“I have witnessed the barriers, gaps and dire need of improvement and expansion of public health programs in our country [Nepal]. I needed specific skills which I could only acquire by pursuing my post-graduate degree in public health.”
Dr Amrit Pokhrel is cementing his public health knowledge and skills to make an impact on healthcare in Nepal. Before starting the Master of Public Health, Dr Pokhrel worked as a Section Chief in Epidemiology and Outbreak Management within the Nepalese Department of Health Services, and as a paediatrician in remote, mountainous regions of the country.
Why did you decide to study the Master of Public Health?
I have great interest in the field of public health and I believe it will help me to surge my quest to learn more, experience more and improve. As a paediatrician, I have always worked for the betterment of the health of all, especially children. However, as an officer of the Nepalese Department of Health Services, the scope of work expanded from more than just clinical practitioner to communicator, educator and manager of healthcare.
During my six years working in remote areas of Nepal and five years at the central level, I have witnessed the barriers, gaps and dire need of improvement and expansion of public health programs in our country. During COVID-19 pandemic, as a section chief at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD), I was able to mobilise and lead my team and got opportunities to get involved in many research studies. This gave me insight into the importance of research and a scientific way to deal with public health problems. I have also realised that despite being a clinician and section chief at EDCD, I have been working based on the medical knowledge and previous experiences, however I have always felt short in academic qualification and specific skills which I can only acquire by pursuing my post-graduate degree in this field.
Why did you choose the University of Melbourne over other universities to study public health?
My first choice was always The University of Melbourne as the curriculum offered here suits my interest. Besides the academic and professional opportunities, this institution is well-known for providing students with a multicultural learning environment, interdisciplinary excellence, renowned faculties, and updated curriculum. Furthermore, alumni of this institution in Nepal have highly recommended joining this prestigious institution.
What do you like most about your course?
I am always excited by the teaching and learning methods in our faculty. The environment encourages me to interact closely with the professors and tutors in the classroom and in lectures to discuss about any queries I have. I am very happy to share my own experiences, which are heard and acknowledged so keenly by my teachers and friends. I am equally benefited when I hear experiences of my other colleagues from all around the world. I have developed the skill to make arguments and find supportive evidence to back up my argument.
Where are you currently working? How will the course help you in your career?
I work as Section Chief in Epidemiology and Disease Control Division at the Department of Health Services, Teku, Kathmandu, Nepal.
I’m required to have skills and knowledge in the science of preventing diseases, determinants of health and barriers in the implementation of public health programs. In my work, I provide support to the Ministry of Health and Population for drafting national laws, policies, and strategies related to epidemiology and outbreak management, I conduct situational analysis and capacity building activities, and I carry out outbreak investigation, control and management by mobilisation of Rapid Response Teams.
What inspires you?
The passion to serve in uplifting the health system of Nepal.