Housekeeping from the new PH Kiwi in Pakistan

LSHTM logoKia ora and Asalam-oualikum to the University of London student blogosphere. *Awkward wave* As this is my first post, it’ll be pretty much housekeeping: who I am, where I am, why I’m studying and what else keeps me out of trouble. ☺ I promise it’ll get more interesting after that!

I’m a Kiwi (New Zealander) currently residing in Pakistan with my Irish husband and just starting the MSc in Public Health. I made the decision to head back to graduate study actually largely thanks to the nudging of my supervisors during a recent consultancy with UNICEF – and after umming and aahing I finally settled on Public Health for a two reasons…

1) Everyone, everywhere needs to think about health…and there are so many different things you could focus on, I’ll never get bored! (Commitment issues perhaps?!)
2) I studied social science and business as an undergrad, and have found myself enthralled in the humanities in recent times…and firmly believe that we need these sorts of perspectives alongside the ‘scientific’ paradigm to adequately deal with the physical reality of our bodies, and minds, that simply don’t always work the way we’d like them to and can also do incredible things that we can barely imagine.

My own experience working on health initiatives, usually ‘indirectly’ as the logistician, the administrator, the communicator, the report writer… has given me a wide range of exposure to different levels, dynamics and issues that need to be taken into account whenever talking about health or any particular issue within health.

An elderly woman and her son leave a cash distribution site in Sindh as part of Action Against Hunger's food security and livelihoods programme.

An elderly woman and, presumably her son, leaving a cash distribution site in Sindh as part of Action Against Hunger’s food security and livelihoods programme. I remember it was a particularly hot and stressful day and when I saw her and took that shot it kept my spirits up ;) – LO.

In the past, these experiences included coordinate the construction of school classrooms in Vanuatu, working with Action Against Hunger in DR Congo, South Sudan and Pakistan providing support to their nutrition, food security and water and sanitation programmes, and writing annual reports, donor reports, situation reports and the like for UNICEF Pakistan.

Currently, aside from having my nose in textbooks, I enjoy teaching natural fertility regulation (the Billings Ovulation Method™); contributing to the book Chasing Misery: An Anthology of Essays by Women in Humanitarian Work; and sitting on the governance board of one of Pakistan’s only residential care facilities for those with severe disabilities, the 50 year old St. Joseph’s Hospice in Rawalpindi (originally they said they only needed me to do the Facebook page, I shoulda guessed that was just the ‘hook’…)

I chose the Health Services Management stream, though not without a fight from Health Promotion – let’s see if I made the right choice, who knows? In any case, it’s just so interesting to finally be able to reflect systematically upon those experiences ‘in the field’, still happening now on a daily basis, and apply what I’m learning wherever possible.  I’m also thrilled by the amazing diversity of students to study alongside – looking forward to getting to know so many of you, even if only ‘virtually’.

Look forward to sharing more about how my studies are interacting with all the pies I somehow find my fingers in and how the studies give me new insight into old experiences. Hope I can also provide a giggle or two, or words of encouragement to my fellow students if that’s what’s needed.

LO

Lucy is studying the MSc Public Health by distance learning in Pakistan.

8 thoughts on “Housekeeping from the new PH Kiwi in Pakistan

  1. Kia Ora fellow Kiwi, I am a Nurse/midwife, living in Nairobi, currently just studying and being a mum, as work visa issues here, even to volunteer are difficult. Look forward to hearing more about your studies and stories. Lorraine

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  2. Hi Lucy,
    As a fellow distance learning student, I just wanted to say keep up the good work!It’s hard to get to know fellow students when we only talk ‘virtually’. I look forward to reading your blog entries and to continue talking to you through the MPH course forums.

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  3. wa alaikum as salam lucy

    im an actuary studying 2nd year bsc. sociology in pakistan karachi and share the same interest in humanities. hope to get in touch :)

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  4. Hi everyone,
    I am currently planning to apply a distant learning mastersd degree in clinical trials. I am a physician so I do have hesitations about the burden. Can someone give me some details about the studying in these programs? I d really appreciate that
    My mail address is dserdarbaris@gmail.com
    thanks
    DSB

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  5. Hello Lucy & everyone! stumbled upon your wonderful blog by chance! i’m an MSc in Global Health student at the University of Edinburgh & planning to head off to Islamabad, Pakistan in August. do keep on writing especially on the volunteering part. would love to read about your experiences there :)

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