Name: Zion Bereket
School: Clark University
Major(s): International Development, Public Health
Class year: 2018
When and how did you get involved with YSI?
I became involved with YSI in the fall of 2015. Our chapter leader, Rachel Gaufberg, was sending out recruitment emails through the Pre-Med society and [after] reading through her email, I was immediately interested in getting involved with YSI.
Which expeditions have you gone on?
My first expedition was January of 2016. I was in Morel with YSI for a little over a week. I went back again May of 2016 for two weeks.
What is your current position? Can you describe your main responsibilities?
This summer, I was helping with the field work for the clinics. In order to make sure the clinics were well-organized and enough data was being collected, YSI had to be in the field engaging with the local population and collecting information in the form of surveys. The week would begin with a full day of surveying and patient sign-ups. Advocates were sent out in two different groups to cover different sides of Carrefour Vert, the neighborhood we were working in at the time. Patients were signed-up for half hour time blocks with three patients per half hour for each exam room. It was very important to not only schedule the patient into their specific time block, but also to have an advocate write detailed descriptions of the [patient's] house for pick-ups.
One new aspect of the clinics YSI implemented this summer was patient pick-ups and drop-offs. On the day of the clinic, I worked with the clinic coordinator, Herlyne, to divide the advocates into four rotating groups--one to do pick-ups, one to do public health education, one to observe in the medical rooms, and a resting group so they do not get too overwhelmed. This was very effective because it not only allowed us to keep the clinic flowing smoothly and to ensure all the patients arrived to their appointments on time, but it also kept the advocates involved in every aspect of the clinic from public health education to patient care and fieldwork.
The final fieldwork-based task that we had was the patient follow-ups. This was one of the most important parts of the clinic. Advocates would go to the homes of the patients with their patient records and a feedback survey to assess if the patients were following lifestyle recommendations and if they were clear on their prescription instructions. The feedback survey was then used to assess the effectiveness of the program so necessary changes could be made accordingly.
Why did you choose to become more involved with YSI?
What makes YourStory International so special to me and what draws me to continue my involvement is the YSI mission and values. YSI is unlike any other non-profit organization because they have a multi-faceted approach to development work that doesn’t only focus on giving aid, but also focuses on ensuring the development of a sustainable community.
What is your biggest takeaway from the experiences that you have had with YSI?
My biggest takeaway from my experience with YSI was the importance of collaboration in development work. What kept the clinic running were the equal contributions from everyone ranging from advocates and doctors/nurses to translators and community workers, as well as the cooperation of the local community. Each clinic was a success because it was a collaborative effort for all angles and I believe that is true for all development-based work.