'In this programme I learned how to write grant proposals, design an epidemiological study and validate the quality of studies. That will be of great use in my future career.'
I obtained my Bachelors in Public Health degree and my Honours degree in Public health research in Monash University (Johannesburg, South Africa). I was working as an infectious disease research assistant at a non-profit organisation called Community AIDS Response in Johannesburg.
I began to question myself: Is health a privilege or a commodity that drives the economy? This solidified my vision of making a positive population impact. The solution to make a population impact was advancing my scientific research to drive policies and programmes for underprivileged communities that would control and prevent deadly infectious diseases. It teaches you how to conduct top quality scientific research and interprete and disseminate them drive policies and programmes to control andprevent diseases.
What are your impressions of the Epidemiology programme?
To create a professional environment from which one can learn a lot and to get a good grasp of actual skills being looked after in the public health arena. The modules in the MSc provide one with transferable skills - such as how to write grant proposals, design an epidemiological study and validate the quality of studies - that can be of great use in your future careers.
Different professor and experts come to teach from different fields and universities.
What do you think of our city?
Antwerp is not too big nor too small. There is always something different to do. I am never bored. The city’s landmarks are beautiful and historical. It still has a bit of medieval touch and typical middle-age buildings.
As an international student coming from the other side of the world, I cannot go back home every weekend like my Belgian or Dutch (from The Netherland) friends often do. Luckily, Belgium is central located so I can travel to neighbouring countries within a couple of hours. The countries I usually visit are Germany (Cologne), France (Paris and Lille), United Kingdom (London) and The Netherlands (Utrecht and Amsterdam).
Belgium's climate is totally unpredictable!
In Tanzania we have the Big 5, but Belgium has its proper Big 5 too: quality chocolate, waffles, fries, mussels and beer.
Everyone speaks English. Usually, in the supermarkets Belgian customers help to translate Dutch products into English.
What can you recommend to future epidemiology students?
Overall, I would highly recommend this Master’s course. If you want a career in scientific research, this master will help to set you up because of the advantages it delivers in terms of knowing how to set up a really good study, whether it is developing a good research question or understanding its statistical aspects.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to find a job in a health-related non-profit organisation in Tanzania, where I can apply my research skills to new or existing public health projects (in particular HIV and tuberculosis) that aim to prevent and to control diseases cost-effectively and sustainably in underprivileged communities in Tanzania.