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The use of the tippy tap is demonstrated, and the boy learns how and when to wash his hands properly. He learns to wash his hands after handling animals, after using the toilet and before meals. He finds in the future he is no longer ill. Volunteers performing the play for the whole school. As in previous trips, the Teams4U volunteers visit a school each day for seven days. The morning activity is a physical activity intervention where all or so children take part in simple team games.

In the afternoon, there are sessions for the older children that focus on puberty, development and respect for women. These have been the subjects of my previous blog s. There is also an opportunity for volunteers to play with the children. The challenge is to think of activities that overcome the language barrier and can be done with hundreds of children at a time! Successful activities include simple face painting, balloons and bubbles. Teams4U volunteer face painting to entertain the school children. The interventions with the children are supported by an education programme for the key church leaders, health care workers and senior women teachers.

The training aims to provide a legacy for the ongoing education of the children in hygiene and disease prevention, dignity and respect, puberty, menstruation and sexual health. Volunteers supporting the training of the teachers.


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The onus is on the charity sector to deliver an intervention that has a lasting impact. At schools we visited, there is evidence of previous well-meaning interventions that have had no impact. I was told that the drums had been designed to collect rain water, but no one had ever installed the guttering to harvest the water. Boxes containing computers sit unopened in schools that have never had an electricity supply. Volunteer in the classroom. In addition to the work to educate local leaders on how to sustain the benefits of the interventions, Teams4U will be collating data on school attendance in the coming weeks in order to determine whether the hygiene interventions have had an impact on absence due to diarrhoea.

Girls receiving washable sanitary ware as part of the Teams4U intervention. Read more about volunteering opportunities on the Teams4U website. It is difficult to describe the pure pleasure that these children get from a little attention from the visitors. The impact on the volunteers is also profound as we experience the simple joy that children get from a hand shake or a stream of bubbles. In Kumi, there are no staff to clean the school. The sweeping of the classrooms, the fetching of the water and the cleaning of the toilets is all done by the children.

Some of the forward thinking schools grow their own vegetables, and the children also tend to these. In several of the schools we are greeted with songs of welcome. The children also sing songs that describe how seriously they take their learning in order to better their lives. We found this truly humbling.


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Children playing team ball games as part of the Teams4U intervention. At the Chevening official award ceremony in London. My Salford adventure started on August when I got awarded of the Chevening Scholarship that permitted me to pursue a post-graduate study of Public Health in the United Kingdom. The application process for this life-changing opportunity was very demanding and competitive but I was driven and strengthened by my desire to experience the best that the UK has to offer in terms of academic life, career opportunities, culture, history, and leisure activities.

Therefore, I challenged myself to fulfil all the requirements that was necessary in order to be awarded of such honour to study in the UK, where so many researchers, influencers, scholars, and leaders have shaped our modern world through their astonishing achievement — for example Sir Isaac Newton, Alexander Fleming, Sir Charles Darwin, Sir Alex Ferguson, or John Lennon. Through my Chevening application process, I had to choose the UK universities that could provide me with the platform to achieve my lifetime project. I, therefore, conducted a thorough search of all UK Universities to find the one that could help me to fulfil my academic and professional goal.

My search for the most appropriate university was based on my professional and academic background of public health and occupational medicine. In addition, I was looking for a University that could provide me with the skills and knowledge to strengthen the health system in my country Madagascar, particularly in terms of health at work and well-being, disease surveillance, epidemiology, data monitoring and statistics. Indeed, during my search for the best university, I discovered that the Salford Department of Public Health delivered a specific module about Health at Work and Well-being led by Dr Margaret Coffey — a well-known and respected researcher in the field of public health.

Therefore, I contacted the University of Salford about this module that interested me. The public health team at Salford were keen to enlighten me with additional information through the module leader Dr Margaret Coffey and the programme leader Dr Anna Cooper-Ryan. I was surprised to discover that the module Health at Work and Well-being had been integrated into a particular module called 21 st Century Global public health challenge.

Because the Chevening Award represents a global initiative to promote tolerance, excellence in research, leadership and diversity, the choice of the Department of Public Health of the University of Salford became obvious to me as it promotes this global vision of public health by giving opportunities to international students, such as myself, to gather skills and knowledge, and to share my experience of public health among my peers. In addition, the city of Manchester appeared a vibrant city for the average student, which promoted diversity and tolerance, and provided a wide range of entertainment and leisure.

The high level of academic support and the workshops provided by the University of Salford helped me also to achieve a successful academic life. One of the memorable periods of my academic life in Salford, was our field trip in Eyam when all the teaching staff and the students went on a public health field trip.

Apart from the field trip in Eyam, the dissertation project at the end of the academic year was also one of the best moments of my academic life at the University of Salford. During this dissertation project, I had the privilege to work with and to take advantage of the expertise of my supervisor, Dr Margaret Coffey, about the experience of part-time employment in the UK in respect of health and well-being. This project provided me with an in-depth understanding of the challenges that part-time workers might face in terms of health and well-being at work, and the drivers that might explain the level of commitment and satisfaction of the workers for their chosen career.

Through this thesis project, I have gathered all the knowledge and skills I needed to go any further in the career of public health with a particular focus on health at work and well-being. In addition, it permitted me to reinforce my research skills and to learn to tackle efficiently all the issues that may occur during a research project that involves a systematic review methodology.

I was also astonished by the high level of supportmy supervisor and all the teaching staff provided to me to achieve this memorable success in academic research. In a nutshell, my academic year at Salford was full of success and was one of the best moments of my life so far. It permitted me to work and to learn from the experience of well-known researchers in public health.

It taught me to think outside the box when a public health issue occurs and prepared me to address serenely any public health challenge. This experience helped me to grow, to be more confident, to be bold and to get ready to fight against all form of inequities, inequalities and injustices. How do you feel when you get asked to work as a group on an assessed piece of work? Are you filled with enthusiasm or a sudden sinking feeling? Our MSc Public Health cohort is an impressive mix of people.

We are all different, ages, professions, and nationalities, with differing undergraduate degrees. Early on in the course we had an overnight field trip where we bonded over getting drenched in the Peak district, which helped us get to know each other and we are quite a friendly chatty group. I was asked by three of my course mates to be the fourth person in their group.

Our assignment brief was to choose a global public health challenge and give a twenty-minute presentation about it. I was really struggling to come up with a good idea but wanted to do something a bit out of the ordinary. The first thing we did as a group was to set up a chat group on the social networking platform WhatsApp, so that we could start discussing possible topic choices.

One person suggested looking at tuberculosis and another suggested looking at the link between depression in young people and social media. We discussed flipping a coin, but instead we took both ideas to our course leader, hoping she would choose for us.

After discussing each topic, she agreed that the topics were both good ideas and wished us luck with deciding. So, in pairs we then did a pitch of our preferred topic in the form of a quick essay plan. Maybe it was because we had similar approaches to learning. The four of us are quite laid-back, which meant we were flexible and positive, but with interest in the topic and motivated to put together a good presentation; this helped as it meant we were all prepared to put the hours in.

Being quite confident, I really enjoyed working with a team leader who listened and checked everyone was on the same page before making decisions, and as someone who is prone to putting my foot in it, I was pleased to find everyone was open to giving and receiving feedback. As a group we all had work or childcare commitments outside of the course, and long journeys in to campus; at one point we even got snowed off, so we had brainstorming sessions with only three of us but always kept the missing person in the loop via WhatsApp.

The team leader set up a spreadsheet for references, so we could each put in papers as we read them — this was useful, as we could easily go back later to find information.

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Each one of us managed to find something no one else had. Discovering an alarming lack of evidence of an actual causal link between social media and depression made the project more challenging. We still had to try to adhere to the marking scheme whilst showing critical analysis of the data. Just to be sure that we were heading in the right direction, we got further feedback from our course leader. We then set up a Google Slides shared file, so we could all work on it at once, and divided up the number of slides and worked on one section each.

We then discussed the order and moved items around, and wrote rough drafts of our scripts. The team leader also booked rooms, so we had time to practice the presentation together; for all four of us to be there we had to fit this in between lectures, an hour here and there. When we came to give our presentation, we remembered almost all of our lines and finished on time. We congratulated each other and talked about how much we had enjoyed working together. Being able to work well in a team is an important skill not only in an academic environment but looking forward to our future career paths.

The first transition for me was moving from my home country, Nigeria, to England to study — it was very daunting to begin with. The initial decision to come to England to study for a Masters was very different from the decision I made to stay to further my studies and start a PhD. When I came to England to study for my Masters, I wanted to gain further skills and knowledge — the decision was based on the challenge to get better academically, and in turn to inform my future career path. The decision to further my education and embark on a PhD was based on the skills and knowledge I had acquired during my Masters degree.

The wide range of resources available to students to make learning convenient at the University of Salford was beyond expectations. As a postgraduate student, I had unlimited access to an extensive range of books, e-books, journal articles, and government publications to help me study, as well as request for articles that are not licensed to the University. The major influence in deciding to apply for a PhD was based on the final semester of my Masters programme, when I conducted a research study for my dissertation.

The research study examined the associations between sitting at work and mental wellbeing. I loved the idea of looking into a problem and trying to find out as much as I could about it, and looking into something that there was little previous research on. This is because the structure of deadlines and assignment submissions is no longer there — you have to carefully plan your own time and set your own targets. It can be quite overwhelming at times, sitting in an office every day of the week, rather than attending classes for two to four hours every day.

I am in an office with other PhD students, many of whom are working in studies that are not related to my field — this can make the PhD journey lonely at times, but also interesting because I get to learn about things outside of my own area of research.

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When I started my PhD, all of a sudden I was exposed to all these opportunities and changes. The PhD involves independent research and that means a lot of input from me as a researcher — like I said, it can be quite scary if you face it all alone. The University has provided various workshops and study skills sessions to help me adapt to the system, without feeling too overwhelmed! I have made use of these resources and intend to keep making use of them.

Association between sitting at work and mental wellbeing. As part of the extended induction programme, the MSc Public Health students took part in a two-day field trip that was designed to provide an immersive experience for students to orientate towards the discipline with a real word example of a past public health situation , get to know each other, form friendship groups, and begin to work in teams. This was designed to enable students to learn lessons that can be applied to infectious disease today. In , the village experienced an outbreak of the bubonic plague, and the villagers chose to isolate themselves to prevent the spread of infection.

During the outbreak, villagers died double the rate of those who died in London from the bubonic plague. On day one, the students took part in a guided transect walk around the village to learn about the history of the village, some of the key places, and the decisions that were made during the outbreak of the bubonic plague.

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The great British weather made this a very wet two hours, but a few hardy souls made it to the boundary stone, and we all learned a lot along the way about how the village dealt with the situation. Upon warming up with cuppa soup, teas, and coffees back at the Youth Hostel, the students started completing more detailed maps in groups to present to the judges the lecturing staff , and provide their overview of the village based on the transect walk.

As you can see the judging was intense!

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The final activity of day one involved an outbreak game: could our students and staff survive being infected by those who were the source of the outbreak? Our very own Margaret Coffey was infected twice, but was deemed allowed to stay in the Youth Hostel, once the class had worked out who were the sources of the outbreak, and how it had spread around to those infected. On the second day, those who were unable to join us, and were based back at the University, carried out similar activities to those who were in Eyam.

The students were split into groups to create a presentation related to either: the data and risk factors related to the plague outbreak in Eyam; or the modern spread of the plague, looking at Madagascar as a current case-study. Having a student from Madagascar on the trip with us really brought this work home for everyone, with their explanation of some of the measures that were currently in place.

Finally, we finished off with a trip to the local museum to round up all the learning before people headed back to Salford on the coach. Despite the weather, we all had a great time getting to know each other, learning about Eyam, and thinking about how this relates to modern Public Health. Participants especially valued the chance to get to know each other. I have developed a better understanding and a new love for it. We hope you will be able to join the MSc Public Health course in the future and come with us to learn more about the history of public health, and experience some of the English countryside.

You even get to stay in a mini castle for a night that is owned by the Youth Hostel Association. He also pointed out that more emphasis should be placed on stimulating a fundamental paradigm shift between the people and their communities, as well as the healthcare system. The issues brought up by Chris showed an interesting perspective of the healthcare system that challenges clinical pathways to have self-management at their core, and would encourage doctors to take a more holistic approach when treating their patients. Alan Higgins, Director of Public Health, Oldham Council, discussed the importance of health as a social movement to empower patients and citizens, strengthen communities, improve health and wellbeing, and eventually moderate the rising demands on the NHS.

Another speaker at the event was Siobhan Farmer, a Public Health Consultant for Salford City Council, who talked about the importance of influencing population health by focusing on education in early years, including more person-centred approaches to health and lifestyle behaviours. She further explained the role of Salford City council in health and social care, which gave us further insight on the many health inequalities present in Salford.

Variation in Life Expectancy — Male life expectancy ranges from The event was also a great networking opportunity, where we met many professionals from various fields in the public health sector.

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We had the privilege of talking to Professor John Middleton, President of the UK Faculty of Public Health, following his inspiring talk about encouraging an asset-based approach to improving health and wellbeing through social prescribing. The various other speakers at the conference also advocated for a change in the healthcare system, with a more comprehensive community-centred approach, where social prescribing could help change and shape attitudes and behaviours towards health and wellbeing. The conference ended with a highly inspirational presentation by Chrissie Wellington, Global Lead for Health and Wellbeing Parkrun, and Doctor Simon Tobin a General Practitioner with strong ties to Parkrun, who both stressed the benefits of exercise and outdoor activities for better health.

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