The Community Health Awareness Program is a recurring feature of the annual most anticipated UIMSA Health Week. In this interview, the chairperson of the planning committee and a representative of the Press sat down for a Q&A regarding the event.

Oreoluwa (Interviewer): Good morning ma’am. I’m Oreoluwa of the UIMSA Press. Could you kindly introduce yourself?

Miss Jayeoba: I am Olamide Jayeoba. I am the Vice President of the Association and the Chairperson of the Community Health Awareness Program (CHAP)  planning committee.

Oreoluwa: Thank you very much. I’ll go straight to it and make this as brief as possible. In a few words, what can you tell us what to look forward to as regards the upcoming CHAP? Anything exciting?

Miss Jayeoba: Well, I’d say it’s different considering that we’re having two CHAPs for this health week, one outside of Ibadan, which will obviously be fun. Meeting a completely different set of people from the Ibadan community that we’re used to promises to be quite enlightening and interesting. The Ibadan outreach will hold the day after and it is also going to be exciting because we’re going to an actual community, not the market but where people actually live. So we’re going to see not just market men but market men, market women, and their children and have opportunities to interact with people of different age groups. So it’s going to be educative, especially for preclinical students and a brush-over for the clinical students.

Oreoluwa: That sounds like it’s going to be fun, but why the change this year? Why did you choose to go to two locations?

Miss Jayeoba: Okay, so the reason for this is first inclusivity. Our theme is Addressing Health Disparities For All so instead of having just one outreach in the whole of the health week it would be nice to have two. We’re a medical student association. Providing care should be a priority and also our sponsor for the program preferred having it in two locations and was willing to cover all the expenses.

Oreoluwa: Going by the tag on the CHAP flier, is it correct to assume that this sponsor is Senator Sharafadeen?

Miss Jayeoba: Yes.

Oreoluwa: That’s lovely. Would you care to share how you came about that collaboration?

Miss Jayeoba: The President sought out a connection to him and an audience was granted. We reached out to him with our proposal asking which event he could cover or support and he said the CHAP looked like something he would like to sponsor and agreed to sponsor it.

Oreoluwa: That’s wonderful.  We need connected and well-meaning UIMSAites, especially in this economy.

Miss Jayeoba: Amen! Yes! (laughs)

Oreoluwa: Since sponsorship has been covered, what about the other factors involved in this outreach such as manpower? How do you think UIMSAites will respond to having to go to two separate locations across two different days? Do you think this will affect volunteerism and enthusiasm?

Miss Jayeoba: Okay so over the years I’ve observed that if there’s any event you won’t see enough people for it is not CHAP. In fact, we’ve had to close the link for volunteers. Usually, when you release a CHAP flier you have to monitor it because in the blink of an eye, boom! It’s filled. In fact, I opened a group because we had too many 100-level students without much experience to handle it so I wanted some 600-level people to come in. My target was overshot so I feel like the manpower will be fine.

The form also allowed for volunteers to pick their desired location and a convenient date so we have those who picked Ibarapa and those who picked Oke Aremo. The people who will probably feel the effect are members of the planning committee and they’ve been carried along. They all have their centres so I don’t think there will be an issue with manpower.

Oreoluwa: Well, it’s very good to hear that UIMSAites are participatory in something. This leads to my next question, what is in it for the volunteers?

Miss Jayeoba: I think most preclinical students are excited by the idea of being the doctor at that moment and they like the experience. So I think that’s the major thing in it for volunteers. The certificate is a bonus to them as most times we see these LinkedIn posts saying I volunteered in this and that so the community involvement is a plus to their CVs.

Oreoluwa: Hmm. Was the form for volunteering also open to non-UIMSAites?

Miss Jayeoba: UIMSAites only.

Oreoluwa: Is that how it has been for previous CHAPs?

Miss Jayeoba: Yes.

Oreoluwa: Would you say this year’s turnout was greater than usual?

Miss Jayeoba: Like I said, I closed the form so I can’t really say.

Oreoluwa: In comparison to previous years did you reach your target more quickly?

Miss Jayeoba: I wasn’t on the planning committees for others so I can’t say but I think it has been the same. CHAP is always that event, like, for the other CHAPs we’ve had this tenure when I put out a call for volunteers by 8 o’clock and by 11 I already had 30 volunteers and I had to close the group because my target was even 15. So it’s usually like that for CHAP.

Oreoluwa: So going to the community level, what are the short and long-term benefits you envision this community will gain from this CHAP?

Miss Jayeoba: Short term I’d say with the current state of the economy most people won’t come to the hospital when they’re sick unless the sickness has really eaten deep into their bodies. So if you go and bring this to them, we can give basic access to health care and recommendations on what they can do about their health. I feel this will take the burden off of them in regard to finances and stress.

For long-term benefits, considering that we’re going to a community where families reside, the idea is to educate them on the care of both the children and the elderly and this community will benefit in that they gain more knowledge on how to take care of themselves, their children and the elderly. Also, we’ll give them a bit of education on how to take care of common conditions like diarrhoea as well as information on hygiene, correcting traditional misconceptions and first aid if they can’t afford to take the child to the hospital.

Oreoluwa: Is there a specific health topic like last year’s CHAP which focused on TB?

Miss Jayeoba: This year it’s just basic healthcare.

Oreoluwa: The do’s and don’t’s?

Miss Jayeoba: Yes.

Oreoluwa: Alright. Is there anything your volunteers need to know, or prepare for or any necessary skills to have before D-day?

Miss Jayeoba: Well, we have a group for the volunteers where we pass across information but we expect them to have basic knowledge on how to take care of common conditions like malaria, signs of malaria, diarrhoea, immediate management of diarrhoea, things that call for caution in children, the elderly, pregnant women, etc. Things to look out for generally.

Oreoluwa: Okay. So I’m aware that previous CHAPs follow a pattern of health check-ups and some counselling. Is there anything different to look forward to in this CHAP?

Miss Jayeoba: We’ll be having the health check-up, counselling and we’ll be attending to those with health complaints. We will clerk patients and reach out to them. We’ll educate them on their condition and try to help in the little way we can. We’re also trying to reach out to ARD and see if we can get specialists to come with us but if that doesn’t work we’re trusting our June doctors to come through for us.

Oreoluwa: Other than ARD, any other collaborations in view?

Miss Jayeoba: Not exactly. The problem is most countries are struggling with the economic state. We reached out to pharmaceuticals and hospitals and they said they can’t handle it with the state of the economy.

Oreoluwa: That’s unsurprising and unfortunate. Do you have any closing statements for UIMSAites?

Miss Jayeoba: I’d encourage UIMSAites to keep the energy they have for CHAP and continue trying to come through for and contribute to their community. They should also look out for other activities in the health week. We’re planning a blast and look forward to having you around!

Oreoluwa: Thank you very much Miss Jayeoba. It’s been a pleasure.

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