As I write this, thousands of miles from my homeland of Nigeria, I think on the path that led me to Public Health. I often wonder when people talk of healthcare disparities, if they can ever truly grasp what it means, what crushing poverty entails, and even what an underdeveloped nation looks like. I was born and raised in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, a place where most people are suffering from one disease or another, conditions that are either unknown in the US, or are highly preventable. I never wondered who would help or raise awareness; I was that someone.
To my mind, Public Health is the most important aspect of Medicine. It can help prevent and bring solutions to health issues like no other field. In the Niger delta region of Nigeria, multinational oil companies have polluted the rivers and stream used by ordinary people for their livelihood. The situation is dire. People cannot fish because of the omnipresent oil polluting the water, choking oxygen and sunlight from sustaining ecosystems. Compounding the problems are elevated illiteracy rates, and a general lack of preventative medicine and education results in rampant preventable diseases. The health system needs serious reform and the right management. Policy makers have failed to think long term and properly. My people are suffering from neglect in all spheres of their existence as humans, especially in the health sector. The outside world thinks of the ongoing plague of HIV/AIDS, but this is only one part of our massive set of issues.
Nigeria currently has one of the highest infection rates of HIV/AIDS infection in the world and the trend continues. This is a result of poor policy and short-sightedness. I am adamant that change must come. My studies in public health will go a very long way to helping me grasp the proper concepts and tools needed to work with the government to bring sustainable solutions to problems besieging the Niger Delta. I have lived in Russia for over five years studying medicine but that has not undermined my love for public health, Diseases like Malaria, microfilaria infection and other preventable diseases affect many people in this region. Through my active volunteerism, distributing mosquito nets and repellant in Warri South, I have seen tangible success from even these humble efforts. Change can come, and it need not be with an astronomical “price tag”.
Public health issues touch almost every family in my homeland, and sadly, my family is not an exception. I come from a large family of 10 children and my eldest sister is dead today due to HIV/AIDS. I know that if the health sector was better funded, better equipped and better managed with clear and effective policies, this kind of suffering could be avoided. Due to my love for public health, I am going to be a qualified medical doctor in just a few months, but I want to go into public health because I believe strongly that I can contribute not only to my people but also to people all over the world. I have seen firsthand people dying from typhoid or measles, and it sickens me. Through proper interventions, planning and implementation of effective policies, I anticipate being able to bring about much-needed change through my work with an NGO or non-profit affiliated with the UN or directly through the Nigerian Ministry of Health.
My passion, academic ability, cultural competency, word travels and multilingual abilities practiced in a myriad of international experiences will contribute to the student body and graduate Public Health program.
I hope and pray my application for admission and financial aid will be given the most serious consideration. God bless you.
MPH Public Health Personal Purpose Statement Nigerian