We had a very full day yesterday.
We spent the morning at the South Building of the University of Trujillo, meeting with the Rector (like our Chancellor) and others. He was about to receive an official delegation from the University of Guantanamo, in Cuba, and he invited us to join him for the meeting. The two heads of universities signed an official memorandum of cooperation, and we had lots of picture taking. There was a fair amount of light-hearted talk some of which I understood about President Obama and President Castro needing to do the same thing.
Then we went to one of the main teaching hospitals which was founded in the 1500s!
At noon about 200 faculty, students and administrators gathered and I presented my talk on influenza. With lots of help from Dr. David Weber at UNC, I talked about the overall scientific and epidemiologic context of swine flu, and then dwelt on what we are doing to prepare for the upcoming flu season scenario planning, stockpiling drugs and personal protective equipment, etc.
Given that Peru is in the Southern Hemisphere, they are already in the winter flu season. They are having some cases, but a large amount of concern that it will be much worse. Many people described what they think is happening as panic.
The large audience stayed long and I got lots of questions. Doug Morgan did a very impressive job of translating my presentation and then the Q&A period. It all flowed quite well.
I believe they are generally on the right track with their flu activities. I saw lots of posters and other communications designed to educate professionals and the lay public on what is happening in Peru with influenza.
In the afternoon we went to a nearby archeological site, called Chan Chan. It is a huge area perhaps 20 acres that was an adobe city in pre-Inca times. The walls of the city and the intricate buildings and other structures were really interesting.
Last evening we left RDU, and flew overnight to Lima, Peru, via Miami.
This year's trip is to Peru, with Dr. Luis Diaz, the chair of dermatology at UNC, who is from Trujillo, Peru, and with Dr. Doug Morgan, a UNC gastroenterologist, who has spent years researching GI cancers in Latin America.
Today we saw a bit of Lima, including a magnificent museum of Peruvian artifacts both pre-Columbian and post-Columbian. Several of the beautiful items we saw have been featured in an article in National Geographic.
Late this afternoon we flew to Trujillo, a city of about two million in the north of Peru. We were greeted at the airport by a very enthusiastic crowd of medical students, from UNT, the National University of Trujillo. Dr. Diaz has managed bi-directional exchanges of medical students and faculty from UNT and UNC for many years.
Tomorrow I am to meet with the dean of the UNT School of Medicine and see their teaching hospital. I am to give a talk on how we at UNC are preparing for influenza H1N1, which is a major topic of interest here. Doug Morgan is also giving a talk about his work in GI cancer.
As was the case in the trips in 2007 and 2008, my son Will Roper is with me. He is going to visit a rural health clinic tomorrow, and also will see several units at the teaching hospital.
This visit promises to be very worthwhile and surely memorable. It again highlights the value of UNC's focus on global health it enables us to do collaborative work that is valuable both to the citizens of other nations and to the people of North Carolina.