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.
You borrow a rocking chair and take a break under the eaves of a village house. Then, a chicken comes around, hops onto the well-cleaned tiled floor, and leaves droppings. Suddenly, an old woman appears and quickly sweeps the droppings after covering them with furnace ash. Chicken droppings are pasty because they contain a lot of water. However, you can sweep them out because they harden when they are covered with ash. Being able to catch a glimpse of such daily wisdom is also part of the fun of being in the field. I have been involved in a project to control Chagas’ disease in Nicaragua in Central America since I completed the graduate school. I spend my day making the rounds of local health facilities, joining village activities to provide technical guidance, compiling field data to prepare reports, holding discussions with project stakeholders, and so on. It’s already been four years since I graduated from Nagasaki University Graduate School of International Health Development. I have recently come to believe that the philosophy of the graduate school “teach practices at university,” which is somewhat contradictory, is actually a sophisticated intellectual challenge as well. In order to develop practical individuals, it is necessary to ask questions such as “what knowledge is required in the field?” and “what are the methods that can produce that knowledge?” Asking yourself those questions while watching chickens is also part of the fun in the field.
JICA Nicaragua: Chagas’ disease control project expert
After I graduated from the university in which I was enrolled as a working adult, and seven years after I left the JOCV, I felt as though I wanted to become involved in international cooperation again. I enrolled in this graduate school to obtain an MPH as I believed, in addition to my experience as a midwife, that it was necessary to have knowledge in public health to work in the field of international health. After completing this study, fate led me to become a specialist for a JICA project for the second time. The notion of “health” is simple, but you cannot understand a phenomenon in front of you from multiple perspectives unless you have a broad perspective. The same is true for communication skills. In addition to the language skills, developing relationships with others is a key element of this work. It was during these two years in the graduate school that I learned how to integrate the knowledge and experience that I had gained in the past and utilize it in practice. What I have learned through meeting with and receiving support from very knowledgeable and experienced professors, fellow students with a variety of excellent attributes, and many people during internships and research has made me the professional I am today. I’m offering training now. Seeing these trainees who have grown rapidly over the past year inspires me to want to teach them much more. I need to continue
studying on a daily basis as I was taught by former Dean Aoki that I still have a lot to learn. Every day I am learning various things from the local staff and other experts.
(The Project for Improving Maternal and Newborn Care through Midwifery Capacity Development, Cambodia, JICA)