Nathaniel Cieplik in Tanzania

On Wednesday, May 25…

I have been really challenged as I seek to complete what I had originally intended, and so I am thankful to the Kellogg Institute and the funding committee for helping me to manage my expectations and realize that things likely would not be as ideal as I might hope.

I had some difficulty acquiring approval from village leadership and recruiting participants. Village leadership asked me to make some changes in my plans, and they asked me to use my project to raise awareness in all participants rather than randomizing some into a group that would not receive the script with information about HPV and cervical cancer. I obliged, which felt right because in the end, the goal of my project is to help the community rather than myself.

With the changes made, I don't think publishing will be an option anymore, which I understand and accept, especially given that it would have been a huge challenge to publish even if things went perfectly according to plan. I am just glad to be able to be in a new country with the chance to try conducting international research for the first time.

The data collected from people who I have spoken with so far indicate a shocking disparity between the reality in this rural area and the situation as presented in published papers and government mandates. Most parents had never even heard of HPV, and none indicated that their children had been vaccinated. This fact alone made my proposed project somewhat redundant, as it was designed to treat a demand issue, and it appears thus far that there is a supply issue instead.