A medical doctor from Cameroon who could not be more passionate about Public Health, I hope to earn a Ph.D. Degree in Epidemiology to be able to make my entire contribution to the advancement of public health worldwide, especially in Africa and Cameroon. After completing medical school with distinction in my country in 2013, I earned my master's degree in public health, focusing on Epidemiology, at the University of XXXX this past August of 2018.
At the University of XXXX, I joined the CHI-UAB team (Cameroon Health Initiative- University of XXXX), where I assisted with the planning and execution of research projects aimed at gathering evidence and developing methods geared toward improving patient care in my country. The project that consumed the most of my time was dedicated to improving birth outcomes among women in labor. I am in the process of publishing in this area as the first author. I currently work as a research assistant at the UAB 1917 HIV clinic, where I review electronic medical records and quality assurance. I also have experience as a research assistant for the Neurology Department at UX.
My experience practicing medicine in Cameroon will also help me excel as a doctoral student in Public Health Epidemiology. During my service at the Goul fey District Hospital in the extreme north of Cameroon, I soon discovered that minor ailments—some with fatal consequences—could have been prevented. Many lives could have been saved if it were not for the fact that those affected believed that they were ill because of a curse by ‘Allah.’ I saw children and older adults dying because they were unaware that having a clean environment, using mosquito nets, or even taking simple anti-malaria medicine could have prevented and cured their ailments. I soon found that many diseases, such as meningitis, measles, and tetanus, to name a few, could be curbed by education, simply informing a community of the need for vaccinations. This was the primary driving force that led me to pursue graduate school in Public Health.
I have extensive experience within Cameroonian hospitals and providing health care services in the public and private sectors. Upon graduation, I was appointed by the Minister of Public health to serve as a Physician in the Goul fey District, Extreme North Region of Cameroon. This rural district is quite challenging to access due to the poor road network, with over 80,000 inhabitants. I acted as the malaria and HIV/AIDS project focal point with donors and project stakeholders (communities and civil society). I oversaw and supported the development and implementation of projects in close collaboration with local partners and actively supervised and coordinated local activities related to Donor (WHO, MSF) funded projects in the Goul fey district.
My duties revolved around implementing our National Immunization Campaign and fighting against cholera, tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. We carried out these activities under extreme conditions of insecurity, with constant threats from one of the world’s most deadly terrorist groups, Boko Haram. By 2014, violence escalated dramatically with repeated bomb blasts and kidnappings, and all health care workers were forced to leave the area. I accepted the position of Medical Director for the XXXX Medical Foundation in Douala. I participated in meetings geared toward planning and executing Public Health Projects.
Cameroon needs public health care professionals capable of initiating and implementing health policies that potentially will have far-reaching, positive effects on the health of ordinary people, especially outside of the major cities. Having learned a great deal about the devastating impact of Infectious diseases such as TB, malaria, and HIV/AIDS on the population of Cameroon, my experience battling these diseases and caring for the stricken will help me as I continue to struggle to contribute to the solution. I am especially looking forward to devising strategies for the surveillance of adverse effects following vaccination which are seldom adequately reported in this area – alongside the planning and execution of various Public Health projects.
Thank you for considering my application for the Ph.D. in Public Health Epidemiology at XXXX University.