I developed a love for public health very early in my career, after a brief life changing experience in rural Nigeria. My medical school had closed for six months in my fifth year, because of a strike. I decided to go back to my village in rural eastern Nigeria, to stay with my elderly grandmother. She had diabetes and was showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. I loved her dearly and wanted to help with her care. My village had no electricity and no health care facility. The nearest hospital was 20 miles away.
I learned so much in that six months. I found out that the nearest thing to a health care provider in my village was a man who knew next to nothing about health care. Kids and pregnant women were dying in numbers. The only thing the ‘village doctor’ could offer was a mixture of expired drugs and herbs. I knew I had to intervene. I gathered some women leaders and started teaching them about basic hygiene, nutrition, the role of boiling water and early warning signs of serious illness. I also started a youth program where I taught adolescent topics on disease prevention and safe sex. I contacted the local government chairman who, after much persuasion assigned a trained birth attendant to the village.
Till date, I consider this my life’s biggest work because the impact was huge. There was a massive decline in the number of children and mothers that died the following year and afterward. Although it was stressful living without basic amenities, it was a joy to me to take care of my grandmother and my people. Things have changed markedly since those days. Today, there is a functioning health center in the village today, thanks to my efforts and the help of others.
This experience clearly demonstrates my...
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...n Africa. It would also seek to secure the volunteer services of expert health workers from developed countries to offer services and train local workers in Africa.
I would like to retire as a professor, to impact the next generation with my knowledge and experience. I have no doubt that a Doctor of Public Health degree from Harvard University would be the best asset in achieving my career goals. I plan to continue academic research and scholarship in pertinent areas of health care leadership and public health throughout my career. I would invest in mentoring new scholars in the field towards building a perfect health care system that is not only sustainable, but is also grounded in quality, accessibility and affordability to all.
I earnestly hope that the admissions committee will look favorably on my application. Thank you.
James C Ekwensi, MBBS, IMBA, MPH, DTM&H
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