Dadamac and People's Uni have joined forces to develop a Sickle Cell Disease course. This is coming about in typical Dadamac "responding to need" fashion. The description below serves two purposes. It introduces the way things happen in Dadamac. It provides possible collaborators with an idea of where we are now and the steps we are taking.
- There is a need (in this instance the need is to provide support for Sickle Cell Disease sufferers in and around Fantsuam)
- Someone in Dadamac wants to do something about it (in Nigeria John Dada wants to respond by running a cliniic - and will need to train local health workers about Sickle Cell Disease)
- Someone "on the other side of Dadamac" gets interested (For SCD this is Nikki in UK, who used to be a nurse)
- Now we have the two necessary champions for this idea (one in UK and one in Nigeria) and that is the essential core of a Special Interest Group
- The topic gets added to the agendas for our weekly UK-Nigeria meetings (John and Nikki give updates on what they are doing/planning to do)
- We start to mention it openly (Nikki includes it in her blogs about our meetings Sickle Cell Disease in Rural Nigeria and Sickle Cell Disease - Global awareness day)
- We wonder how to move things on... who else do we know who might be interested?
- An "Aha! moment" comes regarding collaboration ("Why don't we ask Dick Heller if he'd consider presenting a SCD course at People's Uni?")
- The collaboration starts (Dick sets up a course development template at People's Uni)
- We start to put the word out to see if we can move things on (Three health professional who are ex-students say they will help with course content)
- It seems that the little Special Interest Group is growing into an Action Group (But we don't have all we need yet for action - we'll need expertise in course development for a start.)
- We realise that this is another of our ideas that we do need to pursue, and given we have no funds or anything wonder how best to proceed (so we are back to step 7 again... and I am writing this blog as a possible way of moving things on)
Continuing and completing
The next steps we take depend on the energy and resources we can attract and devote to this project. It may be one of projects that go forward in slow small steps or it may be one that gets speeded up with an injection of external support. Development of the Sickle Cell Disease course is only one of many "good ideas that need to be implemented". We have yet to find the best way to attract collaborators and tap into external resources that would help us to move things forward more quickly and effectively.
Although this particular Special Interest Group (SIG) began in Nigeria it is equally possible for a SIG to start from an idea or interest on the UK side. However it only becomes a SIG (rather than an idea) when it has found a champion on both sides of the UK-Africa connection (and that is something that Dadamac helps to make happen).
John Dada (in his Fantsuam Foundation role) wrote this for the Fantsuam Foundation team:
"Fantsuam Foundation established the first Nigerian rural Sickle Cell Support Group about 5 years ago. We now are trying to add some value to the Group meetings through monthly health talks and provision of treatment at the Fantsuam clinic. We have procured some Penicillin V, folic acid, paracetamol for this purpose. We are now looking at how and when to start a Specialist Rural Sickle Cell Clinic in Kafanchan.
In addition, we are working on a baseline research with the London Sickle Cell Focus Group as well as Michigan State University: this is an 18month project which will ensure that we have relevant data on which to base our interventions and also increase our visibility as we start our new efforts."
John also pointed to the blogs Nikki has written. He explained about the SCD course and what we are doing on course development at present:
"We are now looking at defining who should be the target group for this course. before we start looking at the course goals and content. I am certainly going to register for the course, and three other staff of FF have also indicated interest"
The ongoing story
There will be more at dadamac.net about this story as it unfolds. If you want to get involved please add a comment below or email me.