The College of Public Health’s Mezelle Moore is a global health practice student who is combining her MPH degree with Peace Corps service. She is assigned to Mongolia and is working with the health department in the province of Sukhbaatar to not only provide HIV awareness to everyone in the community, but also to help teachers plan English lessons to improve the children’s “health” vocabulary.
Mezelle, together with other Peace Corps volunteers and local counterparts, developed a program at the Dariganga English Summer Camp that was attended by 112 children. During the 10-day program, Mezelle helped the English teachers create interactive lesson plans that dealt with improving English conversational skills and learning important anatomy terms that could greatly benefit the children’s knowledge about their health. In addition, Mezelle co-facilitated a task force that designed a poster competition to promote HIV/AIDS awareness week country-wide among youth in Mongolia. The poster could focus on anything HIV/AIDS related and the winner will be announced on World AIDS Day.
Mongolia, a country home to roughly 2.8 million people and considered to be the least densely populated country on the planet, has enjoyed a relatively low prevalence of HIV/AIDS compared to other countries. Less than 0.1% of the population is living with HIV. However, according to the UNAIDS World AIDS Day 2012 report, many countries that have a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS such as South Africa, have actually seen a 41% reduction in new infections. Whereas, new infection rates in Mongolia continue to increase. The World Health Organization states that even though Mongolia does not have a high HIV rate, “the country is considered highly vulnerable to the spread of HIV and AIDS” due to factors including lack of knowledge about the virus and high prevalence of other STI’s.
Even though HIV rates are rising in Mongolia, the country still has an opportunity to mitigate these statistics with proper education. It is through the dedication and hard work of people like Mezelle Moore who are not only teaching Mongolia’s youth about the importance of their health, but also encouraging them to get involved.
The Department of Global Health is Mezelle Moore’s academic home. The department offers more than 10 concentrations that lead to MPH, MSPH, DrPH, and PhD degrees, as well several dual degrees, graduate certificates, and special programs. Most recently, Global Health added an online master of public health degree in infection control to its academic offerings.
Story by Victoria Danforth, USF College of Public Health. Photo courtesy of Mezelle Moore.