MY MOTIVATION FOR APPLYING TO THIS PROGRAM
During my third year at the university of Zambia, a vacation job with a Research Institution in 2011 helped to appreciate what was to be my actual professional interest. I worked as a Study Assistant under a project that was looking at health seeking behavior of Malaria-like illnesses in a rural set up. Individuals in this area still solely relied on traditional medicine and or spiritual healers to cure pure medical conditions. This made me realize that there were still a lot that had to be done to raise public awareness on common diseases especially to populations that are not learned and live far away from public centers of media where information is not readily available. It also shaped my desire to work under public health programs because I felt that it would be a great opportunity to be part of organizations that foster health promotion and bring development to such mostly poor rural communities.
I got engaged in another Malaria project as a study supervisor after completing school at the university. This was a randomized clustered study whose objective was to devise novel methods of reducing Malaria incidence. I acquired knowledge on the basic cause, cure, prevalence and the preventive measures for malaria. This experience motivated my quest to specialize in Epidemiology to harness and expand my knowledge on the determinants, distribution and control of diseases.
Ethics and leadership are often challenged whenever development projects are underway. We experienced refusals in the community as per rural project that involves drawing blood because of the myths surrounding it. As a young researcher and leader, it is important to know what decisive steps to take to ensure continuity of the project when faced with such challenges and most importantly learning how to communicate the vision of the project to the participants keeping in mind their rights and privacy. Therefore, I feel that all the above knowledge can be extensively enhanced by my prospective public health studies.
Other attributes that I acquired from my work experience that I feel would be of great value to the study of my choice are data collection using both qualitative and quantitative methods, data analysis and management and I equally gained leadership skills because I managed a group of field assistants. I also learned upholding good relations with all stakeholders and relevant authorities as it may stand in the way of success of any given project. I would like to incorporate what I have learned working under these projects with a master’s in public health to help me become a better public health practitioner.
I trained in Good Clinical Practices and it helped me to understand the principle guidelines adhered to when conducting research involving human subjects. I also took another training in Social/Behavioral Research which brings aboard not only the issues of ethical principles but also regulations researchers are supposed to follow when conducting a study that involves older adults and people that are socially or economically disadvantaged.
HOW MY PREVIOUS EDUCATION RELATES TO THE COURSE
Having studied Sociology as my major and Development as my minor for my Bachelors’, I found these subjects interesting because they both had Project Management such as data collection, analysis, assessment and monitoring to mention but a few that proved useful in my work. Social problems particularly enlighten problems that exist in society all of which require interventions for society to operate normally. Social Statistics prepares students for their research proposal, report writing as well as how to view and interpret data and the different ways in which it can be analyzed. I also took time this year to study qualitative data analysis and management using SPSS and Stata for my professional skill set development in addition to those acquired through my work experience.
MY LONG-TERM ACADEMIC AND CAREER PLANS
My academic background in project management coupled with my work experience in research projects serves as a solid foundation to be a public health specialist. I would like to come back to Zambia and use the acquired skills from the course to make a difference in research particularly to the under-saved populations. The course will equip and prepare me for more and challenging roles in the public health sector where I would like to continue working under and it will not only enhance my skill from the scholars, but it will also help me learn and get ideas from other students who have similar or different experiences as I. Lastly, I will put in my best to ensure that I successfully complete the course.
MY MOTIVATION FOR APPLYING TO THIS PROGRAM