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Postcard from the Gambia

Thursday 10 April 2014 4:46pm

Dr Uzochukwu EgereWorking with children in the Gambia, Dr Uzochukwu (Uzoh) Egere is doing what he loves: caring for children and easing “the intolerable burden of disease” around him, “especially … among our precious children”.

Uzoh is the Centre for International Health’s first Master of Public Health graduate, describing this as the springboard he needed to do the work he loves, giving him “lifelong tools for tackling health challenges in the developing world”.

Uzoh’s life now is a quantum leap from earlier, haunting days of caring for sick and dying children. Then he felt helpless because, while he was beginning to understand the multifaceted causes of disease in African children, he could only offer bedside care. Now, however, he works with “zeal” in a team investigating vaccines for pneumococcal diseases, which are major killers of children in Africa.

He also works on the African Medical Research Unit’s tuberculosis team in the Gambia, improving the diagnosis and management of childhood tuberculosis. “This brings together my 'bush' and 'bedside' skills which have been shaped over the last six years through my public health training at the University of Otago and my work at the Medical Research Unit in the Gambia”.

Uzoh’s passion for his vocation is palpable. “I aim at continuing to acquire knowledge and skills necessary for making quality contributions to local and global efforts to reduce the burden of disease on children, especially in places where this is needed the most.”

This story was first published in Otago Magazine.