Ever since my undergraduate years in medical school, I have been fascinated with public health. Seeing the range of problems public health professionals (consultant community physicians) were contending with and their use of novel and simple measures to solve these, further intrigued me. Of particular interest was the community based postings that took us to a low income, minority, medically underserved community of Ilie, Osun state, Southwestern Nigeria, where I became impressed with the significant improvement in health indices: infant/maternal mortality, infectious diseases, and helminthiasis control etc. These achievements were largely due to various health enlightenment campaigns and advocacy sessions through the communities’ active participation on the need to imbibe: good personal and environmental sanitation, regular antenatal visits, prompt treatment of illnesses and the need to abandon negative cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and teen marriages.
To further confirm my interest in public health, I embarked on a health awareness project towards reducing the rising incidence of heart related illnesses among Warri populace with the construction and installation of four billboards. This was done in 2007 during the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) medical services. These boards were placed at four strategic locations within the Warri metropolis in Delta state, South-south Nigeria with the inscriptions: “What is your blood cholesterol level?”, “Do you know your blood pressure?”, “How much do you weight?”, “It’s best to know your risks, take action now” A project that earned me a Delta state NYSC Governing Board ...
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... in schistosomiasis. Nigeria, being the most endemic country in the world for schistosomiasis, burdened by approximately 20 million people, mostly children needing treatment, is still groaning under the burden of this impoverishing disease despite significant re-awakening efforts by such organizations as, WHO, State Ministries of Health and the Carter Center to end the anguish of this silent disease. So also is my interest in trachoma that is causing needless and preventable blindness around the globe.
It is my firm belief that obtaining this advanced degree will be a means to; enhancing my current job skills and strategically position me to take high level leadership roles in research, academia, and public health practice, aimed at understanding better ways to evaluate, maintain and improve the health of the poor, medically underserved communities around the globe.
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