As a medical student at Makerere University and later a doctor involved in HIV research, I have had the chance to witness the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malnutrition and many other preventable diseases and to interact with the affected people as well.
During my medical internship at the Ugandan national referral hospital, I observed that the majority of the patients’ problems and hospital admissions were due to preventable communicable diseases. The patient load was overwhelming and with a national doctor: patient ratio of about 1:13,000, the excess morbidity due to these problems overwhelmed the health care system. In a third world country like Uganda, a high Infant and Maternal mortality together with inadequate access to available, effective comprehensive health care and treatment options, even for the simplest of diseases, made me discover that the health challenges in Uganda were more diverse than I imagined and made me re-think what avenue I really wanted to pursue in the field of medicine. This awareness and experience stirred the desire in me to pursue a career that would help a large number of people and that emphasized more of prevention and primary care.
After graduation, in 2005, I took up a position as a research physician/sub investigator in a research organization (MUJHU Research Collaboration) where I have worked for the past 8 years. Our mission is to improve the health status of people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS through research, training, prevention and care. While at MU-JHU, I have worked on several prevention trials, including the first perinatal HIV vaccine trial in Africa (HPTN 027) and the PROMISE (Promoting Maternal and Infant Survival Everywhere) study. I am currently the lead coordinator for the PROMISE study. This experience and the knowledge acquired from the master in Public Health has helped provide me with a greater understanding of current public health challenges in Uganda, imparted in me useful research skills and reinforced the desire to further my knowledge and skills.
The MPH program from the reputable University of London International programmes that was fully sponsored by the ALN scholarship fund will help me get a more detailed understanding of research principles, primary prevention of disease and improved health service delivery. It will also be relevant to the dynamic health challenges in developing countries like Uganda and will be an excellent opportunity for me towards the advancement of a professional public health career.
After my studies, I hope to work in my country with the Ministry of Health of Uganda and ably take on bigger leadership responsibilities and be more involved in conducting relevant research. In the short term it will improve the quality of my daily work, allowing me to apply more scientific judgment. The ALN scholarship fund has helped me further my career as a researcher through acquisition of much need knowledge from the Masters in Public Health.