Anette Dekker, 2012, Woodrow Wilson School

I interned at the Jabulani Rural Health Foundation, which works closely with ­Zithulele ­Hospital and is located in a remote area along the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Through the use of both quantitative and qualitative interviews, I conducted ­research on the ­availability and use of pain medication and palliative care at Zithulele ­Hospital, ­specifically in relation to infectious diseases such as HIV and TB. Conducting ­approximately fifty ­patient interviews, I was able to establish a crucial insight into what level of pain ­patients were suffering from, how patients perceived their pain, what they believed was the cause, and what path they typically followed in seeking out treatment. Interviews with ­doctors, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists at Zithulele Hospital, and nurses in the surrounding clinics, shed light on typical clinical practices and what inhibitions ­exist in proper implementation of palliative care. It is clear both that there is a ­significant need for pain treatment and palliative care and that limited resources of health professionals make implementation of such care challenging. I will continue with a more in-depth analysis of the data as I work with the research for my senior thesis.