Last week you may remember that I shared that I still hadn't started data collection for my project... You may also remember that I was scheduled to go to to the Magomeni clinic on Thursday. And I did... go to Magomeni but was still unable to collect anything.

First off, getting to Magomeni was a journey in itself. Khadija and I were going to take the bus but realized as we were walking to the bus station from Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) that Khadija's phone was still at ORCI, and we turned around to get it. Normally, it would have been fine to go without the phone BUT since Khadija has been my liaison to the nurses at Magomeni, it was pretty important that she was able to reach the nurse in the case that we were running or late or something like that.... It was a good thing we did! We were scheduled to leave ORCI around 12:00PM and arrive at Magomeni at 1:00PM. We ended up getting there around 2:30PM, aside from forgetting the phone, we got lost, were stuck in traffic, and wrongfully almost towed. Once we finally got to the clinic we learned that the nurse, Sister Alice, was not clear as to why we were there due to some miscommunication between the supervisors at ORCI and Magomeni. She seemed pretty nervous and did not allow me to look at their logbook to pull my sample. However, I was able to give Sister Alice copies of my questionnaire, recruitment, and consent scripts for her to review. As a result, I was told I could come back on Friday with my preceptor to make up for not getting much accomplished on Thursday. Long story short, we did not go but I was told we’d go on Monday. 

Yesterday (Monday), I printed a few copies of my questionnaire and consent forms and I typed up a list of patient phone numbers that I would use to build my sample from the Magomeni clinic. Last years' CEESP fellow could not use names in her data collection (for IRB-related reasons), therefore the identifiers she used were the patients' phone numbers and the month and year of their cervical screening. So I had to sift through the Magomeni logbooks month by month and match patient names to their phone number. Sounds tedious right?? It actually wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. In about an hour and a half I matched about half of my participants (I should be returning tomorrow to finish matching my sample).

I SAY ALL OF THIS TO SAY, that today, I was paired with a trained sociologist, Sister Flora and we ran a pilot test of the questionnaire and conducted FOUR interviews.  The questionnaire worked well!!! All I need to do is make a few minor changes to my recruitment script and we are all set!! As you can imagine, I. AM. PUMPED!!! BUT in just four interviews I heard A LOT. They were very heavy, emotional conversations and the results so far are so alarming. :'(

I wish I could share more, but that’s why we have journal articles and manuscripts. =P

Next steps:

  • Obtain the rest of my Magomeni sample
  • Start putting together my Temeke sample
  • Recruit
  • Interview! Interview! Interview!


Great way to close out my first month in Tanzania!