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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Health report

Submitted by Michaela Sholes

I wish I could love statistics…I really do. I see the practicality in them and I understand how useful they are for telling us things about the work that we did…but quite frankly, math and I just aren’t friends. I’m a people person, I like talking to people, I like brain-storming with them to find viable solutions to whatever their frustration/challenge is…and I understand the numbers well enough to get the gist of what they’re telling me…but yeah, you get the idea.

So…all that griping just to say…the last few weeks have been spent reaching back to my Stats classes at UAB to try to remember how to run the data that we collected while on the Yapei Queen so that we can make heads and tails of all that talking I..I mean they…did. Anyway, after much ado and more than a few cups of coffee…the results are in!
For the sake of simplicity, I’ve only included in this blog the highlights of some of the comparisons we did. However, if you’re interested in the full report, just email me and I will be glad to share!

General Demographics:
  • Both men and women were likely to speak at least 2 languages (90%). The primary languages spoken were Ewe and Konkomba. None of the female Ghanaians spoke English.
  • Women were slightly less likely (75%) to be illiterate than men (83%). 
  • Women are more likely to travel on a regular basis: 64% travel 3-5 times/month. In contrast, 71% of men only travel once a month or less. (Bear in mind, this is specific to travel on the ferry)
  • The fares reported by passengers were much more irregular for women, than for men, regardless of destination or ticket type.
Health Section:
  • 100% of the women reported visited some type of health facility in the past 6 months. 83% reported visiting a clinic or hospital. In contrast, 50% of the men failed to have a consult at any type of health facility in the same time period. Only 50% of those who reported a consult did so at a clinic or hospital, meaning that the remaining 50% consulted a traditional healer or herbalist. 
  • Although 61% of passengers were aware of Bilharzia by description (blood in urine/stool), less than 10% of all interviewed knew it by any local or medical term.
  • None of the participants knew how to correctly treat Bilharzia, despite one third of participants reportedly knowing someone with the disease and one participant who reported having it at the time of the interview.
  • 42% of the women reported utilizing the lake as a source for drinking, cooking or bathing.

Despite my dislike of fiddling with numbers, the results we got were actually rather eye-opening and I have a great respect for the power of a good database. Our population sample was just a small portion of all the people who live and travel on the lake, but the information is still highly useful in giving us a direction as we plan ahead. One of the things we are exploring, based on these results, is finding a way to provide health education posters and flyers for the various vessels traveling all across Lake Volta. We’d love to hear from our readers if you have any additional suggestions or thoughts! Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Nice stats! What was the sample size for this? (How many folks are in the study?)