August 2011

A monthly means to inform and inspire our TEAM

August 2011
Vol. 2, No. 8

Dr. Esther Kawira, L, and Dr. Peter Odada, R, on 8th floor balcony of Cyprus MOH building overlooking the capital city of Nicosia

Dr. Esther Kawira, L, and Dr. Peter Odada, R, on 8th floor balcony of Cyprus MOH building overlooking the capital city of Nicosia

Cancer Epidemiology

During the month of July, two EMBLEM investigators, Dr. Esther Kawira of EMBLEM Tanzania and Dr. Peter Odada of EMBLEM Kenya, were invited to attend a week-long course introducing the global epidemiology of cancer, including overview, history, and research methods and biostatistics. The venue was Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, an island in the eastern Meditteranean. The course was sponsored by the University of Michigan, School of Public Health under Prof. Amr Soliman.

We learned that cancer registries exist in a number of countries in the world, but, as a continent, registries from Africa are severely underrepresented. This course inspired us to realize the urgency of collecting high-quality data from our continent that may be pooled with data from other countries to obtain accurate global statistics.

The EMBLEM study, as part of its overall contribution to research, is establishing pediatric cancer registries at each of the EMBLEM enrollment sites. These registries will include all pediatric cancer patients, of which EMBLEM enrolled cases will then represent a subset. These high-quality databases will greatly contribute to completeness of global cancer epidemiology.
Dr. Esther Kawira, Editor

BL Tutorial in Outpatient Department

BL Tutorial in Outpatient Department


Case Spotting and Enrollment

Cumulatively, 92 (65 male, 27 female) have been screened; 45 (32 male, 13 female) who were eligible have been enrolled. Case spotting in the Outpatient Department at Lacor Hospital has been improved by showing an animated tutorial about BL in the local language and giving regular health talks about BL. Lacor hospital has launched radio messages about cancer and BL in order to disseminate information to the entire region.

Graph of total OPD Attendances at health centers serving survey villages across 14 days.

Population Control Enrollment Preparation

Community Research Assistants (mobilizers) from 6 villages were trained to collect, and have completed collecting, data about attendance at local health centers in 6 of 12 pilot villages (see figure). Census is complete in 8 of 12 pilot villages and the households with eligible control children have been selected. Enrollment of Pilot Population Controls and HCII Pilot Controls in the wet villages (West Nile) will begin in mid-September.


During the PI visit to Kenya from July 14th- 22nd, EMBLEM signed MOU’s with the Dean of the School of Medicine at Moi University, Provincial Director of Medical Services for Nyanza and Western provinces, and Medical Superintendents of Webuye District Hospital and Homabay District Hospital, respectively. The PI and local investigators visited the distant sites to assess progress and to establish further collaboration activities. During the visit, the team held Grand Rounds at the Moi University School of Medicine and at the Homabay District Hospital. The EMBLEM team also visited St. Camillus hospital in Karungu where a future collaborative activity is anticipated. Emblem Kenya has hired three new staff members, Lydia Kimungui, Cynthia Atieno and George Otieno.They are doubling as research and office assistants. BL posters have been distributed in a number of health institutions around Homabay. So far EMBLEM Kenya has registered one BL patient (BL was confirmed by FNA) marking the official start of the Kenya Pediatric Cancer Registry being supported by EMBLEM.

  • Grand Rounds at Moi University School of Medicine

    Grand Rounds at Moi University School of Medicine

  • Dr. Sam Mbulaiteye signing MOU at Webuye District Hospital

    Dr. Sam Mbulaiteye signing MOU at Webuye District Hospital

  • Lydia Kimungui

    Lydia Kimungui

  • Cynthia Atieno

    Cynthia Atieno

  • George Oluoch Otieno

    George Oluoch Otieno

EMBLEM Tanzania

In late July, the Tanzania EMBLEM team hosted Dr. Sam Mbulaiteye, who gave suggestions, encouragement, and course corrections in some areas. Employment contracts were completed with three lab technicians and the data manager, who had already gone to Uganda for training. Budgeting for the coming year was completed and the budget was submitted. Ongoing renovations continued for the Shirati EMBLEM office/lab complex. Final preparation work was done for anticipated signing of the MOU between EMBLEM and Bugando Medical Center in mid-August.

EMBLEM Newsletter is a monthly on-line publication based on contributions of the EMBLEM Study staff.
Editor: Dr. Esther Kawira
Reporters: EMBLEM Uganda – Mike Mbaziira; EMBLEM Kenya – Pam Akinyi Were; EMBLEM Tanzania – Josiah Magatti