When UNICEF asked Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Healths David Peters, MD, to assemble a team to send to the Democratic Republic of Congo to assist with the Ebola crisis in West Africa, an obvious choice was Nancy Glass, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN.
For Glass, associate director of the Center for Global Health and professor at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, that part of the world is like a second home.
I was contacted, I think, for a few reasons: I have lived and worked in DRC for many years, first as a Peace Corps volunteer in the early 1990s, and then the past seven years in the eastern region of DRC, conducting research and collaborating with local community organizations to address poverty and trauma associated with prolonged conflict, Glass wrote from Somalia in an email response to Nurse.com in November. He also knew that I speak and understand French, which is very helpful when collaborating in DRC.
So far, about a half dozen Johns Hopkins faculty members have traveled to Kinshasa, the DRC capital, and Liberia to assist health officials in those countries with technical support to develop and revise Ebola protocols, establish community mobilization strategies, and provide training in infection prevention and control procedures. Glass visited the Congo from late September to Oct. 10. She met with community health leaders on how to effectively respond to the crisis and to promote community awareness and engagement about the disease.
We had a lot of long but productive discussions about the importance of their approach in prioritizing community mobilization, she said. I hope I added a little to supporting the efforts of the DRC Minister of Health and his colleagues to bring their skills and expertise to the West African EVD response.
Peters, chairman of Hopkins department of international health, said Glass expertise was extremely helpful in their mission to address the Ebola crisis in the Congo. She did a fantastic job in working with the DR Congo counterparts, bringing out their best, and providing key intellectual guidance in how to assess and engage communities in the fight against Ebola, Peters said.
Glass work in Africa has gone far beyond helping with the Ebola outbreak. Following her Ebola trip, she visited Kenya on a study in partnership with UNICEF to change social norms related to violence against women and girls. She also has visited the Congo to assist with two studies related to livestock/microfinance to improve health and economic stability, and Somalia, where she helped train research team members on a gender-based violence survey in the country.