April 2013

A monthly means to inform and inspire our TEAM

April 2013
Vol. 4, No. 4

EMBLEM Hosts International Students

photo of Dr. Sonja Baik and Sr. Milly

Dr Sonya Baik with Sr. Milly at St. Mary’s Hospital

In this issue, we recognize international students who chose to get their practical experience with EMBLEM. Dr. Sonya Baik, a Canadian surgical resident who was pursuing a master’s degree in Global Health at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), led the way in 2010. She compiled a registry of historical Burkitt Lymphoma (BL) in northern Uganda and evaluated the appropriateness of using local health facility controls for EMBLEM. Her results, published in Infectious Agents and Cancer, were used in development of the EMBLEM control selection strategy.

photo of NIcholas Hu

Mr. Nicholas Hu

Photo of Jackie Kanywa

Dr Jacqueline Kanywa at St. Mary’s

Dr. Jacqueline Kanywa, a Ugandan pediatrician currently pursuing a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology at the University of Texas, School of Public Health, is extending Dr. Baik’s work by implementing an electronic Childhood Cancer Registry in northern Uganda. Nicholas Hu is pursuing a master’s degree in Global Health at UCSF. He is working in EMBLEM Tanzania to evaluate the operational feasibility of using smart mobile technologies for fast and efficient control selection and enrollment.

Photo of Josh Biddle

Mr. Joshua Biddle

Finally, EMBLEM Kenya (in collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute) expects to host Mr. Joshua Biddle, a fourth year medical student at UCSF with a bachelor’s degree in Integrative Biology. We congratulate Mr. Biddle for obtaining a Fulbright Scholarship to support his work with EMBLEM.

We are grateful to these students for their contributions in vital areas of the EMBLEM Study. With rapidly expanding knowledge, international students bring a direct and vital connection to our remote sites and they inspire us.

Dr. Esther Kawira - Editor


EMBLEM Kenya has spotted 152 cases, of which 46 were BL. Thirty-seven (29 males, 8 females) have been enrolled in the study. Six were not eligible and 3 died before enrollment. A total of 7 cases were enrolled in April despite the challenges of that month.

Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Homa bay District were trained in BL Case Spotting techniques. Ms. Pamela and Mr. Genga Study Coordinator and Technical Advisor attended an EMBLEM re-training workshop in Mwanza, Tanzania in April.


Dr. Tobias Kinyera in Tanzania

Dr. Tobias Kinyera in Tanzania

EMBLEM Tanzania enrolled 1 male patient in April for total of 34 enrolled out of the 231 cases that have been spotted since enrollment began in July, 2012.

To address the low level of recruitment relative to historical rates (see bar graph below), a major retraining of EMBLEM Tanzania staff was conducted in Tanzania by Dr. Tobias Kinyera, EMBLEM Study Coordinator from Uganda. The training was attended by EMBLEM staff, key stake-holders, and also senior EMBLEM Team leaders from Kenya. The lessons from this training are expected to improve case-spotting strategies, leading to higher enrollments rates in Kenya and Tanzania.


Prof. Moses Joloba conducting a Study Monitoring visit at the EMBLEM Office at St. Mary’s Hospital, Lacor. Mr. Nicholas Hu, at left, attended as an observer

Prof. Moses Joloba conducting a Study
Monitoring visit at the EMBLEM Office
at St. Mary’s Hospital, Lacor. Mr. Nicholas Hu,
at left, attended as an observer

Case spotting in EMBLEM Uganda stands at a total of 324 (111 females, 213 males), 166 (59 females, 107 males) were eligible and enrolled.

EMBLEM Uganda has completed the pilot population control enrollment in the North West region Burra village. A total of 496 children (252 females, 244 males) were enrolled.

EMBLEM study monitors made their fourth visit to the Lacor site in Gulu. As always, it was a great learning experience. Also, EMBLEM Uganda hosted two international students. Mr. Nicholas Hu from UCSF, who will be working in Tanzania, had a tour to become familiar with EMBLEM. Dr. Jackline Kanywa, from the University of Texas, is working on an electronic Pediatric Cancer Registry at St Mary’s Hospital, Lacor.

EMBLEM Study Goals

Monthly monitoring of enrollment of BL relative to historical case activity in the study area continues (see graph at right). Corrective action undertaken this month was re-training of staff in Tanzania and Kenya to improve case-spotting strategies, planning and implementation.

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