Vanuatu Travel Post: Field Report from Alyssa

Alyssa, a Doctor of Nursing Practice student from ASU’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation, joined the SolarSPELL team this year and traveled with the team to Vanuatu. Her applied doctoral project focused on stroke education among Peace Corps volunteers and their local counterparts. The following are her travel posts:

10/18/19

I arrived with the SolarSPELL team in Port Vila, Vanuatu to meet up with Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) Charlie. He graciously took us to meet some of the PCVs from various islands who were in town for training sessions. I was greeted by several PCVs eager to learn about SolarSPELL and how students like myself are able to utilize the device to implement projects. I was met with several stories from both health and education PCVs on how strokes greatly impacted individuals within their villages. I was able to assess stroke knowledge prior to and immediately following PCVs viewing the stroke education white-board video and 2-page pdf I had created that was available on the SolarSPELL digital library.

Next we were headed to a SolarSPELL training event set up for PCVs and their local counterparts. This training session went in depth on how to use the SolarSPELL device, who can use it, and how content is continually being curated to provide up-to-date, culturally relevant information. I was able to demonstrate how nurse practitioner students, like myself, are utilizing SolarSPELL as part of their doctoral work by presenting my project on stroke education to the PCVs and their local counterparts. The information on strokes aligns with the Republic of Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health workers manual. At the end of the training I was greeted with several stories on how the stroke information provided will be utilized in their health clinic to provide education not only to the Ni-Vanuatu (local) people, but to the health care providers at the clinics as well.

10/22/19

Dr. Emily Blau and I met Nhia, a Peace Corps Volunteer serving on Malekula island in Vanuatu. We were able to visit the Mama’s market where the local women bring their local produce and goods to be sold. We then took a small truck ride roughly 40 minutes from there, where Nhia, a Registered Nurse, lives and works at the health clinic. I was able to visit the health clinic with Nhia where locals travel by boat, truck, or foot to have their healthcare needs addressed. Some people need to travel for hours to get to the clinic.

This particular health clinic’s workers include: PCV Nhia, health worker Jesse, registered nurse Kenneth, and nurse practitioner Renae. The clinic is able to provide care for both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Common health services include prenatal care, wound care, vaccinations, chronic disease management (ex: high blood pressure), and treatment of common infections. I was able to provide stroke education to Nhia, Jesse, and Kenneth. I spent a long time talking with Kenneth on all the care that is required by a nurse at the clinic. He was very interested in my project on stroke education, since unfortunately there is limited education provided on stroke management throughout Vanuatu. Jesse graciously helped to translate the white-board video on stroke education to Bislama (a local language spoken by the vast majority of Ni-Vanuatu across the entire country) that will later be placed on the SolarSPELL library.

I am very excited and honored to be able to visit again in the near future and provide stroke education not only to the PCVs and their local counterparts, but also to community members.