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A Piece of My Mind
May 23/30, 2007

Don’t Sleep With Your Chickens

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2007;297(20):2174-2176. doi:10.1001/jama.297.20.2174

One of the most successful interventions I participated in while working with displaced people affected by the war in northern Uganda may seem like it had nothing to do with health at all. It was quite spontaneous, wholly unscientific, and cost less than $500.

I arrived in Uganda with 2 suitcases full of summer clothes, heaps of enthusiasm, and a work plan to achieve the modest task of reducing the morbidity of thousands of people living in deplorable conditions under constant security threats. The implementation plan contained a fairly standard list of activities to address the most basic health problems (malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea) such as capacity building at the local health center (whose staff was usually absent), training of community health workers, provision of supplies, and an assortment of health-promotion activities.

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