The students are from the Florida Agriculture and Mechanical (FAMU) College of Pharmacy at the Institute of Public Health (IPH).
They are involved in a six-week Global Health Internship Program to get exposure on global health issues through mentorship by academics from the Discipline of Public Health Medicine.
‘The internship is designed to give the Public Health masters students first-hand experience in global health issues. It also provides them with an advantage when competing for jobs in the field,’ said Senior Lecturer, Dr Tivani P Mashamba-Thompson.
The programme aims to make students more competitive for employment in governmental and non-governmental agencies where knowledge of international systems is pertinent to the jobs.
The students, Ms Ashley Samuel and Ms Diamond Clark-McQueen, are part of the first group of students to join FAMU’s global health programme directed by assistant professor in epidemiology, Professor Yussif Dokurugu.
The students expect to explore public health issues in South Africa and have some hands on experience with public health research.
Mashamba-Thompson has put together a programme that will enable the duo to gain experience in the public health field in KwaZulu-Natal. ‘I will also supervise them alongside Professor CP Brown of FAMU, who is accompanying them during the internship,’ she added.
Their first week involved meetings and reading background information on projects they will be involved in, while during their second week they joined Public Health Specialist, Dr Steve Knight, on a field visit to Pholela.
‘They will be joining multiple public health projects and take part in fieldwork in order to get some hands on experience,’ said Mashamba-Thompson. They will write a compressive report at the end of their visit and present this to the Public Health Medicine journal club.’
The FAMU Global Health Program internship is designed to provide opportunities for FAMU to add to a diverse workforce of individuals able to analyse public health issues both at home and abroad.
Mashamba said that the FAMU Global Health Program was chosen due to Professor ME Soliman’s association with the organisation.