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Creatures of Comfort

by Helen Fosam

In general, we are creatures of comfort. We like to stay with what we know. We want to embrace the familiar. When we are moved out of our comfort zone, away from the normal, we feel unsafe. We feel threatened. For some, it’s a feeling of loss of control. While we can adapt to our new environment, certain things cannot be easily uprooted and transplanted elsewhere. I’m referring to cultural roots, beliefs, and ways of life.

Interestingly, medical practice has some similarities. For example, diabetes is understood as a disease of poor blood sugar control or stroke as a condition emerging from blockage of blood supply to specific brain regions. However, the underlying causes of diabetes or stroke, and the cultural beliefs surrounding its prevention or treatment, can differ in different parts of the world. Genetics, climate, and several other factors play important roles, but let’s leave that for another discussion. The point here is that medical practice must be relevant to the lived experiences of healthcare professionals and their patients — in their local setting. Then, it can translate to better disease prevention or treatment adherence.

The MiHLO Initiative courses recognize and incorporate the lived experiences of HCPs in Africa so that they find the content relevant when treating patients. Our approach is “the wearer knows where the shoe hurts,” so we use medical writers, content reviewers, and subject matter experts from Africa. Doing so helps to shape the course content so that it is relevant to HCPs in their local setting.

Check out examples of MiHLO Initiative’s pilot courses:
Type 2 Diabetes: A Case-based Approach to Management:

Reproductive Health: A case-based Approach to Management:

Acute Kidney Injury: A Case-based Approach to Management: