Carmina Mancenon ’14

Major

Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Project Title

Child Mortality and its Effects on Family Planning in Zithulele Village

Over nine weeks this summer, I implemented a rural healthcare research project in Zithulele Village, South Africa. One of the founding doctors of the hospital estimated that around a third of the Xhosan women in the hospital’s maternity ward had lost a child. ­Using this as a starting point, my research focused on the effect of child ­mortality on ­women’s ­fertility choices within the Zithulele Hospital patient base. My research ­involved both quantitative and ethnographic approaches. I collected and processed data from ­maternity case records, then built on these statistics by learning more about the ­surrounding culture (eg. Xhosa medication, family planning ideals, etc.). This was done by interviewing people in the community: mothers, fathers, doctors, and ­traditional ­healers. The culmination of my research was a presentation I gave to the hospital ­doctors and staff, a written summary, and a working academic paper. Being immersed the ­Xhosan lifestyle and people, with all the resources and time to complete a research project, ­was, for me, the best way to understand a new culture, learn first-hand about the ­research process, and add a new dimension to my perceptions on rural health.



Internship Year

2011

Project Category

Health

Organization(s)

Jabulani Rural Health Foundation, South Africa

Mentor(s)

Joseph Amon, Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School; Georges Reniers, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Woodrow WIlson School; Benjamin Gaunt, Jabulani Rural Health Foundation; Karl le Roux, Jabulani Rural H