March 2012

A monthly means to inform and inspire our TEAM

March 2012
Vol. 3, No. 3

Speed Bumps

Old semi visible bump

Old semi-visible bump

new well sign posted bump

New well signposted bump

"Also known as 'sleeping policemen', these man-made ridges are constructed across otherwise perfectly good roads to slow the flow of traffic, in order to avoid mowing down pedestrians, and at the same time to increase the opportunities for street vendors" (my proposed alternate entry for Wikipedia)

Most of us, either as driver or passenger, have felt the effect of speed bumps while traveling. Ideally, the driver spots the upcoming obstacle and has time to slow down. But usually on a long trip, when I am driving, I manage to hit at least one speed bump at full speed, its presence concealed by a tree shadow or the paint worn off its zebra stripes.

The EMBLEM study, like any other major research study, is bound to encounter unexpected obstacles that momentarily slow the pace of the work. In reacting to such occurrences, we can take a lesson from Speed Bump Etiquette:

  1. Slow down.
  2. Look for a way to avoid the obstacle by going around it.
  3. If there is no other way, approach it slowly head on.
  4. Keep moving in spite of inevitable jolting, to avoid stalling in the middle.
  5. Do not attempt to overtake others while crossing over.
  6. Look ahead…the speed bump, like any other obstacle, has an end.

Dr. Esther Kawira, Editor

EMBLEM Tanzania

Kheri Vincent, EMBLEM lab technician at BMC, processes the first study specimen.

Kheri Vincent, EMBLEM lab technician at BMC, processes the first study specimen.

The designated starting date for case enrollment was March 1st. On March 7th the first eligible BL case, a six year old girl with facial and abdominal tumors, was spotted at Shirati in Mara Region, screened, and enrolled in the study. She was sent to Bugando Medical Center for biopsy and will return to Shirati to complete the six cycles of chemotherapy. Bugando Medical Center received several other BL cases the first week, however they came from outside the EMBLEM designated study regions (Mara and Mwanza) and, therefore, were not eligible for enrollment.

The EMBLEM office at Bugando finished installing a phone (with an extension to the lab), internet (with protected wireless connectivity), and datafax machine. Datafax training will take place on March 27th and 28th. At the EMBLEM Shirati site, the lab sinks were installed and the water hookup completed. Counters will be built in soon. A senior and well-experienced lab technician has been identified to work with the EMBLEM Shirati site.


servicing the safety hood

Case and control enrollment
EMBLEM staff in Uganda completed the enrollment of population and HCII controls from Lodwar village in Kitgum successfully with 30 HCII controls and 275 population controls obtained. Case enrollment is ongoing and we have 75 cases enrolled.

Freezer Transportation.
A minus 80 Freezer was successfully transported from Lacor to Kuluva hospital by Mr. Legason Dragon. Freezer temperature is being monitored to confirm normal and stable function.

A team from South Africa conducted routine servicing of the safety hoods in both the EMBLEM Kuluva and Lacor Labs. (Picture on the right)                                                                                                     


EMBLEM Kenya team at Lacor Hospital in Uganda

EMBLEM Kenya team at Lacor Hospital in Uganda

The EMBLEM Kenya team that went to Uganda for training in study SOPs has returned and is very enthusiastic. The team that remained in Kenya visited local health institutions to inform them about the study. These institutions are now referring cases or calling to inquire about what to do when they spot a patient who is likely to be a BL case.

Four facilities have called so far asking for a CME on BL so that they can be conversant with the obvious signs of BL.

The equipment which was shipped on 8, February 2012 is still awaiting clearance. The NCR forms which were shipped from Kampala were received and are in Homabay.

Dr. Odada and the PI were among the intellectuals appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO); International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) working group. The meeting in Lyon, France from February 5th to 15th, 2012 recognized Dr. Odada as the first Kenyan to participate in this global disease evaluation process, 47 years after its inception.

The team evaluated plasmodium falciparum and polyomavirus as carcinogens based on the mechanistic role in human and animal cancer pathogenesis. A total of 26 scientists from 11 countries were in attendance.

Currently, a total of 22 patients have been spotted, and there is an overwhelming response from the health facilities that were not visited for the need to conduct a CME.

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