Reflections on completing the MSc Global Health.

Blog 7 Jul 2021
Millicent Kiruki, Kenya

I am a social scientist with over eight years of experience in health systems research. My interest is in health projects that aim at improving access to health services and improving service delivery. I have implemented research studies focusing on health systems strengthening specifically in the response and prevention of HIV& AIDS and Violence against Children in Kenya.

Why an MSc in Global Health and lessons learned

My academic background is in the social sciences, and I found the MSc in Global Health course to be tailored and useful for professionals like me who are interested in developing a career in health systems research. It has provided me with a broader understanding of global health problems beyond the confines of Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa where I currently work. My peers (fellow students) at LSTM are international and multi-disciplinary. Our interactions through group discussions and group work have enriched my understanding of global health problems in other countries and provided a new lens focusing on the health system in my country.

I was keen to gain practical research skills that I can apply in my work. In my first year of study, I have gained a better understanding of epidemiology and statistics, and qualitative research methods. I have also gained skills on how to assess rigor and quality of research which I have found useful in the literature review for protocol development and grant applications.

The MSc in Global Health also includes a course in leadership in health systems management. This course provided me with an opportunity to become self-aware about my leadership styles and skills. I have also gained a better understanding of the different aspects of health systems. As a health system researcher my ultimate goal is to translate research evidence into policy and practice. I have found the lessons on the politics of health and its influence on health policy quite thought provocative and useful.

I feel more confident and equipped to take up leadership roles in health systems research such as providing feedback on social determinants of health for various global health problems, developing and testing innovative health programs, and assessing program impacts. The quality of my input into the Technical Working group where I already have membership has also improved. Before the course, my participation had been in pointing out gaps between policy and practice, however, with the skills I now have I will provide more technical support in policy analysis and influence.