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I needed to learn more to make a positive impact

Obinna Anyatonwu came to Umeå in 2019 with a doctoral degree in optometry from Abia State University, in the eastern part of Nigeria. For him it was one particular experience in Nigeria that led him to pursue public health studies and to take a Master’s degree in Public Health at Umeå University and the Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.

"I had an experience at a humanitarian medical outreach centre where a mother of a two-year-old baby constantly applied breast milk to the eye of her baby who had an infectious eye condition. Further inquiry as to the reason for this practice opened my eyes to the vista of opportunity in public health with a focus on epidemiology", says Obinna Anyatonwu.

Also, his mother is a nurse and trained midwife, so that constituted another connection to medicine and public health.

"Furthermore, I volunteered for a community development service during my national youth service, which focused on diseases, including HIV and TB."

Future plans took him to Umeå

His plan for the future took him to Umeå University and the Master´s Programme in Public Health."I believe in the dignity of hard work and that coupled with a sheer level of perseverance and grace you can attain your dreams and ambitions.

"I chose Umeå University and the Department of Epidemiology and Global Health because of great student service and support, international student satisfaction, first class facilities, a creative learning environment, and ultimately, its ground-breaking and innovative research which spans across medicine, the arts and humanities and the social and natural sciences", says Obinna Anyatonwu, continuing.

"I have gained knowledge and had hands-on experience with the theories and methods useful in public health, epidemiology and health economics. Teachers are patient with students, dedicated, experienced and down to earth. Adding to this, Umeå was titled the city of culture, has breath-taking nature – for example the northern lights, the arctic landscape and the lakes."

Made some research about Umeå

Before 28-year-old Obinna Anyatonwu chose Umeå he tried to learn more about the university.

"While researching, I found that the current director of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is an alumnus and this consolidated my interest. I chose the Department of Epidemiology and Global Health because of it's student-centered approach and how it is tailored for diverse professional backgrounds", says Obinna Anyatonwu.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, recommends more students should study public and global health. And he is a former student and now honorary doctor of medicine of Umeå University.

Master’s programme in Public Health was top notch

"The Master’s programme in Public Health was top notch and the entire experience was enriching. The diversity of the class, the presentations, discussions and perspectives of colleagues from diverse backgrounds were awe-inspiring and culminated in an amazing experience. The teachers and administrative staff were always ready to lend a helping hand and made sure that no student was left behind", says Obinna Anyatonwu.

"The administrative staff is supportive and readily available. Another interesting thing about this programme is that your unique experience matters and you have something to contribute with. Succinctly put: I had one of the best times in my life and my expectations of studying abroad was met", he continues.

Obinna Anyatonwu did more than study public health in Umeå, though.

"When I'm not studying, I enjoy playing football, meeting new people, reading books that would facilitate my personal development, surfing for useful information and travelling", he says

There is something for everyone

"In terms of life as a student, I would say there's something for everyone to get involved with. For instance, you can join a football club, register with the Iksu sports club, take a walk, go for picnics, go hiking or ice skating and lots more."

As for the future Obinna Anyatonwu is not sure exactly what will happen or what he will work with.

"In the short term, I wish to apply the skills garnered from this programme in multicultural and multi-dynamic organizations where I can bring added value and contribute to the improvement of population health", says Obinna Anyatonwu, continuing.

"I also wish to obtain and share the wealth of experience acquired in the long run to young professionals, through teaching and mentoring. My research interest I think will be geared towards health equity, eye health research, sexual and reproductive health as well as maternal and neonatal health."