If you were stranded on a desert island....

July 30, 2008 - Gaborone, Botswana

Given all the time we are spending together and the fact that you can only talk about HIV/AIDS so many hours a day, Travis has taken the lead on asking an assortment of random questions.  Here are the top 5 – in case you’re ever on a long car drive and run out of convo:
- If you had a talk show, who would be your first interview? (Peter’s answer: Bin Laden)
- If you were stranded on a desert island and could only eat one food, what would it be? (Travis’ answer: Thanksgiving)
- If you could only eat macaroni for a year, what do you think you would look like? (Jordan’s answer: Dead)
- If you had to live in for 2 years, how much would you have to make? (Travis’ answer on Gabs to an American who has been living here for 6 months: $400,000... um, I hope she didn’t take offense to that, as she is clearly not making that!)
- If you were able to drive around Africa with any celebrity, who would it be? (Either Travis or Peter said Robin Williams, but Jordan said “no way – he might get annoying after 15 min”)

When we don’t talk about these really silly things, we are learning a lot in our interviews, though we’ve been getting whiplash lately.  To give a bit of background, we are trying to get doctor’s and nurse’s feedback on whether a point of care infant diagnostic device for HIV would work well in Namibia or Botswana.  Since 2006, NAM and BOT have used dried blood spot (DBS) testing for infants in 2006, which allows health care workers to take 5 small drops of blood, dry them and send them into a central lab for testing.  The DBS technology is such an improvement over what was available before – either tests that tested antibodies instead of DNA (which doesn’t work for infants) or tests that need to be refrigerated during transport.  The turnaround time is anywhere between 1 week and a couple months, depending on how rural the clinic is.  Our device would reduce that turnaround time to less than 1 hour and is less expensive, but there are other concerns like quality control and overall priorities of the healthcare system here.  Anyways, back to the whiplash…


One doctor will say a point of care infant diagnostic device for HIV is the best thing since sliced bread (which, by the way, you often have to slice in the grocery yourself here), and a different doctor 2 hours later will say that more devices just add to problems and doing more with what Botswana has would be better.  Botswana and Namibia really do have impressive healthcare systems relative to most sub-Saharan Africa, so the systems are definitely not totally broken.  So, I think our recommendation will likely be that GHI should introduce the device in countries that are less developed and don’t have so much infrastructure already in place for infant testing.  Overall, we really appreciate the diversity of opinion and willingness of so many busy, dedicated people to meet with us.  As they say here, “it’s been a real pleasure.”

Anyways, thanks for making it through this long entry!  An early “congrats” to our cousins – Caylie and Chris (Jordan’s dad’s side) – and Lee and Kate (my dad’s side) – who are getting married this upcoming weekend!  We wish we could celebrate with you.  Families, have fun at the weddings!!!


3 Comments

Paul Buser:
July 31, 2008
Erin, Jordan, and everyone--awesome blog! We all miss you guys over here. Keep up the great stories.

Love, Molly and Paul
Anthony Berceau:
July 31, 2008
Erin and Jordan - I'm on vacation for the weekend to attend a wedding in NYC and finally had the time to read through all of these entries. What a great experience this is for both of you guys. I really applaud your willingness to do something this unique and the fact that the trip has a humanitarian objective to it.

Jordan - I'm heating up my grill for you when you guys get back. We'll grill anything you want!

I really liked your five random questions post too. Tell your friend Travis that, technically, "Thanksgiving" is not actually a food but I'm with him. That's the best meal of the year.

Enjoy the rest of your trip. Travel Safe!
Kathy Linville:
August 3, 2008
Hey sweeties!
Chris and Caylie wedding was as blast. Needed Jordan and Alex dancing though. Derek and Nathan were giving it their best shot, but just not the same. Everyone asked about you guys. Blog has been super, but will look forward to getting you back in the US of A. Love Mom L XOXO
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