Student profile: Global Health

Meet Patience Komba

We caught up with Master of Global Health graduate, Patience Komba, to find out why she chose postgraduate study and how she thinks the degree has helped her career. 

Patience Komba

What attracted you to the Masters of Global Health?

I have always cared deeply about people with pressing social and health needs. This is what led me to pursue a nursing degree and then go on to work at various clinical and research settings including intensive care, pediatric highly dependent units and HIV care and treatment clinics.

Through interaction with patients and their caregivers, participating in clinical meetings, journal clubs, and conferences, I observed a commonality that diseases, their causes, and preventable deaths are caused by multi-faceted and multi-dimensional health and non-health factors.

I learnt that solutions to these complex health problems requires individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to tackle them at different levels and decided to pursue a post-graduate degree in global health.

I wanted to learn about the social determinants of health, to equip myself with knowledge and skills to be able to review and understand disease causation, understand primary prevention, health promotion principles, health systems organisation, public health leadership, research methodology, data analysis, and more.

Why did it stand out from other degree options?

The program stood out as it covered the foundations of global health, epidemiology, biostatistics, health system strengthening, primary health care, advanced sexual health, and global health project management.

Along with the content, the teaching and learning modalities provided opportunities to learn from leading professors and fellow students, all who have diverse backgrounds and knowledge.

Most of the course instructors had worked and researched in settings like the ones I originated from, which helped me see relevant links from content to field experience.

What did you enjoy most about studying the degree?

I enjoyed the conducive learning environment, particularly for international students. I felt warmly welcomed by the Australian Awards Scholarship office, the faculty, and fellow international and local students. I was oriented to the facilities and amenities available for students, and all the support available.

The univeristy's approachability, well-designed libraries, and opportunities to interact, exchange, and share knowledge with fellow students was magnificent. The various approaches to learning the content equipped me with the necessary analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills crucial in an unpredictable global health space.

Being able to explore my varied interests with dedicated, passionate teaching staff allowed me to become the well-rounded public health professional I am now. I have made long-lasting professional relationships while at the Sydney School of Public Health and interning at the Sydney Eye Hospital – Sexual Health Clinic. I also met friends that have now become family.

What have you been able to achieve since graduating?

After completing the degree, I came back to Tanzania, and I returned to work at  the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) where I have been promoted to lead the program quality and business development portfolio.

The Master of Global Health expanded my public health knowledge and equipped me with competencies that have enabled me to better design, lead, and manage public health programs in Tanzania and beyond.
Patience Komba

My current role involves coordinating a large HIV project where, with my team, we provide technical assistance to local implementing partners and health management teams in addressing systemic and structural barriers that impede the local capacity to deliver quality HIV/AIDS services.

What advice would you give others considering a career in global Health?

The Sydney School of Public Health will provide you with crucial experience needed to become a global health professional and leader. Undoubtedly, the Sydney school of Public Health and the learning environment offers their full support, just like they did for me and many of my peers.

I would reccommend you try  to network and make lasting professional relationships, it is from those that opportunities come forth.