Real- world contextual learning attracted me to LSTM Global Health programme
I became attracted to the Global Health flagship programme in LSTM after glancing through the module catalogue where I saw the innovative approach the school is adopting to present real-world contextual learning to students. With my specific interest in the MSc programme, I realised that the modules are carefully structured to provide understanding of key global health issues such as health determinants, global burden of diseases, health inequities and praxis for strengthening health systems. I was also fascinated by the idea of building competencies around important aspects of global health policies and politics as well as strategies for health promotion and protection among other prospects.
I looked forward to the commencement of the programme which eventually began with an induction that exposed me to my first experience of Brightspace, which is a platform that provides learners with module contents and other instructional resources.
My first fascination was with the Virtual Classroom. It is a space where students interact with fellow students and tutors in real time. This resource makes it possible to discuss and share visual materials as part of the learning process. As a student from Nigeria, I could share a learning space with Thuan in Vietnam, Linet in Kenya and Asim in Pakistan. Simply put, the virtual classroom enables students from all parts of the globe to interact and share context-specific issues with themselves with inputs from tutors who are vast in diverse areas of global Health.
The student advice and wellbeing (SAW) unit which provides counselling and guidance on any aspect of academics or social and mental wellbeing for students is just an email away. During the COVID-19 lockdown in most countries, students could access support online to cope with mental distress associated with the sudden change the pandemic brought to people’s way of life. Likewise, the online library provides materials to support students to conduct research and where there are technical challenges, the technology enhanced learning (TEL) unit is there to fix them.
Reflecting on when I began and where I am now on the programme leaves me with a sense of fulfilment especially looking at the competencies I have built within the period and its relevance to my current job and career building. I am happy that I had the opportunity after all! Competencies in qualitative and quantitative approaches to research enable me to apply mixed methods on different tasks that come to my desk.
As a student from a developing country where there is need for system strengthening, the programme has exposed me to emerging paradigms around healthcare service delivery and efficiency measurement. I am therefore finding these skills set useful in my current role as social scientist working on implementation research into neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) programme delivery in Nigeria. With my contribution, the COUNTDOWN research team has developed innovative tools to support participatory approach to planning and implementation of mass administration of ivermectin and albendazole as preventive chemotherapy for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis in endemic communities in Nigeria. This innovation is being considered for inclusion into the National Multi- year NTD Master plan (2021- 2030) to meet goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goal by 2030. I have also continued to apply system thinking skills to improve quality of the scaling up process of the COUNTDOWN research evidence from the sites where data was collected to more states in the country where NTDs are endemic.
Essentially, the Global Health programme has provided me with problem-solving skills and has transformed me from a village boy to a health scientist who can apply biosocial models to influence functioning of local and global health systems. I am extremely excited about the experience here at the LSTM Global Health programme. I am not sure it is better anywhere else!
Find out more about our online MSc Global Health programme.