Archive for 'News'

T. cruzi, the nasty behind Chagas. Over 6 million have it, but it's hardly talked about.

Throughout the week, I’ve continued working through all the parasites with the wonderful team of staff. They’ve really made me feel at home, offering me cups of (unbelievably good) Sri Lankan tea, welcoming all my questions, and giving up a lot of time to teach and help me. Dr Ranasinghe was incredibly supportive and happy to answer all my newbie parasitologist questions, and I’ve learned an enormous amount. I have a side interest in tropical and neglected medical illnesses from following Médecins sans frontières (Doctors without Borders) missions over the years, and a highlight for me has been squeezing in time to go through their international samples and see some of the exotic parasites I’d read about that. Two that caught my eye were the parasites behind African sleeping sickness and Chagas diseases, Trypanosoma brucei and Trypanosoma cruzi respectively. › Continue reading…


Three: හරි හරී

Don't move a muscle. They haven't seen me.

Day Two at the Anti-Filariasis/Anti-Malaria combined Units in Werahara, this time here for a presentation on malaria. Given that it’s a disease still killing 400,000 people worldwide each year, malaria is something we hardly think about in New Zealand. When was the last time I got worried about being bitten by a mosquito?

I knew a few basics going in, but there were a lot of details to sink my teeth into. Malaria is caused not by one but by five different species of Plasmodium parasites, which primarily attack the red blood cells. The life cycle, drug resistance and treatment protocol, and disease prognosis varies between each species. › Continue reading…


Two: මගේ නම කැම්

The bus doors never close. I decided against leaning out for a better look.

Next stop: the Anti-Filariasis and Anti-Malaria Unit! Time to start finding my way around. Something that fascinates me when I travel is seeing how local transport systems work. It might sound far removed from medicine, but commuting is something that almost every person does on a daily basis. It’s also necessary for patients accessing medical services, and may be limited by poverty, disability, or other factors. Is transport affordable for all, or do those without good jobs have to walk? Could I get to the hospital on crutches, or in a wheelchair? Do people wear seatbelts here? I love trying to break down a new environment and try to figure out how it interacts with the wellbeing of its people. I always insist that I want to work directly with patients, and I get chills when I realise there’s a public health passion in there somewhere beckoning me to the dark side of academia. Horrifying. › Continue reading…


One: ආයුබෝවන්!

Welcome to Colombo!

Touchdown, and the journey here feels like a story on its own. It took me 33 hours in total by the time I outlasted my many connections and layovers. Singapore was full of heat sensors throughout the airport, and it seems like this coronavirus threat is starting to increase. Stepping off the plane, everyone had a mask on.

The wave of heat descends on you walking through the terminal at Bandaranaike International. I couldn’t help but smile despite feeling the sweat bead on my forehead. Having grown up in Asia as a kid, it felt more like home than anything. But that was a long time ago, and I knew I was in for a little culture shock regardless. › Continue reading…

Cameron Toogood has been announced as the 2019/2020 recipient of the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Travelling Scholarship by Sue Farry on behalf of the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust’s trustees.

The scholarship is worth $5,000 and will assist Cameron with costs associated with undertaking trainee intern electives in innovative and challenging overseas situations next year. Cameron will be travelling to Colombo, Sri Lanka and Darwin, Australia. › Continue reading…

The Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust has announced application details for its Travelling Scholarship for 2019/20. The annual Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Travelling Scholarship awards up to $5,000.00 to one recipient. The scholarship aims to assist a medical student to travel internationally to a rural situation to observe new concepts, develop their own skills and share their learning with other students when they return.

› Continue reading…

Annelise Brown

A day at the medical centre

My time in Guatamala is coming to an end now; my Spanish has improved, I have become part of the local football team and my days at the medical centre have been varied and very different from New Zealand.
Each day brings something new. Most days I take consultations, examine the patient and provide basic treatment where necessary.

› Continue reading…

Annelise Brown

Introductions & hablas español?

I am living in Boloncó, a small village in the Alta Verapaz region. This region is known to be the poorest, and also the most dangerous region in Guatemala. The latter I have not experienced as of yet. The people here are beautiful; they are welcoming and kind. The closest town is Fray Bartalomé de las Casas, a 50 minute drive along a bumpy ‘road’. The area has a tropical rainforest climate and much of its economy has been built on the cultivation of palm oil. Much to my excitement, it is also well known for cacao and coffee plantations.
› Continue reading…

Annelise Brown

Guatemala: First Impressions

My first impression of Guatemala was a good one. It is a beautiful country; it is mountainous, with terraced hills, numerous looming volcanoes, and diverse forests. Traffic is busy and chaotic, people are everywhere and food stalls; notably fruit, line the roadside. Churches stand tall in every town, Catholicism being the main religion here. And of course, a town is not complete without a football field, even if it does consist of a dirt patch with makeshift goals at times. I was looking forward to getting out the small football I carry with me everywhere when I travel. › Continue reading…

One of my favourite Spanish quotes is “Ponte Las Pilas”, which literally translates to “put in your batteries” and is akin to the English saying, “put your skates on and get cracking!”. It perfectly describes the first few weeks of my time in Trujillo, Peru. There has been no rest for the wicked and I have loved every moment of it.

› Continue reading…

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