UH Med Now
UH medical students take part in international project to eradicate TB in the Marshall Islands
Pictured: L-R: Dr. Yusuke Kobayashi (JABSOM MD 2017) with Orlando Salazar, x-ray technician at Lanakila Health Center, during their volunteer work in the Marshall Islands.
By Tina Shelton, UH Med Now
Medical students from the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) traveled more than 2,500 miles to help fight tuberculosis (TB) in Ebeye, the most populated island of Kwajalein Atoll, and one of three “hotspots” for tuberculosis in the Pacific region identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention.
The massive TB screening program was launched by last year with registration and record collection. Then came action, and that’s where the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) medical students entered the scene. On the ground for three weeks, they helped to screen some 5,600 residents of Ebeye in the Marshall Islands’ largest-ever effort ever to eradicate the disease. TB is a bacterial infection that can be fatal. It most often attacks the lungs and can be spread through coughs, but it can also harm other organs.
Class of 2017 medical students (now MDs) Nash Witten and Yusuke Kobayashi were joined by their faculty advisor, Dr. Seiji Yamada of the JABSOM Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, along with teams of RMI health workers, regional Pacific TB staff, international volunteers, and representatives from the CDC and the World Health Organization.