Today is the first time I think, during this whole practicum experience, that I found my voice. I found it in the email I sent to the post-doc who did the analysis for our TB paper. I specifically asked her about a technical detail regarding the survival analysis – or time to TB treatment failure – of adolescents. Let me see if I can explain this clearly. This “technical detail”is not superfluous. The consequences thereof may be an overshooting of the proportion of TB patients who are estimated to be default free at the end of follow up. She included all patients in the follow up study and this included patients who completed their TB treatment. She then looked to see what fraction of patients had dropped out at the end. I see nothing suspicious here, in noting the fraction of patients who drop out by the end of TB treatment. What I find strange and frustrating is that this was done using survival analysis, which should not be done if you know the reason why a patient does not experience the event of interest, in this case failure. The worst part is they wrote a paper to Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes in adults where they did this very same survival analysis and it was published! I am stunned, because I believe it would not withstand the scrutiny of my biostatistics professor.

Here comes the reality check: what is published is often not what should be done by the book. I wonder why. I guess this is what I have to learn.

On a positive note, I was thrilled when my mentor told me “You have two posters going to the AIDS conference, one on TB and one on HIV, you have to go, even if we have to find the money for you.”

This was exciting to here. I would love to go indeed.

His encouragement, of course makes everything all the more easy.

Time for bed, I am beat!

I also find my voice in my mini dissertation, where I actively accept each comment of my supervisor, often paraphrasing his words.

Its tiring though! To be your own person is tiring!


About writinghealth

Wannabe Epidemiologist? Wannabe med anthro person? I guess. Christian, scientist (not Christian scientist), i mean like I studied molecular biology and I part of the RC Church. I also completed a Masters of Public Health, at the University of Cape Town, in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
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