Charlotte Saretzki is a final year medical student at the RWTH-Aachen University in Germany who volunteered at Northen Provincial Hospital (NPH) in Vanuatu and the Aitutaki Hospital In Raratonga, Cook Islands in 2016, where she was involved in epidemiology research.
Being part of the Aachen Dental and Medical Expeditions (ADEMED) -Research Group, during these placements she started an epidemiological research project in cooperation with the local health authorities. Focusing on the potentially hemorrhagic viral fevers Dengue Fever, Zika Fever and Chikungunya Fever, subject of this work is the serostatus of the local population in these representative south pacific island states. This international project started in late 2015 and is still ongoing. Contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the epidemiological situation is of special interest as arbovirus outbreaks are adding to the challenges that Pacific Island healthcare systems must overcome: If not managed well, additionally to the direct morbidity and mortality of the local population, they can threaten these small societies on several levels, affecting trade, tourism and work force.
In addition to this specific research project she also works for the information service MedPrae, providing actual information about global outbreak alerts of infectious diseases for medical professionals.
Charlotte is keen to extend her epidemiological research to include Kiribati in the near future.