Hello from India!

IBD team World Health Partners (WHP) took our first field visit into rural India in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Our team consists of: myself, Calvin Chin, Sameera Chilakapati, and Mike Young. WHP is an organization that provides better access to healthcare to rural India. The organization creates a provider network that rural health care providers can subscribe to in return for better, cheaper medications and training, and access to doctors in larger cities (Delhi) through telemedicine.

It took us about 4 hours to get to our field location despite it being less than 100 miles away by car. The roads are not the best here…but the driving and traffic is CRAZY! The only way I can explain driving in India is imagine driving where there are no rules. Cars drive whatever way and constantly are trying to overtake each other. Dogs, people, motorbikes, bicycles, ox carts, cows, and rickshaws are all part of the traffic. If you like rollercoaster rides, India driving is just for you. There are even camels…

Once in UP, we meet with several rural health providers. All the health providers were very excited to see us as international visitors are rare in these areas. They were also so so nice. Through our first interviews I learned just how difficult it is to gather data in developing countries. Everything we wanted to ask had to go through a translator, which not only doubled the interview time, but lead to potential bias as we didn’t know how the translator was asking the question or if the translator put in their own opinions in the clients response.It was also HOT! This is the hottest time to visit India and we definitely were feeling it.It’s easy to feel drained after just talking for a few minutes.

These interviews and going to rural India have given me such insight into the culture here, and I am amazed to be able to have this experience. I can best describe the Indian culture I’ve seen so far as vibrant – from the dynamic people, to the colors people wear, to even the traffic.WHP employees have also helped us in every way possible with our transition to India. I am definitely looking forward to the rest of my IBD experience here!

—Lily Chou

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