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Public Health as a Career: Professional Insights

Three professionals talk about their motivations and objectives for choosing to make a career in Public Health.
BY Vindhya Vatsyayan |   04-12-2015

“In 2014, 9.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease.”

Does the rising number of Tuberculosis (TB) patients concern you?

“The smallpox eradication effort, one of the most successful public health initiatives in history, saved billions of lives.”

Do you also want to play an instrumental role in ending the epidemics of AIDS?

If yes, Public Health might be a perfect career choice for you.

But, what exactly drives one to pursue a career in public health?

Priscilla Ngaihte: A passion for solutions

Priscilla Ngaihte is an oral health specialist.

After completing her undergraduate training in Dentistry from Maulana Azad Medical College, Priscilla returned to her beautiful town Churachandpur in Manipur.

She soon realized that community health in the Northeast was greatly affected because of various socio-political and economic disparities.

Always passionate about improving thehealth conditions of the underprivileged, Priscilla chose to pursue a postgraduate degree in Public Health with a specialization in Global Health from Simon Fraser University, Canada. She says, “International exposure has really helped me in building a strong outlook towards the problems prevailing in our communities. I got a firsthand exposure to how health systems work there, and what we can learn from them.”

She has been a keen advocate of community health development, and is currently involved in various spheres such as health systems research, sexual health & rights, and adolescent health.

Komal Rathi: An opportunity to bring about a positive change!

A graduate in Home Science, Komal Rathi, decided to join the Nutrition Foundation of India as part of her Master’s program in Food and Nutrition. She was required to spend some time in the Delhi’s slums.

She says, “I was really moved by the poor health conditions prevailing in the slums, especially amongst the mothers and their newborn.” The whole experience gave her a lot more clarity on what she wanted to do in life, and she decided to work for the betterment of maternal and child health. “Books are considered the building blocks of knowledge, but it was practical experience which helped me decide, what I really wanted to do in life.”

Soon, Komal joined the Indian Institute of Public Health as a Consultant for a project on Antenatal & Child Health in urban slums.

“The opportunity gave me a chance to contribute to the society and bring about some positive change around me. I was finally doing what I really wanted to do.”

Komal now plans to pursue a PhD in Behaviour Change Communication to improve the infant & young child feeding practices of caregivers in urban slums.

Vindhya: A love of people, and a passion for travelling!

And here’s my story.

I always looked forward to travelling to the fields, and listening to the stories of people living there. So, after completing my master’s in bioinformatics, I decided to work at improving global health.

I started my journey by developing a biological database on ‘hospital acquired infections’ at All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Hospital-acquired infections are a significant cause of death in the hospitalized patients and antibiotics-resistant infections.

But why database? Because I also loved data, statistics, and web designing. I went on to join an NGO sensitizing adolescent community in the slum, villages, and schools on various issues- like health, HIV/AIDS, and alcohol/ drug abuse.

Now a research associate with Public Health Foundation of India, I work on HIV prevention projects. My work involves a lot of travelling, which means experiencing different cultures and cuisines, as well as an unparalleled opportunity to work alongside professionals from different walks of life.

I feel at peace working hard to leave the world a better place than I found it.



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Great work Vindhya ...keep it up 👍🏻
07 December 2015

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