Whitney Mwangi

MSc Global Health, 2021

I am the Advocacy, Communications and Partnerships Specialist at AIDS Watch Africathe African Union Commission leading strategic interventions related to ending AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa. I am also the Founder of the Story Book - a creative enterprise seeking to transform mindsets of Africa’s youth through stories. 

Tell us about your time at LSTM 

My long-term career goal was to attain a MSc in Global Health and Public Policy. Among the schools I considered, the LSTM’s MSc Global Health curriculum offered an opportunity to venture into both areas in a way that can advance my professional and educational objectives. It was, therefore, a perfect fit. Being a part of the programme exceeded my expectations as I had to unlearn several practices, especially social determinants for health, global diplomacy, community mobilisation, and how they all tie into policy-making. The quality of my work has improved overall since I understood the foundational principles of addressing global health issues and how to apply them. 

The learning setup also fosters interaction between students, which provided an opportunity to learn from people of different cultures. 

Before joining LSTM, I was interested in learning how someone with a background in communication and advocacy can adequately fit into the global health sector. I approached LSTM with keenness to learn both technical and soft skills required to thrive as a global health expert.

Venturing into theory was a bit confusing and complex in the beginning because the reality on the ground in most cases, especially low-resource contexts, is very different from the recommended approaches and principles. Once I set aside what I knew and adopt an attitude of learning, it became easier to see how health systems management, among other aspects of global health, can be improved, especially through strategic and consistent communication and advocacy. I continue to apply the lessons.  

What three words do you most associate with your experience of LSTM? 

  • Foundational  
  • Fruitful 
  • Transformative 

What adivce would you give to our current/prospective students? 

I have interacted with students from many universities, and the experience I gained from LSTM is incomparable. You will gain knowledge that will come in handy for years to come for different professional responsibilities through first-hand experience and interaction with other students.  

My long-term career goal was to attain a Masters in global health and public policy. Among the schools I considered, the LSTM’s MSc Global Health curriculum offered an opportunity to venture into both areas in a way that can advance my professional and educational objectives. It was, therefore, a perfect fit. Being a part of the programme exceeded my expectations as I had to unlearn several practices, especially social determinants for health, global diplomacy, community mobilisation, and how they all tie into policy-making. The quality of my work has improved overall since I understood the foundational principles of addressing global health issues and how to apply them. 

 

The learning setup also fosters interaction between students, which provided an opportunity to learn from people of different cultures.