The health programme here has activities across the emergency response to development continuum, from emergency flood response to strengthening health systems. I look forward to continuing to impact the population I serve through policy advocacy and health systems, strengthening especially in maternal, child, and adolescent health; and MHPSS. 

Winston Wangwe Master of Public Health

Tell us a little about yourself

I am a humanitarian doctor currently working with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) as a county health coordinator in Payinjar County, South Sudan. In the past, I have worked in various roles both clinical and administrative, in public, private, and NGO settings in Kenya.

Why did you choose to study your programme?

I chose to study the MPH programme because it provides me with the knowledge and skills to serve and impact my community at a population level – especially on matters to do with maternal, child, and adolescent Health; and MHPSS. This is in contrast to saving one life at a time as a medical doctor working in a hospital’s reproductive health unit. The MPH enables me to broaden my approach to analysing and solving health issues. The ecological model seeks to address disparities in the determinants of health at different levels, and is more impactful than the biomedical approach.

Why did you decide to study online with the University of Liverpool?

The online MPH programme with the University of Liverpool was flexible enough to allow me to study while working. I was thus able to achieve multiple goals, including studying at this prestigious university, furthering my career using the knowledge and skills gained, and taking care of my young family.

What has inspired you most during your studies?

I was inspired by the quality and structure of the module lessons, the availability and dedication of my tutors, and my interactions with, and narratives of, my fellow students from all over the world. I had classmates from different countries, of varying ages, who had come to pursue the MPH from different starting points in life. I found their life experiences quite inspiring. I also had tutors who have achieved a great deal in the world of health policy, health finance, and research, and I am inspired to one day be like them.

Have you had to overcome any personal or professional obstacles?

It was not always easy to make time to complete the modules, especially when I was working in a very busy reproductive health unit at a hospital in Dadaab, Kenya. A lot of planning and sacrifice enabled me to push through. Raising the fees for the course was also not a smooth ride, but I must say the flexibility of the programme in terms of allowing me to pay fees on a modular basis was really helpful. I still had to pause once or twice to reorganise my finances, but I could always pick up from where I left off and continue to finally finish my dissertation.

How have you applied the skills you’ve learned in your professional role?

The knowledge and skills learned in the course are instrumental in my day-to-day life as Health Manager in a humanitarian setting. I continue to practice analysing and solving health problems from an ecological point of view instead of the biomedical view that automatically comes with training as a medical doctor. This allows me and my team to look for potential solutions upstream from the health problem. I have also gained collaboration and teamwork skills, quantitative and qualitative analysis skills, and writing skills among others, which continue to positively impact my work. Skills in reflexivity and journaling have also been impactful.

What advice would you give someone considering online study?

Online study provides you with a flexible yet great opportunity to study and further your career while you work. The structure of the online programme at the University of Liverpool helps with growing the discipline and determination needed to complete the course.

What are your plans for the future?

My plan is to use the knowledge and skills gained to further my career in humanitarian public health practice. I want to grow into leadership and have a positive and evidence-based impact on policies that affect maternal, child, and adolescent Health; and MHPSS.

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