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Issue 2 March 2010

Projects’ Booklet


was founded in May 1951 and is run by medical students, for medical students, on a non-profit basis. IFMSA is officially recognised as a nongovernmental organisation within the United Nations’ system and has official relations with the World Health Organisation. It is the international forum for medical students, and one of the largest student organisations in the world.

Imprint Editors in Chief Knakita Clayton-Johnson, Jamaica Aleksandra Herbowska, Poland Editors Knakita Clayton-Johnson, Jamaica Aleksandra Herbowska, Poland Chris Pleyer, Austria Design/Layout Alexander Papadopoulos, Greece Alexander Werni, Austria Proofreading Alexander Papadopoulos, Greece

The mission of IFMSA


is to offer future physicians a comprehensive introduction to global health issues. Through our programs and opportunities, we develop culturally sensitive students of medicine, intent on influencing the transnational inequalities that shape the health of our planet.

International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations General Secretariat: IFMSA c/o WMA B.P. 63 01212 Ferney-Voltaire, France Phone: +33 450 404 759 Fax: +33 450 405 937 Email: Homepage:

Contacts Printed in Germany

Issue 2  |  March 2010

DAs for Projects Introduction Knakita Clayton-Johnson and Aleksandra Herbowska Dear SCOPHians, From the very first moment of our work as DAs for Projects, the most we were sure about was that we want to create the third edition of the SCOPH Projects Booklet. Working together, in Jamaica and Poland, with the great support of the SCOPH Dream Team and your commitment in writing the articles, we managed to continue the work of our predecessors, DAs for Projects 2008/2009, Louise Mulcahy and Chris Pleyer. So here it is… our orange dream coming true. It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that we present to you the third edition of the SCOPH Project Booklet. We believe that SCOPH is all about you – you and your projects. We are always humbled and intrigued to see all the great work you carry out in your countries to improve public health. Even the simplest project can have a huge impact, and together, our work worldwide can be even greater. This booklet seeks to highlight just a few of the projects that we carry out worldwide within SCOPH. The articles are written by SCOPHians, from different National Member Organisations, who have been generous enough to share their work with everyone. It is always important to share what we do so that we can all learn from each others experiences. We would like to thank all the contributors to this edition of the SCOPH Projects booklet and wish you all success in your projects. Of course, an article will never show all the work, effort, and dedication of the SCOPHians who made the ideas of facing these public health issues real. But it can open your eyes to various public health issues, give you the motivation to start working on a project yourself, and give you ideas on how to achieve what others have already accomplished successfully. This is what we wish for you while reading this edition of the SCOPH Projects Booklet. That you will be inspired by the stories of people volunteering for SCOPH, and that you will feel the passion behind each of the projects in this publication.



SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

CHRONIC DISEASES World Diabetes Day – November 14, 2009 Aleksandra Herbowska Across many cultures, the circle exists as a symbol of life and health; and the colour blue reflects the sky which unites nations. The logo of World Diabetes Day – a blue circle – signifies the unity of the global diabetes community against the Diabetes pandemic. More than 220 million people worldwide are affected by this disease. So it is no wonder that SCOPHians all over the world choose to focus on this issue. Uniting our efforts for World Diabetes Day 2009, we performed various activities in 70 cities of 15 National Member Organisations of IFMSA, reaching over 32,500 people! Our aim was to highlight the problem by educating the society on the risk factors for diabetes, how to prevent diabetes, and how to recognise the symptoms and signs of the disease. Many different activities were carried out in order to achieve this. SCOPHians from different countries created educational materials like posters, brochures, and leaflets with information on Diabetes. The prepared materials were handed out during events in main city spots like on crowded streets, in downtowns, shopping malls, universities, hospitals, and pharmacies. Students also organised events in small villages, far from the main cities, where access to healthcare is much more difficult. In some countries, seminars, peer education lectures, and conferences were organised. The participants were informed by experts and medical students about diabetes risk factors, prevention, and signs and symptoms. They were also offered practical information like first aid for hypo- and hyperglycaemia. To pass such information to children, medical students prepared special interactive games that were appropriate for this audience. In addition to the educational part of the campaign, screening examinations were organised during some of the events. Blood sugar level, blood pressure, weight, Body Mass Index, and waist-hip ratio were measured. Some participants also had the chance to evaluate their health through health questionnaires measuring risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes and other surveys. During all the events, SCOPH volunteers were also

providing the society with general information about disease prevention: healthy diet, regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco etc. To promote our organized events, the locations were decorated with banners, posters, big blue circles, blue balloons, and students wore blue t-shirts. Many of the events were also promoted by local and national media. There was even a whole day broadcast program about diabetes on one University’s radio station. Other attractions associated with the campaign were parades, and blue illumination of buildings. In order adequately prepare medical students taking part in these events, special training sessions and workshops were organised in some universities. The participating students were educated on how to pass on their knowledge to the society and also to perform the examinations. Moreover, during the seminars, they had the opportunity to learn more about the multidisciplinary approach to a diabetic patient. There are many different ways to tackle the problem of diabetes. We hope that through presenting to you the variety of ideas on celebrating World Diabetes Day, we will encourage you to implement this project in your country or to further develop the events you already perform. Sharing experiences is essential for cooperation with SCOPHians from all over the world, so we thank the WDD Coordinators for submitting the reports. We would like to congratulate each of the 15 NMOs and each of the 1366 SCOPHians who participated in World Diabetes Day Celebrations for November 2009: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Malta, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Romania, and Turkey. This was not only your success, but also a great success for SCOPH. For further information contact scophda.projects@

Issue 2  |  March 2010 Mental Health Initiative Project Anthony Gifuni Mental health is receiving increasingly more attention in the field of global health. In 2007, The Lancet published a series of articles that urged global health stakeholders (government, decision makers, policy makers, professionals etc.) to increase and expand the coverage of services for mental health disorders worldwide. Paralleling the creation of Global Mental Health, an international group dedicated to promote mental health worldwide, the SCOPH created its own group, the Mental Health Initiative Project (MHIP). This small active group endeavors to promote education amongst medical students on mental health issues and to promote student-led Mental Health projects at the local and international level. As a rule, the MHIP aims to debunk common myths about mental health and to combat the stigmatization of people suffering from mental illnesses. We also recognize the importance of a multidisciplinary approach; psychiatrist and psychologist, but also community workers, nurses, general practitioners and researchers are equally important when dealing with mental health issues. While mental health remains a neglected aspect of the global health agenda, MHIP’s action strives to promote equitable access to mental health resources, especially in middle- and lowincome settings. Many mental health projects are budding in every country. The MHIP aims to become the umbrella organization that rallies all the NMOs with mental health activities. In due time, we will provide a platform that will enable medical students to network and efficiently share their ideas. As more and more countries from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds join this initiative, it will become increasingly important to stress the cultural influence on many mental health aspects. We invite you to join the dynamic team that constitutes the MHIP. At an international level, the MHIP will continue working to create a strong student network and to educate future physician on the global importance of mental health issues. Locally, it is committed to promoting activities that consolidate public health perspective in mental health. This task has never been more relevant, for there is a strong evidencedbased set of actions recommended and proven cost-

5 effective to alleviate the burden of mental disorders. You can join the MHIP by visiting our yahoogroup at


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

CHRONIC DISEASES Eating Disorders Magda Kaminska, Zuzanna Pawlikowska Ludwig Feuerbach once said: “Man is what he eats”. We wanted to prove him wrong! That is how our polish project Eating Disorders began. Because not a single person who suffers from an eating disorder, though the majority of them eat nothing, is a “zero”! Almost everyone in today’s world is threatened by bulimia and anorexia. Through meetings with pupils in secondary schools, based on peer education, we try to give them significant but non-scientific information on how to avoid those illnesses and how to notice the danger before it’s too late. Every medical student, after taking a short course provided by our Project Coordinators, can give his interpersonal skills a try!

gether with IFMSA-Mexico we are also working now on an Eating Disorders umbrella project, which we hope will bring together all of the activities concerning eating disorders. Thus far these are Eating Disorders peer education lessons, Fashion Show, workshops for medical students. Through this umbrella project, and gathering all related project ideas, we want to hit the problem with multiplied forces. We strongly believe that together we can make the difference!

So do not hesitate – join us! Don’t wait – be the change you want to be in the world. We will be happy to help you set up this project in your NMO. Please contact us for further details at: or

This is because the ability to communicate is as vital as the medical knowledge. We discuss the symptoms, behavior anomalies, how to count BMIs properly, and the concept of optimal energy demands with those who we meet. Every meeting is a challenge, you never know where the discussion with the 14-year-old is gonna take you! We often end up analyzing the diet for ski-jumpers or answering questions like if you can caught diabetes while touching hands ;) However don’t underestimate the problem. According to statistics almost 4% children at the age of 10-14 suffers from anorexia, and almost 8% from bulimia. This means each time we visit a class we come across one ill student. Eating Disorders won the 2nd award in the category “The Best Presentation” in the Projects Presentations sessions during the 57th General Assembly of IFMSA in Monterrey- Mexico. To-

Issue 2  |  March 2010 Fashion show against anorexia and bulimia Alhelí Calderón Villarreal

Some people stop eating because they are full; others stop because they are empty… Eating disorders are an important problem in youths around the world. The number of adolescents with this disease has been increasing over time. In Mexico City, it was found that 12% of the students (girls) in Junior High School have or had anorexia or bulimia once. Others research shows us that a person with anorexia nervosa, without diagnosis or treatment, has a life expectancy of 5 years.


people with physical health who practice some sport, but with more things. We want especially people who have something more, like playing some musical instrument, speaking many languages, dancing, singing, membership in clubs, and who participate actively in the society. These are the models we want! The second stage is the speeches. Here we prepare lectures on eating disorders for young people. We speak on the prevention, diagnosis, physical consequences - mental and social, as well as treatment. It is so important for young people to be aware of the role they have to play with the people who they love and detect these diseases.

The third stage is the runway. Here the people chosen from casting will be modelling. This is the climax of our Project. The culture of fashion is a very important influence in young people, so we use this as a way of sending a clear message to combat anorexia and bulimia, and to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Eating disorders are not only a health problem, but a cultural problem. When we talk about eating disorders we commonly refer to them only as nutritional and psychiatric problems. However they are also social problems, since we know that in order to be healthy there should be equilibrium among these three elements: social health, physical health and psychological health. Our goal is to help reduce the problem of eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia, to inform as many people as possible about them, to identify new cases, to prevent the emergence of new cases, and to raise awareness about proper nutrition. These projects consist in tree stages: The first stage is the casting for the fashion show. We host a casting where to look for healthy (physically, mentally and socially) young people of the city where we will be doing the project. We ask about eating habits, physical activity, costumes in general, body mass index, blood pressure and artistic activities. We want

We also have stands with information about nutrition, psychiatry, anorexia and bulimia, and information of centers specialized in eating disorders. Today’s society has given the concept of beauty a different meaning, many times based on the weight of the person. This concept makes people with low self-esteem easily fall into these types of diseases. So if we want to be against anorexia and bulimia we have to speak about them, and convince people that they are more than images.

For further information please contact noph_ifmsa_


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

CHRONIC DISEASES Ladies in Red Aleksandra Herbowska

to draw attention to CVD in women and to raise the awareness that CVD is a serious health problem for them.

Should women worry about CVD? Cardiovascular disease. Who is at risk? – does the answer: “men…” first come to your mind? Maybe it should not anymore...? Since 1984, the number of CVD deaths for females has exceeded those for males [American Heart Association]. Although most of the society regard CVD as a man’s problem, but in fact it is the leading killer of women too. Furthermore, all cardiovascular diseases (both heart diseases and stroke) claim the lives of more women than all forms of cancer combined. Misconception’s consequences … There is a perception of part protection against CVD in women, and actually during the fertile age they do have a lower risk of cardiac events.This may result in people underestimating the problem and leaving women with untreated risk factors. However, we know that as women age the risk increases and after menopause it is as high as in men. Moreover, the clinical manifestations of ischaemic heart disease in women is different from in men.

During the activities organized within the project, mainly in shopping centers, we educate women about heart disease and encourage them to take steps to prevent CVD. To reach these aims we teach them how to change their lifestyle habits to healthy ones. We also hand out leaflets concerning the risks of CVD. Moreover, during every action, we provide for women the opportunity to undergo prophylactic examinations. We take their blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar level, and calculate BMI. At the same time, through the project, we make medical students more sensitive to the CVD problem in women and the importance of prevention in medicine. It is very important for us, future doctors, to know the gender differences concerning heart disease, but also to remember that CVD has no gender boundaries and affects women too.

Women are more likely to have shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, back or jaw pain - WHO. Unfortunately the awareness of these facts is very low in the society. This lack of knowledge and the misconceptions that CVD is not a real problem for women, leads to many serious consequences: women tend to ignore symptoms of CVD, do not report them to doctors, and therefore are diagnosed later than men. Get involved in the prevention… In SCOPH, IFMSA-Poland, we have decided to take action in order to change this situation. In 2006 we set up a new project: ‘Ladies in red’. The initiative aims

According to WHO, cardiovascular disease accounts for a third of all women’s deaths worldwide. As medical students, we can change it together! So let’s make women start loving their hearts and showing it by practicing a healthy lifestyle! For more information about the project ‘Ladies in red’ do not hesitate to contact NPO of IFMSA-Poland Zuzanna Pawlikowska at

Issue 2  |  March 2010

9 Men in Black Zuzanna Pawlikowska A manly man. What is crossing your mind when you hear this expression? Tough, strong, self-confident man with no weaknesses? And no health problems? Maybe in a movie… But in real life men are struggling with many health issues, some of them very serious. They are not eager to talk about it, and are visiting the doctor more rarely than women. We decided to fight against the stereotypes. In 2008 in Local Committee Gdansk in Poland, created a project aimed right for men and their health problems: MEN IN BLACK. During the events, mainly in shopping malls, we talk with men encouraging them to get regular medical check-ups. We also offer to measure their blood pressure, blood sugar level, and BMI. We discuss health issues that can be a bit embarrassing, like prostate enlargement, hair loss, and obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. All this in an attractive and bit funny package. There is someone dressed up as real man in black, walking around and advertising our actions. We try to create a man-friendly atmosphere in a scenery connected with motorization, sports etc. Through our project we not only want to increase awareness among middle-aged men, but also to teach students how to reduce the distance between the patient and the doctor. We are creating an opportunity for participants to obtain dependable information from other medical students and doctors involved in the project.

And most importantly, we are trying to prove that a manly man – is a healthy man. For more information contact Zuzanna Pawlikowska at


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

CHRONIC DISEASES Project: Think of your heart

healthier food among future medical doctors also, we prepare fruit day once per week for medical students. Here they can take free fruits and learn some facts about fruits and their good effects on the body.

Barbara Segulin, Monika Turk For nearly a century, cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been the number one killer in Slovenia, responsible for more then one third of all deaths. It is also the major cause of disability, and the trend is still increasing. As medical students and future doctors, we want to make a difference. That is why we have created the project Think of your heart.

This is one of the Slovenian Medical Students International Committee’s (SloMSIC) public health projects which fights against CVD. Our vision is a Slovenia free of CVD. We target young people who can prevent the diseases. Our mission is to educate them about CVD and motivate them for a healthy lifestyle. We run various activities to achieve this. Our biggest event is The Think of your heart run held in April every year since 2006. We organize runs on 2km, 4km and 10km. There is no entrance fee, anyone can participate, and all receive awards. At the same time we do screening for CVD. People can get their blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels tested. We also inform them on how to take care of their hearts. We promote healthy food and host professional runners who advise people on how to train correctly. All these activities are for free. Last year more than 1100 runners of all ages and over 2000 other visitors took part in it. Once per month we organize mini congresses with some cardiovascular topic assigned for the general public. The lectures are delivered by professors of cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, diabetes, and psychiatry. The aim is to acknowledge public about the newest ways of curing and preventing CVD. Last year we had 6 such congresses, all were attended with at least 200 listeners. Because we want to promote

This year’s goal is to start running workshops with peer-to-peer education about CVD in high schools. Peer education methods have already been proven as one of the most successful ways of educating youths. In cooperation with many professionals from different fields, we have been designing our workshop for 2 years now. The first workshops in high schools are planned for March 2010. They will be run by peer educators, who attended professional educational workshops and training in peer-to-peer education, which were organized in February 2010. All these activities together make a harmonic entirety – the project Think of your heart. There are about 40 medical student volunteers involved in the project, who work together as a big family. We are also a very enthusiastic group with lots of new ideas, which we are still developing. Moreover we have the knowledge, experience and energy with which, we believe, can make a difference and invert the trend of CVDs in Slovenia. As you can see we are very active through the whole year. We have already been very successful and we know that together we can achieve even more!

Since CVD is a problem not only in Slovenia, you can also do something about it in your country, starting from yourself… So, think of your heart and join us! For further information contact: or visit:

Issue 2  |  March 2010 You have only one heart! Malgorzata Lurzynska When your heart beats, it means you are alive. It is definitely the main reason to keep this organ healthy. Many factors from our environment are responsible for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) - a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. In 2005 CVDs represented 1/3 of global deaths [WHO]. However the majority of CVDs are preventable and controllable. In IFMSA-Poland we introduced the project You have only one heart to reduce risks of heart diseases through local activities. The challenge is to deliver interventions, which promote behavioral changes in individuals and in the population as a whole. Because in Poland we find the worst situation in small cities and villages, where the approach to information is more difficult than in big cities, we decided to target the project to inhabitants of rural areas in our country. IFMSA-Poland Members’ Strategy


Smart ways to outmaneuver common obstacles Besides conducting examinations, medical students educate society on how to protect themselves from CVD. CVD can be avoided trough healthy diet, regular physical activity, and not smoking. The boost to change our bad habits is the vision of having a healthy heart. So it can beat longer for our soul mates, families and friends... And the love we can give is the most beautiful aim of our existence. So it is worth keeping the heart healthy, because it is only one…

During the project we organize routine examinations, for free, in rural areas. This is done mostly in small local health centers or schools, and are for everyone interested. The medical students check patients’ BMI, blood pressure, level of blood glucose and cholesterol, and also give ECGs. After getting all these examinations, the patient has the opportunity to get a cardiologist’s consultation. The doctors invited by us for the local actions, interpret the results and explain difficult problems.

As there is a need to lower the incidence, morbidity and mortality of CVD worldwide, you can also make a difference by implementing this project in your own NMO and Local Committee! For more information about the project, please contact Zuzanna Pawlikowska at The project ‘You have only one heart’ is highly successful- we have screened over 500 patients in 2008. This initiative, stimulated by results, motivates project members to develop their medical skills and to learn how to talk to patients.


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

CHRONIC DISEASES Health in dance steps Alina Soboteac OMS estimates that between 60-85% of the world’s population lead a sedentary lifestyle, and about 2040% of them are youths. Since its creation, the Students Federation of Medicine in Romania (FASMR), in the Committee on Public Health (SCOPH), has organized campaigns to promote healthy lifestyles and to combat inactivity. This is carried out in the most traditional universities from Romania, developing in this way a relevant experience in this field.

cle tension. Emotionally speaking, it increases confidence, promotes interaction between people, and is a way of expressing feelings. Beneficiaries of the project are the students from the universities involved in the program and FASMA volunteers; and by extension their parents, friends and peers. Students spend time learning dance moves, along with their dance instructors, during the project. After learning the dances from the theme, there will be a selection of 3 teams from each university, to represent that Local Committee in the national competition. Different themes are chosen for each edition of the dances. For example, the present themes are Waltz (Viennese or Slow), cha-cha, rock `n roll, and one surprise dance theme. The Objectives of the project are: 1. To promote health among participants by learning about healthy lifestyles, and the physical and mental aspects required for optimum living 2. To contribute to the personal development of students through improving self-knowledge, building a positive self-image, teamwork, and a competitive spirit 3. To prevention sedentary behavior, and negative attitudes towards oneself and others.

The results of scientific studies, conducted on the health effects of dance therapy, indicate its effectiveness in improving self-esteem and reducing stress. These results and the desire to motivate the population to have healthy habits drove us to start the prevention among young people, through dance. ”Health in the dance steps” is a national project which is conducted in the universities Bucharest, Craiova, Sibiu, and Oradea. The project is for all students, whether or not they have danced in front of the mirror or practiced dance in sports competitions! The project aims to implement a healthy lifestyle among students from the medicine faculties, in an elegant and fun manner. Its main benefits are promoting health in general, relief of stress, anguish, anxiety, physical tension, chronic pain, and reduction of the symptoms of depression. It is good physical exercise which increases mobility and muscle coordination, and reduces mus-

It is expected that the project impact on the targeted groups will be increased, because of this ritual for preventing inactivity and unhealthy lifestyles. The students will receive the necessary information about the importance of physical activity in maintaining their physical and mental health. We also observe their smooth development as individuals, leading to a better understanding of themselves. “To achieve great things, we must not only act, but also to dream; not only to plan but also to believe.” (Anatole France) Contact Soboteac Alina at

Issue 2  |  March 2010


SUBSTANCE ABUSE Substance Abuse and Dependence Bojan Sekeres

“Future doctors - knowledge in the fight against substance abuse” One of the main problems in today’s society is certainly drug addiction. Aware of the fact that youth is the group that is increasingly abusing drugs, we think that medical students should help and educate their own generation. Medical students, being future doctors, should be constantly educated in the prevention and rehabilitation of drug addiction. Furthermore we should also be up to date with newest research findings within this field. There are many prevention programs which should be promoted through education at our universities. This includes different epidemiological researches, detection of drug presence in urine, overcoming prejudices, etc. It is well known that many diseases in different medical fields are connected with the use of psychoactive substances, which are very often a cause or a consequence of disease. The main aim of this project is to raise awareness about the dependencies and risks substance abuse brings, and accepting responsible behavior towards yourself and others. Raising knowledge and skills will enable young people to face challenges and pressures of society, and to organize their free time well. With this project, we have created cooperation between SCOPH and psychiatry professors. With the support from the Dean of our medical school, we have started a peer education project for medical students, to raise the necessary knowledge and to transfer skills necessary to improve the working quality of physicians in this field. In the first stage of the project, we had intensive five day trainings for students representing every year of medical school. We educated them using standardized methodologies of peer education and by preparing educational material and literature on dependence disorders (epidemiology, diagnostics, treatment, prevention, and research). In the second stage of the project, trained students - now being peer educators, educated other medical students through the facilitation of workshops. The third stage of the project included spreading education among other university faculties and other uni-

versities in our country. Since the results of this project have showed a great need for education of youth in this field, we would really like to spread and develop the project among other countries. For more information, please contact our project coordinators: Bojan Sekeres (bsekeres@ and Ana Vilotijevic (avilotijevic@gmail. com)


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

SUBSTANCE ABUSE Young People for a Life Without Tobacco: Action for Prevention Iosifina Dimitra Papageorgiou Since 2008 the Hellenic Medical Students’ International Committee (HelMSIC) has created a peer education network of medical students. These students are trained and educated to share their knowledge through training workshops. The first objective of this project is having trained medical students capable of informing peers about tobacco use and smoking cessation. The second is to intervene at Primary and Secondary School to inform pupils about smoking. In addition, the network provides support to University and College students who desire to quit smoking.

The training of students includes a two day seminar. Students are trained using interactive lectures, role playing games, open discussions, flyers and other materials on cd-roms. The main issues on which the medical students are educated are: the European Youth Manifesto and how it is connected with the project, the history and prevalence of smoking, the mechanism of nicotine addiction and withdrawal symptoms, active and passive smoking and its consequences, communication skills for approaching smokers and passive smokers, strategies of intervention for preventing smoking and quitting smoking, psychological support skills for smokers that quit, and available treatments for directing smokers to the appropriate health care professional. Interventions are then conducted by a team of trained medical students for the two last grades of Primary school and the first grade of Secondary school. The

interventions last for about 2 hours. The educational methodology implemented is modern and includes interactive lectures, role playing games, and open discussion. The main issues on which the children are trained are: the advantages of not smoking, the main things that could trick children into smoking, passive smoking, and people’s right to be healthy. We also empower children to say “No” to smoking.

The estimated number of participants in the seminars is about 300 students in total. HelMSIC’s structure has allowed us to create a students’ network of more than 120 trained medical students who are committed to this project. In addition to this, there have been trained almost 80 children. During the last years our project has had a positive impact on both students and children, since it has raised their awareness concerning smoke issues and empowered them to defend their right to cleaner air and cleaner lungs.

Issue 2  |  March 2010

All medical students can participate in this project by getting trained, then by training new trainers, and finally by participating in the school interventions. Additionally, we are about to create a seminar targeting teachers of primary and secondary schools. The trained medical students are going to inform them on tobacco issues. In this way, our project is going to be better supported by the teachers and the interventions are going to be more effective.

This project has improved the participants’ environment since it has raised their awareness on issues with smoking and empowered them to defend their right to cleaner air and cleaner lungs. Also, the creation of the peer to peer network is not only a method used so as improve the learning process, but it is apparently also an effective way of spreading the word as far as tobacco prevention is regarded. Contact:



SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

Infectious Diseases Tuberculosis Huzeifa Gabir Historical View Consumption, phthisis, phthisis pulmonalis, scrofula, wasting disease, white plague, king’s evil, vampirism or Koch’s disease. Many names were given to the monster to which 2 billion people worldwide are exposed, according to the World Health Organization. This makes tuberculosis one of the fastest spreading infectious diseases.

According to regional prevalence Asia Pacific & Africa are the most infected regions due to the extremely low socioeconomic standards in these regions. Within the last decades, Europe and America have experienced resurgence of TB, which is related to the strong correlation between TB infection and HIV/AIDS.

The study of tuberculosis dates back to “The Canon of Medicine” written by Ibn Sina in the 1020s. He was the first physician who identified pulmonary tuberculosis as a contagious disease and developed the method of quarantine in order to limit the spread of tuberculosis. The bacillus causing tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, was identified and described on March 24th 1882 by Robert Koch for which he was awarded with the Nobel Prize in 1905. Hopes that the disease could be completely eliminated have been dashed since the rise of multi‐drug resistant strains in the 1980s. The following resurgence of tuberculosis resulted in the declaration of a global health emergency by the World Health Organization in 1993. In the 20th century, tuberculosis killed an estimated 100 million people. Epidemiology Annually 8 million people become infected with tuberculosis, and 2 million people worldwide die from the disease. The annual incidence rate varies from 356 per 100,000 in Africa to 41 per 100,000 in Americas. Tuberculosis is the world’s greatest infectious killer of women of reproductive age and the leading cause of death among people with HIV/AIDS, and about third of the world’s population is infected by the TB bacillus. According to the Stop‐TB Partnership, which IFMSA is a member of, 20 countries represent 80% of all TB cases in the world. These countries are: India, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa, Ethiopia, Philippines, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Russian Federation, Viet Nam, United Republic of Tanzania, Brazil, Uganda, Thailand, Mozambique, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, and Afghanistan.

Riskfactors • People with low socioeconomic standards exposed to inadequate hygiene standards - slums, overcrowded areas with insufficient ventilation e.g. refugees & Internally Displaced Persons camps. • Inadequate education and poor access to health care • Immune suppression: Malnutrition, Poverty, HIV/AIDS, Drug abuse, Alcoholism Main Goals of WHO & Other Major Institutions: • Raising awareness about the disease and how to control it • Supporting government policies in treating and eradicating the disease through ministries of health and hospitals • Encouraging research towards more updates and understanding of the disease • Inventing new drugs especially towards resistant strains, aiming to control, eradicate, and decrease the burden of TB towards global health and the economy Medical students’ role What is effective? Medical students can play a major role in their soci-

Issue 2  |  March 2010

ety by raising awareness about the disease. This can be achieved through campaigns and celebrations of World Tuberculosis Day aimed at the public, high risk groups, and medical students - future doctors. This is highly effective and represents the real power of medical students. The prevention of the disease is the most powerful tool regarding disease control and eradication. So what can you do? Organize an awareness campaign Tell people about TB, the ways to prevent and to treat TB. Use posters, leaflets and flyers. Also try to get more attention by asking the TV or newspapers to report your activities.

Advocate against TB Demand attention and speak as the voice of medical students. Collect signatures and write statements to put pressure on your Ministry of Health and government to take action against TB. Be active on the World TB Day It is celebrated on the 24th of March within IFMSA and all over the world. Share your plans and ideas with SCOPHians from all over the world. What is not effective? Activities like mass X-Ray screenings, treatment of patients, vaccinations or any other specific measure, are not as effective for students to do. Medical students cannot support activities like these as they cost a lot of money and require alot of effort. Moreover, these measures are already implemented in the main plans and duties of health authorities in many countries. What medical students can do though is advocate the importance of this process and encour-


age authorities to allocate more financial resources for this goal. ImportantLinks: For further information contact


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

Infectious Diseases

Vaccination Week In The Americas 2009 Knakita Clayton-Johnson In 2009, SCOPH Americas decided to celebrate Vaccination Week in the Americas as one of our SCOPH regional projects. We feel that as medical students, we have a very important role to play in limiting the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases in our communities. We decided that an educational campaign would be the most feasible and effective way for us to make a difference. We had activities in three of our NMOs: IFMSA Peru, JAMSA (Jamaica), and ACOME (Colombia). We targeted 3 main groups: New parents, Younger Children and their Parents, and a rural community. We will taught new mothers about the importance of vaccinations. This was carried out in postnatal clinics and wards, by giving small talks for the mothers along with the staff. Discussions were carried out using appropriate language and visual aids. Custom designed pamphlets were given out to the participants. We also left copies of same with the hospital staff for them to distribute to patients on their own. This was to ensure that even after VWA had passed, there would still be some continuity of the educational campaign. We had workshops / play sessions with children about vaccinations. We taught them what vaccinations were and how they work. We also went through the procedure and tried to dispel their fears about vaccination through playful interaction using play syringes and vaccination stickers. Information packages were also created for the children to carry home to their parents. In this way, 2 target groups were reached through one project. This project was also carried out in rural and indigenous communities in one of our NMOs. This provided important vaccination information to persons who generally do not have good access to health care. This is particularly vulnerable group as because of their cultural beliefs, lack of knowledge, and lack os access, they are at increased risk for vaccine preventable diseases.

We are very happy with the outcome of this project and we intend to further develop this within our own NMOs. It is always a pity when a life is lost or forever changed as a result of an infection which could have easily been prevented. We would like to encourage other NMOs to become involved in this project as well. Vaccination is an act of love. For more information contact

Issue 2  |  March 2010



e-Poster Campaign lieve our e-posters can contribute to a healthier, more James Gauci Have you ever created a poster? Did you spend ages choosing which noticeboard to hang it up? Did you try all sorts of different positions, wondering which one would attract most attention? Our e-Poster Campaign has solved this problem. It involves the creation of e-posters containing a message promoting health – but with one difference. The posters are distributed through the internet, aiming to deliver basic medical facts to as many people as possible. You are more likely to read an e-poster if it pops up in your inbox than if it’s hung up on the noticeboard you rush past everyday! E-posters raise awareness on several health-related topics, ranging from obesity to sun protection to the use of antibiotics. Every two months, the e-Poster coordinator comes up with a list of possible topics and encourages the Maltese SCOPHians to choose one by means of a vote. Once a topic is chosen, the e-Poster coordinator designs the poster and comes up with some basic relevant facts related to that topic, using reliable sources, such as medical textbooks, to guide him. He also liases with the Marketing team and the NPO, who provide feedback on the design and the content. The e-poster is also reviewed by qualified doctors, competent in that particular area of medicine. It is then time to distribute it! The Maltese SCOPH team has come up with several ways in which the e-posters can be distributed effectively, both on a national and international level. First of all, the e-poster is placed in a prominent place on the MMSA website and on the website of the Students’ Council of the University of Malta. It is also sent on the mailing lists of several other student organizations. The e-poster is also featured on social networks such as Facebook, and MMSA members are encouraged to distribute it via email to their English-speaking contacts – their friends, work mates or relatives living in Malta or abroad. Bearing in mind that prevention is better than cure, this campaign is a simple tool which allows us to leave our mark on health issues which affect the Maltese public. It is a relatively new campaign which we are constantly revamping in order to maximize on its circulation. You too can contribute to this campaign by setting one up yourself in your NMO, or by distributing our e-posters to as many people as possible. We be-

informed generation.

For more information on the campaign, contact: Luke Zammit – e-Poster Campaign Coordinator, MMSAMalta ( or James Gauci – National Public Health Officer, MMSA-Malta (scoph@


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

COMMUNITY SUPPORT Health Week / Medical Mission Huzeifa Gabir The Health Week (also named Medical Mission) is one of the biggest initiatives that reach, support and educate our communities. The project is already celebrating its 40th birthday and every medical mission reaches around 250,000 people in rural areas, to educate them about health and support them in their daily life issues. The impact of this project is magnificent and even harder to imagine. There is no other single activity within IFMSA, which is comparable – and it can also become a reality in your country… At the present the activities are being organized mainly in some African National Member Organization’s - Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana & Mozambique. The differences between the activities in each country depend on the way of gaining people attraction. Thus in Sudan they depend on attracting people through offering free health services - Clinics, investigations & medications. In Ghana they depend on Publications (e.g. leaflets), while in Nigeria it is better to use shows and musicals. But how is it possible? The idea is to coordinate all medical students of a faculty or even all national medical students to visit the rural areas of the country. They get a week off by their Dean to attend this project and go by buses to all parts of the country. Teams of 100 students spend a week in one region of the country. They prepare their accommodation, food and the possibilities to reach as many people as possible, before going there in collaboration with the local authorities. They approach people at the mosque/church, schools, streets, houses, markets or at faculties, talking to them about one common topic, e.g. healthy lifestyle or maternal health. How to start a National Health Week? If you want to apply this project idea, to promote public health in your country, you have to consider three things: availability and transport of students and the local community. You can look for money from the government, university, a sponsor or even sharing the costs amongst participating students.93 Local Community You have to think about the best way to approach the locals. To make this possible you will need to get in contact with the local government or the traditional chief of this area/village. They will need to organize

accommodation and food for the students and arrange meetings at the mosque/church, schools, streets, houses, markets or at faculties and wherever else you can approach a lot of people. International participation A new innovation in the project is that we are offering all medical students from any country, who are interested in participating in such project, the opportunity to participate. Through participation you can gain great experience about tropical diseases and enjoy all of the beautiful sights in those countries. If you are worried about the language and knowledge barriers, don’t, because a program is already planned to avoid such problems. All steps will be announced in the general IFMSA servers. At the end I think I have to say this is a unique project. It pushes the idea of being ‘effective’ to its limit and the organizing countries can be more than proud of it. Every NMO of IFMSA should think about how to adapt this project to its own country’s needs. It is a fantastic concept which can be organized all over the world – also in your NMO. For further information feel free to contact Huzeifa_

Issue 2  |  March 2010


Sudan International Medical Mission (SIMM) Mustafa Hatim Sudan is the largest country in Africa. It covers an area of one million square miles and there are more than 40 million people living in this vast country. These people are distributed through different cities, however the majority of them live in rural areas. Many of them lack essential primary health care and even more live below the poverty line. They have in mind alot of bad habits and wrong beliefs about health issues. For a long time, different parts of Sudan suffered from war and political conflicts. All this made the health status of Sudan resemble many African, Asian and Latin Americans countries. Medical students in Sudan decided not to stand by and do nothing! Therefore more than 45 years ago they started the so called recently “medical missions”. The project aims to raise the level of health status in all the land of Sudan West, North, East, and South. It began in a simple manner, but year after year the project took on a wider spectrum and the number of students participating in these journeys increased and so did the area of coverage. Now they are travelling in almost all regions of the country, crossing deserts, valleys, and forests, trying to improve the level of health education in these rural and suburban areas. As earlier mentioned, the project started long time ago but it still took a local form. Now we are trying to make a real change by converting this project into an international forum representing Sudan externally, and meanwhile having a better performance in all sites from organization and funding. Sudan International Medical Mission (SIMM) Project is one of the Community Development Based projects that is run by SCOPH-Sudan. We concentrate on one area in every mission, to enhance the interaction between international medical students, leading to the efficient enhancement of students’ capabilities. Besides health education, students will also offer some medical services to people; free clinics, free investigations, free medications and referrals if required. This is done through collaboration between students, lab technicians, and doctors. The project provides a unique chance for all medical students around the world to participate in a highly standardized program focusing on tropical diseases. One of the project’s aims is to raise the awareness and knowledge of medical students about the tropical diseases, their causes, pathogenesis, clinical

manifestations, and treatments. The project also aims to provide medical students from all over the world with suitable knowledge about the major health problems in this part of the world. Many medical missions are done every year. The next medical mission, planned to be in the middle of February 2010, is targeting a state in eastern Sudan known as Algadarif state. This state is located between longitudes 33 º.30 and 36 º. 30 East, and latitudes 12º.40 and 15º.46 North. It is a large state with an area of over 71,000 square kilometers and a population with more than 1.7 million. The state is bordered by Ethiopia in the East, not so far from “Lake Tana” the source of the Blue Nile. The local community depends mostly on agriculture as an economical resource beside animal resources. This area of the country suffers from several medical problems and many tropical endemics are common such as malaria and schistosomiasis, but most notorious of all is the endemic Kala-azar. Being close to the Ethiopian border made the state a shelter for tens of thousands of Ethiopian refugees, it also made the state suffer from AIDS. Malnutrition, especially among children, is so common. Cultural beliefs and traditions such as female genital mutilation (FGM) take place daily in the local communities. All these and other problems made that area a target for our next mission. I would like to thank you for giving us the chance to introduce our project, and I am taking this opportunity to invite all dear IFMSA members to participate in Sudan International Medical Mission (SIMM). I would like to urge all those with an interest to aid us helping in eradicating the many problems occurring today for the good of humanity. For further Project Information contact almatador90@


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

CHILD HEALTH Smile X Diana Tashkova, Alessandro Raffaele

Fun, pleasure, emotions, unforgettable moments, and many many smiles. These are some of the memories that appear in the minds of all participants of the famous Smile X project! Let’s go back four years to get to know this project’s history. It has been proven that hospital experiences can seriously influence an individual’s development. Based on this, some very creative Italian students decided to act. They found an easy way to introduce patients to the world of people with white clothes and serious faces, strange beds, and different smells and sounds. In order to create a less stressful atmosphere inside hospitals, they introduced clowntherapy. Nowadays, the project based on these methods is carried out by clowns / medical students, not only in Italy, but also in Brazil, Peru, Catalonia, and Ecuador.

With focus

the on

Smile three


project we main things:

1. Health is regarded by WHO (World Health Organization) as a state of complete physical,

mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. We should fight diseases completely and from different angles, caring also about the mental well-being of patients. Apart from normal medical procedures, we all have a small instrument that is the best way to achieve this purpose: a smile! It is a great way also to reduce stress in doctor-patient contact.

2. Healthcare systems: nowadays, hospitals are not the ideal place to ensure health. Doctors have to fight, not only with diseases, but also with the economic budget. Wheat’s more, they have a lot of patients, but only limited time for each of them. Therefore, it seems very important to introduce to the treatment protocols also some human feelings, such as love in all its forms: clownery, poetry, magic tricks, or simply hugs and smiles. We want to make doctors see first a person and then a disease. 3. Educational model: we want to show medical students, future doctors, some different unconventional ways of approaching a patient. We want to teach them how to be happy, funny, optimistic, how to care about persons and be closer to their problems. This way we can reach not only paediatric patients but also adults and elders. Everyone needs our love. However, in university we are taught by professors how to solve a clinical

Issue 2  |  March 2010 case, but not how to give love to a patient. And this is what we want to teach you! Smile X project helps to prevent fear and ensures higher quality of treatment by games, music, and body-language used in clown therapy. This is a certain way to distract patients from pain and treatment. Our clowns provide positive emotions and enjoyment. Clown therapy creates an environment in which fear and insecurity are reduced. All this is achieved by having a good communication – talking the same language as patients. With the efforts of all the participants, the main result of the project is minimisation of anxiety and stress experienced by patients in an unfamiliar hospital setting. This project is a tool to enhance the patients emotional and social health. In the future, when our students are Doctors, even if they work in the hospital without wearing a red nose, the smallest mask in the world, they will do everything as a clown does - caring and loving patients while fighting against diseases. So, what are you waiting for?

Contact Smile X International Coordinator and bring smiles in your country! For more information contact us at

23 Build Up Your Bones Malgorzata Lurzynska, Zuzanna Pawlikowska It happens in all age groups. It concerns men and women, rich and poor, black and white. It can be a result of serious accident, or just a slip. A bone fracture. Painful, sometimes complicated, temporary or permanent, but always a disability. We cannot always prevent it – but we can lower its incidence, minimize the complications, and make the treatment easier. IFMSA-Poland has created a unique project called Build Up Your Bones. As you will see, the target group of this project is quite wide. However so is the methodology, and to be honest… looking from the distance, even its authors are saying: wow.

What do we do? Our main goal is to raise awareness of osteoporosis and the health threats that go along with this disease. We want to raise the level of education, medical care, and prophylaxis among the society, in the hope that individual education about healthy lifestyles will decrease the chance of fragility fractures in the future. We strongly believe, that by giving proper knowledge, we can help people to help themselves. We would like also to draw medical students’ attention to the medi-


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

CHILD HEALTH cal, social, and economical problems of the complications of osteoporosis. By evaluating the incidence of osteoporosis in women participating in the project and their knowledge of osteoporosis prophylaxis, we can possess some interesting medical data which we can use in our further actions. How do we do it? We educate our first target group - children in the age of growing - to take care of their skeletal system. The method should be attractive for kids, so the best option is teaching and fun at the same time. We often have a discussion with children about the importance of the level of calcium and vitamin D, suitable diet, team sports - so…everything that makes their bones stronger. IFMSA-Poland created the story about Kostek. He is a small bone character used as the primary mascot of the project. He got the knowledge about the strong skeletal system from his grandmother. Kostek shares the idea of getting stronger with his friends, and they have many adventures as they aim to become the strongest of bones. The information is contained in the book where the children can also find challenges and exercises to solve. There is also a chapter for their parents with information about how to take a proper care of their children and how important early prophylaxis in bone fractures is.

Our second target group is adults – especially women in menopause and at postmenopausal age. We organize local activities in the shopping malls, Senior Clubs, 3rd Age Universities etc. where people can get to know something about prevention of osteoporosis and measure the risk of fracture using FRAX method. We can also organize a special health event to encourage people to make changes in their lives. One of the ideas is nordic-walking on 23th of October, 2010 on 12.00 BMT on the International Osteoporosis Day, all around the country at the same time, against the fate of osteoporosis. As you see there are many ways to achieve our goals. Osteoporosis is a real, dangerous, and often underestimated problem. Together we can join our efforts and take action. Action that can integrate IFMSA members. Action for the idea. Join us! Contact Project Coordinator Malgorzata Lurzynska ( or NPO Zuzanna Pawlikowska (

Issue 2  |  March 2010


Teddy Bear Hospital The Teddy Bear Hospital must be one of the most playful projects run by medical students because it is so popular within SCOPH of the IFMSA and within the European Medical Students Association – EMSA! Let’s see: “Hospital for Teddy Bears”? Sounds weird? The idea behind is quite simple in fact! We aim to introduce the clinical examination to children aged between 4-6 in a playful way in order to reduce their fears and at the same time provide an opportunity for medical students to learn more about pediatrics and interaction with children. Let the magic begin, children become parents and teddy bears their ill little ones! Through their own personal toy and without the stress of being the patient children come in contact with the hospital scenery. Parallel to this, through the role of parents children feel safe and interested in what is going on in front of them. They learn how to be responsible and realise that visiting a doctor is not something they should be afraid of. And the game starts! Does your belly hurt? We should give you a little of this fantastic syrup “Strawberrex”. Is your Teddy sick because of too much chocolate? Daddy’s kiss was not enough to make it feel better? Don’t worry our doctors are there to help you! The teddy-doc’s must face poisons, broken tails and beaks but through using their imagination they always manage to apply the right treatment!

In the end, children feel so comfortable with us, that they start asking questions about auscultating their own hearts, taking pride in the fact that “they are not afraid of doctors”! When we ask them what they want to become when they grow up we love getting the answer, “DOCTOR!!!” The procedure shown above is just the main concept, since medical students in different countries have adjusted this to their needs, circumstances and limitations as well as course ideas!

It is therefore not coincidental that more than 34 National Member Organisation’s have chosen to run this project and that thousands of children play with us each year. It’s such a simple and attractive idea and importantly it has to do with children, our future. Public Health without prevention is just not an option! For further information please contact International Coordinator:


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

Teddy Bear under Christmas tree Aleksandra Herbowska “There is Santa here!” – looking out through the patient rooms’ door the children are shouting with disbelief and happiness. Santa and his helpers are visiting them, singing carols and giving out gifts. For that moment the children and their parents can forget about illness and fear, and they can simply rejoice at the Christmas atmosphere, even in hospital.

This is why every year more and more Local Committees of IFMSA-Poland, and other medical students, join the project “Teddy Bear under the Christmas tree” - the initiative which aims to bring happiness to children who have to stay in hospitals during Christmas. The project attracts medical students, giving them the opportunity to learn how to interact with hospitalized children. They also gain experience in organizing charity events, including parties, lotteries, movie evenings, and concerts. All this to collect money to buy the gifts for little patients.

The students involved in the activities feel a great satisfaction and assure of taking part in it next year, always considering their work as a great success for their Local Committees. Doctors, parents, and the media know well of the initiative and look forward to supporting us in the project each year. “Teddy Bear under the Christmas tree” won the 1st award in category “The Best Presentation” in the Projects Presentations sessions during the 57th General Assembly of the IFMSA in Ocho Rios- Jamaica.

You too can also join Santa’s Team! For more information about the project ‘Ladies in red’ do not hesitate to contact NPO of IFMSA-Poland Zuzanna Pawlikowska at

Issue 2  |  March 2010 Save The African Child Huzeifa Gabir There are 12 million children dying every year from malnutrition and malaria. The statistics also show that 170 million children are malnourished. All these may seem to be surprising as we could prevent it easily, while e.g. malaria treatment and bed nets cost just $4. If try to summarize the African child problems, we come up with the following issues: war, child traffic, illiteracy, poverty, child abuse, homelessness and finally bad health status, which is also caused by the above factors. We can better realize how big these problems are if we look at them from the social aspect and think about the examples from real life. In Khartoum (the capital of Sudan), there are over 35,000 street children. This fact is even more shocking when we get to know that most of them choose to be on the streets in order to escape child abuse. To highlight the problems and fight against them, many projects have been created relating to child health in Africa. These are all now integrated and included under the umbrella project: Save the African Child, which is a frame work and initiative to coordinate them all. In our activities we decided to focus on the following problems: Street children. To prevent this problem we counsel on the building of good families by organising symposiums, home to home visits, exhibitions, and peer education on health issues aimed at those in reproductive age. Moreover, we educate children about health hazards they may face on the streets - hygiene, rape, drug abuse, Infectious diseases etc. We also organise medical days with free clinics, investigations, and medications. To reintegrate children into society we offer them psychological support by employing the mental health group, and outreaches to show them some love. Malnutrition. We cope with this problem by health education for mothers on feeding practices, as well as encouraging families to space the children. Child abuse. We believe that the awareness in the community about different forms of abuse is still very low. Therefore we try to change this and highlight the problem through organised exhibitions, visits, and symposiums. At the same time we try to encourage people to report such cases so that the offenders can


be punished. Maternal health. In this area, we find it important to provide mothers with health education and to advocate for free antenatal care for them. Many actions were organised for each area, medical days, health education days, fun & gifts days, ARM 07 & 08 under the theme ‘’Save an African Child’’, SWGs in regional meetings…etc. We are planning to continue our struggle to support the African child. Please join us if you would like to offer any kind of help. For further information you can visit SCOPH African Regional Yahoogroup: or contact:


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

Young sanitarians Florea Anca Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or AD/ HD) or Hyperkinetic Disorder is generally considered as Neurobehavioral developmental disease in nature. The disorder typically presents itself during childhood, and is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or, as well as hyperactivity and forgetfulness. It is a health condition involving biologically active substances in the brain. ADHD may affect certain areas of the brain that allow problem solving, planning ahead, understanding others’ actions, and impulse control.

Its symptoms can be difficult to differentiate from other disorders, increasing the likelihood that the diagnosis of ADHD will be missed or vice versa. Additionally, most clinicians have not received formal training in the assessment and treatment of ADHD. Definitions and theories of its cause have changed over the years since it was first recognized as a syndrome in the 1860s by Dr. George Beard, who called it neurasthenia; He believed it to be neurosis with a fatigue component.

The other risk factor is that the reaction towards the symptoms of the disorder is likely to be a negative attitude from the child family due to lack of information. Mothers seem to understand the case as their children are much smarter.

ADHD is the most commonly studied and diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children, affecting about 3 to 5% of children globally with symptoms starting before seven years of age. ADHD is a common chronic disorder in children with 30 to 50% of those individuals diagnosed in childhood continuing to have symptoms into adulthood. Adolescents and adults with ADHD tend to develop coping mechanisms to compensate for some or all of their impairments. However, many aspects of daily life that most people take for granted are rendered more difficult by the symptoms of ADHD.

The key symptoms for diagnosis include being easily distracted, miss details, forget things, having difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new, having trouble completing or turning assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys) needed to complete activities, having difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as fellows, dashing around, touching

Issue 2  |  March 2010 Orphanage Initiative in Romania Irina Preda Our mission is to fill the emotional gaps of children living in orphanages in Romania and to try to turn them into socially adapted grown-ups. This is possible through a constant interaction with medical students. Our goals are: • Developing the relational capacity of the children. • Developing team spirit and the fair-play. • Stimulating the children’s creativity • Giving the children proper hygiene and healthy eating education. • Improving the children’s vocabulary (both Romanian and English). • The continuous education of the medical students. • Motivating the institution’s staff by the help we give in the children’s education. The project’s activity splits in two main periods: during the university school year and during the summer holiday. During the school year, Romanian medical students have weekly activities with the children in one or two orphanages in their cities. The activities are chosen by the local coordinator for each institution and they try to meet the children’s specific needs. Generally, there are activities that stimulate the creativity of the children through games or workshops with specific themes. This is alternated with educational discussions about hygiene, alcohol or drugs. In this 1st period we also have thematic parties for the children, special events on Easter and Christmas, end of school party, and International Children’s Day – which is also the Orphanage Initiative’s day. The second part of our project is called the orphanage exchange and it takes place during the summer holiday for three weeks. During this period, medical students from all over the world are invited to volunteer in the project and work side by side with the Romanian volunteers. This is a very important part of our project as foreign volunteers bring more stimulation for the children, due to the new culture they meet and also due to the language barriers they will come upon. This is also a very good opportunity for the children to learn to speak English, but it is also a challenge of finding new ways of communication, other than the usual one.

29 With all these activities we want to help the orphans or abandoned children to develop properly, both physically and mentally, and to become more socially adapted teenagers and grownups, and also better integrated. For more info about our project and how to apply for the Orphanage Exchange: or visit


SCOPH Projects’ Booklet

Issue 2  |  March 2010


Armenia (AMSP) Australia (AMSA) Austria (AMSA) Azerbaijan (AzerMDS) Bahrain (IFMSA-BH) Bolivia (IFMSA Bolivia) Bosnia and Herzegovina (BoHeMSA) Bosnia and Herzegovina - Rep. of Srpska (SaMSIC) Brazil (DENEM) Brazil (IFMSA Brazil) Bulgaria (AMSB) Burkina Faso (Burkina Faso) Burundi (ABEM) Canada (CFMS) Canada-Quebec (IFMSA-Quebec) Catalonia - Spain (AECS) Chile (IFMSA-Chile) China (IFMSA-China) Colombia (ACOME) Colombia (ASCEMCOL) Costa Rica (ACEM) Cote d’Ivoire (IFMSA Cote d’Ivoire) Croatia (CroMSIC) Czech Republic (IFMSA CZ) Denmark (IMCC) Ecuador (IFMSA-Ecuador) Egypt (IFMSA - Egypt) El Salvador (IFMSA El Salvador) Estonia (EstMSA) Ethiopia (EMSA) Finland (FiMSIC) France (ANEMF) Georgia (GeoMSA) Germany (BVMD) Ghana (FGMSA) Greece (HelMSIC) Grenada (IFMSA - Grenada) Hong Kong (AMSAHK) Hungary (HuMSIRC) Iceland (IMSIC) Indonesia (CIMSA-ISMKI) Iran (IFMSA - Iran) Israel (FIMS) Italy (SISM) Jamaica (JAMSA) Japan (IFMSA-Japan) Jordan (IFMSA – Jo) Kuwait (KuMSA)

Kyrgyzstan (MSPA Kyrgyzstan) Latvia (LaMSA Latvia) Lebanon (LeMSIC) Libya (LMSA) Lithuania (LiMSA) Luxembourg (ALEM) Malta (MMSA) Mexico (IFMSA-Mexico) Montenegro (MoMSIC Montenegro) Mozambique (IFMSA-Mozambique) Nepal (NMSS) New Zealand (NZMSA) Nigeria (NiMSA) Norway (NMSA) Oman (SQU – MSG) Pakistan (IFMSA-Pakistan) Palestine (IFMSA-Palestine) Panama (IFMSA-Panama) Peru (APEMH) Peru (IFMSA Peru) Philippines (AMSA-Philippines) Poland (IFMSA-Poland) Portugal (PorMSIC) Romania (FASMR) Russian Federation (HCCM) Rwanda (MEDSAR) Saudi Arabia (IFMSA-Saudi Arabia) Serbia (IFMSA-Serbia) Sierra Leone (MSA) Slovakia (SloMSA) Slovenia (SloMSIC) South Africa (SAMSA) Spain (IFMSA-Spain) Sudan (MedSIN-Sudan) Sweden (IFMSA-Sweden) Switzerland (SwiMSA) Taiwan (IFMSA-Taiwan) Tatarstan-Russia (TaMSA-Tatarstan) Thailand (IFMSA-Thailand) The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MMSA-Macedonia) The Netherlands (IFMSA-The Netherlands) Tunisia (ASSOCIA-MED) Turkey (TurkMSIC) Ukraine (IFMSA-Ukraine) United Arab Emirates (EMSS) United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Medsin-UK) United States of America (AMSA - USA) Venezuela (FEVESOCEM) medical students worldwide

SCOPH Projects Booklet  

Contains projects of the IFMSA Standing Committee on Public Health.

SCOPH Projects Booklet  

Contains projects of the IFMSA Standing Committee on Public Health.