. Sad, inspiring and educational all in the span of 2 hours. The most interesting part – the Q and A session. A Kenya woman asks the following question – “Why don’t we all just call it what it is – Child rape. A few thoughts – how about because the NGOs would be kicked out the country and then were does that leave the girls? But it also hit close to home as sometime I am too literal and need to work on being a bit more subtle. Also it is very easy to use Western values on everything. One thing that I never thought about is this…the girl’s Dad, in general, doesn’t think he is doing something wrong and actually he thinks he is doing the right thing. He is worried about his daughter and doesn’t want her to be kidnapped, assaulted or worse. It is all about breaking the cycle. Very interesting meeting.
Day 2 – Off to the Bolger center for a Save meeting with people from El Salvador, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Nepal and Egypt. Great group of people. We talked about the “Choices” program that Save the Children does – check out the link –
The Nepalese have had great success and were instructing the South American countries on their ups and downs. Also had a great discussion about the differences in helping girls in Egypt (after marriage they literally go behind a wall at home and are never seen again) to Ethiopia where they are still in the community. There was talk about enforcing existing laws which I found interesting and naïve. I mean law enforcement in these countries isn’t like the US. You can ‘t just call the police because it isn’t like there are officers on routine patrol and most of them are on take anyway. What do I know.
Wednesday – at home reading reading reading.
Thursday – Metro’ed down to Georgetown to the embassy of Sweden for a day long meeting on Very Young Adolescents. This is what I will be working on. The same cast of characters from this week. People from Save, USAID, Georgetown. Also met people from the UN and WHO. Again great meeting and a whole world that I never new existed. Had a side meeting with USAID and WHO people. They wanted to know how GSK could help them. I was flattered and gave them some general advice. One thing I learned – GSK (private sector) has limited idea what WHO (or any NGO for that matter) does day to day and WHO has no idea what GSK (or any private sector firm) does day to day. There is a huge opportunity to work together and help each other. That is another rant for another day.
Friday – home and more reading.
Can’t wait for Monday.