Since 2010, GlobeMed at the University of Chicago has been partnered with ASPAT-Peru, an NGO based in Peru that works with Tuberculosis (TB) patients. It has been amazing to see how they have grown since then. In our ghU lessons, our chapter has learned extensively about how difficult it is for Tuberculosis patients to complete their several-month treatment regimen while battling stigma in their homes and communities. ASPAT is one of the leading organizations working to fight for the rights and wellbeing of TB patients in the metropolitan Lima area, so we are very excited to learn more about their programs and their impact on so many Tuberculosis patients. One project that we’re particularly interested in learning more about in-person is the Charlas (meaning ‘chats’ in Spanish) Program. Through this program, ASPAT educates and empowers TB patients who are struggling with their disease by holding monthly workshops at the health centers.
Something that we’re particularly interested in focusing on this GROW trip is how to help ASPAT achieve sustainability in the next couple of years so that we can successfully graduate them from GlobeMed. Over the past academic year, we have been looking into finding sustainable ways of raising funds to support ASPAT’s projects, and we are excited to continue exploring and developing these ideas while on the trip. One idea that we may help pilot is a mobile test sample delivery system that would standardize the delivery of patient test samples from health centers to laboratories to shorten the time that patients must wait for their TB test results. Prolonged wait time has proven to be problematic in the past, as test samples often expire before they can be analyzed at the testing center under the current delivery model.
Our team consists of a fairly diverse selection of university students with different interests ranging from medicine to international development to public policy to social entrepreneurship, and we each believe wholeheartedly that GROW will provide us with the invaluable opportunity to explore our interests first hand. We’re confident that each member of our team will walk away from this trip having gained valuable skills and experiences in nonprofit management and global healthcare that will prove useful no matter which paths we ultimately pursue.
Something that is always on our minds while we’re here in Peru is how we can bring this experience back to the rest of the chapter at UChicago. The 40 members in our chapter work very hard during the school year to help support ASPAT, through fundraising, grant writing, and awareness building. The entire chapter is very excited to see in person the fruits of our and ASPAT´s collective efforts over the years, and we, as this year’s GROW team, are especially proud to be the ambassadors selected to bring these experience back to everyone else in the chapter! This trip will also be a good opportunity for us to evaluate our partnership and to develop a plan for our future collaborations. We´re looking forward to hearing ASPAT´s thoughts on what they envision for themselves, and for our partnership, in the future.