Latest Blog List

It's broken...but don't throw it out!

September 15, 2011 - 10:00am
One of the Kenya lab staff said to me, “You are the first ones to help us with these machines.  They give to us and we try, but don’t know how to use (the machines).”  Poor equipment maintenance and understanding of the machines is a reality in the African vaccine labs.  The end result is the machines sit idle, deemed broken, and potentially cause vaccine production delays. The labs typically run... Read More

Humming to the Beatles' Song, “In My Life”

September 13, 2011 - 10:00am
Tears were threatening to flow out of my eyes as Shambel, the Ethiopia lab’s maintenance head, said to me, “This is not America.  This is Africa…we do things at our own time.”  We were in his office discussing project support for installing utilities to the new freeze dryer donated through the VACNADA project.  I was trying to impress upon him the importance of making and meeting commitments to... Read More


September 8, 2011 - 10:00am
This is the third time this week that we forgot to buy and bring bottled water.  It is another day that we leave lunch feeling thirsty. The water at the Ethiopia lab facilities is non-potable sourced from a borehole.   The staff has adapted in various ways.  The Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC) office purchased a water purifying dispenser for their office and drive in a few 10L... Read More

Computers as a second language

September 1, 2011 - 10:00am
Today, I was thinking about one of my favorite teachers.  Her name is Ms. Savoy, and she was my ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher when I was attending 2nd thru 4th grade in a small town in Western Massachusetts.  Having just immigrated to the United States, I only spoke and understood Chinese.  Ms. Savoy was a native English speaker and did not converse in Chinese.  She patiently... Read More

Eggs are not just for breakfast.

August 30, 2011 - 10:00am
Do you recall the last time you had a flu shot?  A flu shot is a vaccine.  Vaccines work by exposing the body to particles called antigens, which trigger an immune response.  When the body senses these virus bits, it kick-starts specialized immune defenses which attack the viral DNA. Once the body eliminates the invaders, it stores a "memory" of that particular invader for years, guarding against... Read More

A Kenyan Lab’s New Equipment Delivery and Installation Challenges

August 25, 2011 - 10:00am
Through the VACNADA Project, my partner organization, GALVmed will manage over €4million (US $5.6million) in support of equipment, training and refurbishment activities. KEVEVAPI (Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute) is one of eight vaccine production laboratories in sub-Saharan Africa benefitting through this grant.  The Kenya lab will receive several laboratory refurbishments and new... Read More

Doing more with less was brought to life for me

August 23, 2011 - 10:00am
My partner organization, GALVmed, works with key partners to make a sustainable difference in access to animal health products for poor livestock keepers.  As a process engineer from the Andover, Massachusetts facility my six month fellowship in Ethiopia and Kenya is focused on improving the quality and quantity of vaccines produced by selected national laboratories across Africa by providing... Read More