For one Master of Public Health student, studying hasn’t just been a hobby: it’s literally been a matter of life and death, as he tells University of Essex Online.
It’s was back in 2016 that Dr Obinna Orjingene from Nigeria first realised he wanted to study Public Health.
“I was looking after children who had fled armed conflict”
I was part of a medical team that supported Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in North-East Nigeria. I was working in the emergency room and intensive care unit providing critical care to paediatric emergencies. In particular, I was looking after children who had fled armed conflict and were living in slum dwellings either with their parents or guardians.
It was here that I was convinced Public Health was the way to go to progress my career.
“Nine months of hard work later I was treating over 45,000 people”
I had a mandate to provide emergency primary health care as part of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) working in one of the newly liberated areas formally occupied by Boko Haram. As scary as this task was, failure was not an option for me. I was the only medical doctor deployed to the town of Banki. I had to establish a functional healthcare clinic, build a team and provide essential healthcare to a population of over 23,000. A lot of lives depended on me to carry out this task well.
It took me three months, with the help of the Nigeria military, to set up an emergency unit with a pharmacy section, out-patient consultation area, maternity unit and much more. We were working to stabilize health within the refugee camps and nine months of hard work later I was treating over 45,000: mostly vulnerable women, children and elderly members of the public. We would work tirelessly in secured parameters with no specific work hours as I was always on standby for all emergencies. By August 2017 the refugee camp’s health needs had relatively stabilised. So, I decided to move to North-West Nigeria to support the European Union-funded, Maternal New-born Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) project. I am currently working as a child survival and development consultant.
“I chose to study Public Health because the course is beneficial to my current career aspirations. With this course I will gain a broader perception of health and it will allow me to address the primary health care disease burden here as well as water hygiene and sanitation, child protection and a lot more.
“I use the course every day”
I picked University of Essex Online because of three reasons. Firstly, the affordability when compared to other schools of the same standard, the flexibility considering the nature of my work. I needed a programme which allowed me time and space for both my studies and personal development, that also fit into my working life. Lastly, the quality of the modules is what convinced me, compared with other places of learning.
For me it has been a great experience and honour to be part of this academic community. The shared experience around the module discussions have been a great learning platform. It has been wonderful speaking to my course mates across the globe. I have been able to use the modules I am learning in my real-life work experiences which is amazing and makes studying a lot easier! I use the course every day especially with my development work and system strengthening. I am very passionate about maternal and child health especially around improving access to high impact primary health care for those living in rural areas. I hope to apply the new concepts I am learning to my work both in the emergency departments and development here and globally in the future.
It will be a worthwhile decision by anyone who is thinking of studying with University of Essex Online. As public health keeps evolving with challenges across our diverse continents, I would strongly recommend this course for everyone.
If you have been inspired by Obinna’s story and want to try online studying then you can download our prospectus here.
If you want to learn more about our Master of Public Health than take a look at our course page.