Laura Stamper

Mentor: Margie Tucker, PhD

Institution: UVa-Wise

Current Status: Graduated UVa-Wise 2013, Scribe, Applying to Medical School

Presentations: COPLAC, University of Montevallo, Alabama

Student Research Symposium, UVA-Wise, Virginia


Global Health Scholar, UVa Center for Global Health


The HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis epidemics in South Africa place a heavy burden on the limited health care resources throughout the country. In underserved rural regions, home-based caregivers with minimal formal training serve a vital role in the community by performing a variety of care-related tasks for patients who would be unable to receive help otherwise. As disease treatment is improving, patients are living longer lives and their primary care needs are changing. Increased lifespan, above average poverty rates, and growing Western influences on diet have led to an enormous growth of chronic disease. In order to properly respond to the needs of the population, the training module for home-based caregivers must be expanded beyond HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis to include proper treatment and preventative measures for chronic illnesses.

Through interprofessional and global cooperation, a team sponsored by the UVA Center for Global Health coordinated with the Vhembe Health district of South Africa to develop a training curriculum for both diabetes and hypertension, the most prevalent and preventable chronic illnesses in the region of focus. To test the effectiveness of the curricula, a pilot program was conducted for sixty home-based caregivers at two targeted rural health facilities. The training was met with positive feedback from program participants. Further training on health conditions commonly encountered in rural South Africa will enable caregivers to provide optimal care, improving quality of life within underserved communities.