I have been working as a project manager as part of an NGO for the Community Development with Indigenous Children in Mindanao project in the Philippines for one year. I have experienced a lot such as going to the project area, which was on a mountain, by motorbike, participating in discussions with stakeholders such as the Department of Education, and having long staff meetings at the office.
This is a comprehensive project containing three aspects, education, health, and livelihood. I am in charge of ‘livelihood’, but sometimes I feel anxious because it is the difficult to figure out how to ensure the sustainability of the project and produce results. In those times, however, I am encouraged by the team work of the Filipino staff and the mothers working hard for the group. They learn from this program and are optimistic, believing that, “We can find a way by continuing to learn”.
Even though I have gained a lot of experience from this project, this was only one step. I hope to keep learning about both health and community development in order to pursue a more effective approach to people-centered health projects.
(International Children’s Action Network (ICAN)(Philippines, Mindanao) )
One year has passed since I graduated from Nagasaki University, Graduate School of International Health Development. Now I work in Zambia on the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health project. One of my goals, which was to work in the field of public health in Africa again after I left the JOCV, has finally come true.
During the course I was inspired by a message from Prof. Aoki, former dean of our course, who claimed that in the area of public health, we must see things from the view of both birds and earthworms, in other words, to see the entirety of the situations and issues from above and as an individual from the ground. This message was reinforced through the various lectures by our professors with their rich backgrounds. I learned that perceptions regarding diseases are based on the local culture and traditions, differing among various societies. Therefore, it is essential to take into account the context and setting when dealing with them.
Apart from the lectures, the internship during the second year of the course gave me more comprehensive and practical ideas on how we needed to construct our project in order to confront the issues with the help of the local people, and what expertise and skills were expected when in the field.
The project that I am currently engaged in in Zambia aims to prevent “the three delays” associated with maternal death by constructing maternity waiting houses and training the community health workers. I always remind myself to maintain the multiple perspectives that I gained in this course and take the opinions of local people into consideration for my project.
(JOICFP-Zambia, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) One stop service project in Zambia.)
Since completing my studies at the graduate school, I have been working as a clinical researcher in a public hospital located in a small city in Eastern Uganda alongside local NGOs and research organizations from the UK. Although I am trying my utmost to put into use the knowledge and experience I acquired from graduate school, and to open myself to new findings, there are many questions and challenges I face in the field every day.
I have come to the realization that simply applying practical knowledge to real life situations in the field is not enough. Aside from our work, professionals with knowledge and skills relating to international public health must also use what we know to maintain safe and healthy lives while living in developing countries. During my graduate school internship program to Nairobi, Kenya, I experienced first-hand the dangers of terrorism, so now I put great effort into keeping my mind calm and stable so that I can assess various international situations accurately.
Whenever I feel lost or anxious about my current situation, messages from my friends who are also working all over the world, and remembering the words from my graduate school professors encourage me and give me the strength to go forward. (214words)
(Researcher in private companies, Saraya Co.,Ltd, Saraya East Africa Co.,Ltd ,Uganda, Public Health Expert in The Overseas Human Resources and Industry Association: HIDA, Uganda)
I took part in the Japan Oversea Cooperation Volunteer program as a nurse in Senegal and felt the importance of international health cooperation. I also believed that being a part of that was a rewarding experience for me.
After coming back from Senegal, I entered this graduate school in order to acquire specialized knowledge and skills so that I can return to the field as an expert. I really enjoyed studying for two years surrounded by professors who have rich experiences and classmates from different backgrounds.
While I learned how to work as part of a team in the short-term field training, I also developed the capacity to work independently through the internship and my research. More than simply learning about international health, I grew as a person and learned about myself as well. Furthermore, I met a lot of people and learned from them while in school. This network will be useful for my future career. After graduating, I would like to work in an international health consulting firm and put what I learned in graduate school into practice.
(International Techno Center Co., Ltd.)
I enrolled in the Graduate School of International Health Development after finishing my volunteer program in Papua New Guinea. Through my volunteer experience as a physiotherapist, I faced the reality that a lot of disabled people are living with physical and psychological barriers in remote areas due to a lack of rehabilitation services. Motivated by my desire to become an expert who can be involved in drafting policies to help people with disabilities, I applied for this school.
In first year, I had many opportunities to learn about global health with great classmates, professors who had a lot of experience, and supportive administrative staff. The second year, long-term internship program has currently started at the WHO Regional Office in the Western Pacific. The rich experiences in this international organization will be the best chance for me to grow and improve. I will do the best that I can for my future.
I entered Nagasaki University’s graduate school as soon as I completed my undergraduate education. Initially, I was worried about my graduate studies because I did not have any experience in the health field, however my experienced professors put those fears to rest. They were very enthusiastic, as were my classmates, and after a year my anxiety faded away.
Aside from health related courses, the school provided us with lectures on a broad range of topics such as politics, economics, anthropology, etc. Moreover, they gave my classmates and I many opportunities to discuss what we learned. I am really appreciative that we could study under those circumstances.
Currently, I am staying in South Africa to do research as part of an internship. It is the first time for me to stay long-term abroad. I am sometimes faced with unexpected situations, however, I want to cooperate with the local people and do our best together.
My name is Yen Hai Doan. I come from Vietnam.
Before I came here, I worked at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology which serves for maintaining public health in my country, particularly with respect to various infectious diseases. My job at the time required a high level of working knowledge regarding infectious diseases, particularly those prevalent in tropical, developing countries including Vietnam. That was why I entered the Tropical Medicine Master’s course.
We were given access to a lot of advanced facilities during our studies. The lectures as well as hospital case reports by the professors, doctors and invited speakers were really helpful to widen our knowledge in tropical infectious diseases and related disciplines.
From the knowledge and skills I acquired in the master’s course, I wanted to strive to obtain an even higher and more advanced level of education by enrolling in the PhD course at this school under the supervision of Professor Nakagomi.
After graduation, I worked at Nagasaki University’s School of Medicine as a tenure-track assistant professor. Currently, I work as a researcher at the National Institute of Infectious Disease in Japan. Here, I am involved in research activities relating to gastroenteritis disease in children. The skills, knowledge and research practices I cultivated from the MTM course are extremely helpful. This positive experience in my research career from the MTM and PhD courses at Nagasaki University inspired me to seek a heightened level of involvement in new directions.
This is my first experience conducting a medical study.
I Nagasaki, I learned about the important processes of how to formulate a study. Afterwards, the study itself was carried out in a regional hospital in Afghanistan. I managed to enroll more than 500 children with a diagnosis of pneumonia and now I am analyzing the collected samples and data.
This will be one of the first research studies which will provide useful information for the prevention and treatment of childhood pneumonia in Afghanistan.
I am deeply grateful for the support of my supervisor, Prof. Koya Ariyoshi, Head of the Department of Clinical Medicine at NEKKEN.
For three months in Manila I conducted research relating to tuberculosis at a national infectious disease hospital. Prior to that, when I was still in Nagasaki, I had attended lectures on biostatistics and medical ethics which were core to the clinical research and made my research proposal along with my supervisor.
When I arrived in Manila, I made a presentation about my proposal before all the research collaborators, followed by further discussions with them. This allowed my proposal to be approved by the ethics committee of the hospital where I eventually worked at.
My supervisors and I communicated frequently through TV conference so I could modify and take actions appropriate to the specific situations in the field. By the end of my stay, I was able to collect the necessary data which I analyzed and wrote for my master thesis.
I also joined many clinical sessions in the wards and met outpatients at the hospital. They gave me the invaluable opportunity to see many tropical clinical cases never seen here in Japan and to understand their management.
This “Overseas Clinical Research Program” is an outstanding program which provides both research and clinical experiences in an overseas setting for a short period of time.
I had majored in international cooperation when I was an undergraduate student and was already interested in community development. I had enrolled in the graduate school because I particularly wanted to deepen my understanding of health improvement through community participation.
One of the things that I discovered here is that being able to attend a variety of lectures that cross the boundaries of liberal arts and science has allowed me to obtain the knowledge and perspectives required for international health.
The second benefit was the long-term internship that lasted for eight months. I interned at a local hospital (community health program) in Nepal and conducted research on newborn care in rural areas of the country. Both the internship and research required me to obtain cooperation from local people and to solve issues on my own; this process became an important foundation for me in working in the field. In March, I began working as a resident for an NGO that operates in the Philippines. Having observed initiatives to support children living on the streets of Manila and the typhoon victims in Leyte, I recognize the importance of forming a network with local people and stakeholders and providing support with a vision towards the future. Moving forward, as I work on the assigned project (improve education, health, and livelihood of local people and the children of indigenous people), I will also try to expand the opportunities for people, as well as for myself, in the target areas.
(International Children’s Action Network, ICAN Philippines, Mindanao)