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Trees flowering on campusThursday 13 December 2018 9:05am

Onalenna Seitio-Kgokgwe image
Dr Onalenna Seitio-Kgokgwe

The first PhD student to graduate from the University of Otago's Centre for International Health (CIH) has been named the most influential woman in the education and training sector of business and government in part of Africa.

Dr Onalenna Seitio-Kgokgwe, who is now the Country Director in the Institute of Development Management (IDM) in Botswana, studied at the University of Otago between 2008 and 2012.

She received the award of 2018-2019 country winner for the South African Development Community, North, from the South-African based company CEO Global.

Strongly committed to improving the health systems and other sectors in her country, Dr Seitio-Kgokgwe provides strategic leadership and direction to the IDM campus in Botswana in the areas of training, research and consulting.

She says the award recognises the leadership role of women and their contribution to society and the economies of their countries have been undermined, undervalued, unnoticed and unreported.

The award opens up opportunities to a whole new world of collaborations and networks for her and will inspire others, she says.

A registered nurse, midwife and nurse practioner, Dr Seitio-Kgokgwe graduated with a PhD in Public Health through the CIH in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the Dunedin School of Medicine.

Her thesis examined the organisational structure of the Botswana Ministry of Health and she says the qualification from Otago has contributed tremendously in her career.

“Firstly, the breadth of my PhD thesis opened my horizon in life. I emerged from this study with a broad understanding of issues not only in public health which was my area of study but rather in a broader economic context,” Dr Seitio-Kgokgwe says.

“The skills I acquired for my PhD in public health are transferable; self management and leadership, analysis and problem solving, thought leadership, networking, research and information skills, interpersonal and team working,” she says.

“I have used these skills to broaden my sphere of influence, moving from a purely public health environment to a diverse environment that contributes to socio-economic development in a much broader sense”.

Dr Seitio-Kgokgwe was co-supervised by Professors Robin Gauld and Philip Hill , both of whom remember her as a hard-working, organised and dedicated student, with clear leadership abilities.

Professor Hill says she was an outstanding student. “It has also been a privilege for both of us to keep in touch with her since she returned home and to follow her ongoing development. She has published well from her PhD and has continued to be active in research, while developing into a substantial public health leader”.

Since graduating, Dr Seitio-Kgokgwe has been back to the University of Otago to attend a Global Health Institute conference.

For more information, contact:

Professor Robin Gauld
Dean and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, School of Business
Tel 479 8632

Professor Philip Hill
Co-Director, Centre for International Health
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine
Tel 479 9462

Maureen Lloyd
Communications Adviser (Health Sciences)
Tel 479 4144

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