Networks: Global Health Project in Honduras

In today’s modern society, networks are everywhere. Examples of networks include financial systems, global communication systems, and social networks. The behaviors and the dynamics of networks are often complex because of numerous influencing factors. Various forms of studies such as Social Sciences and Economics are use to interpret these complex theories. In the article, “Does the secret to social networking lie in the remote jungle?” illustrates a modern day study that uses network mapping to combat a social problem. In this project, researchers use the concept of the graph theory, to study behavior change amongst rural communities in Honduras.

One of the challenges, these rural communities face is a high infant mortality rate. This study funded by the Gates foundation consist of over one hundred researchers whose task is to map out the communities’ social networks using advance computer software. In class, we learned that a network is defined as collection of objects that are connected by links. In this study, these links are determined by the strengths of ones relationship in the community. The goal of this project is to find and target the most active and influential person in their town, who would help communicate effective health messages. The idea is that once this influential person adopts the introduced infant-care regimen, it would help reshape the villages cultural norms, which would lead towards the acceptance of these new concepts by the residents of the village. Due to limited sources, techniques like this can help towards combating humanitarian crises and change the lives for those living in undeveloped communities around the world.