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Fulbright Scholarship, MPH, Pakistani Doctor

A doctor in Pakistan, I hope to be selected for the Fulbright Scholarship on the basis of my passionate to desire to earn the MPH Degree so that I can contribute to improving health care infrastructure in my native Pakistan in both the short and the long term. I am already cultivating a special interest in the area of disaster management in particular, since I aspire to coordinate efforts between the government, on the one hand, and private sector organizations on the other. I seek to devote as much time as I can for the balance of my life to improving health services and social welfare programs with a focus on the cultivation of appreciation for community medicine initiatives.

Even though I look to the West, the USA in particular, where I hope to earn my MPH Degree, I also feel strongly that we Pakistanis need to resolve our own problems and issues in our own ways with our own resources, most importantly, as a result of our own initiatives. In other words, our problems need to be fixed from inside. Earning my MPH Degree in America with a focus on hospital management and health policy will serve as the perfect platform to empower me to assume increasing levels of managerial and administrative responsibility in the future.

As a first year intern working in a tertiary care hospital here in my native city, Islamabad, Pakistan, I have seen first-hand and up close how our health care system is failing us in our country; not so much because of our lack of expertise as our lack of infrastructure and equipment. Probably the strongest single aspect of my application for your competitive Fulbright Scholarship is the great passion that I have for helping my country to develop better medical infrastructure in the future, through solidarity with better developed Western countries. I look forward to learning and practicing in the United States for many reasons, including the hope that I have of making major contributions down the road to the development of better, more sustainable medical infrastructure in Pakistan, and I see the completion of an MPH program in the USA as key to ability to do so.

I spent much of time between 2011, shortly after graduating from medical school, and 2013 in Dubai with my husband who has been living and working there for several years. I was disappointed that I was not selected for a medical internship position in Dubai as a result of the fierce competition. Thus, I returned home to Pakistan in 2014 so that I could practice medicine. I am in no big hurry to choose a medical specialization. Rather, I like very much the idea of focusing on reform rather than specialty and helping to make the processes that we have more streamlined in each area that I work. Sometimes I am laughed at because I am a dreamer, and I try and learn from this, especially concerning the importance of pragmatism in all things, setting creative yet attainable goals and having the determination to see them through.

Several doctors at the hospital where I work have shared most honestly with me how they feel that our health care policies are poorly defined and ambiguously interpreted while our administration is highly inefficient and chronically disorganized in many respects. This takes a toll on both our budget and the quality of healthcare that we are able to provide.

This is why I feel myself profoundly drawn to and inspired by the movement towards Community Medicine. I was inspired in medical school to focus early on the real dilemmas faced by hospitals that result from inadequate infrastructure and resources, including human resources, most particularly in the area of waste management and disposal, health education, and crisis preparedness.

I feel privileged and lucky to have been brought up in a family where we were encouraged from an early age to do our part for the society and help improve the lives of others. As the youngest of three siblings I had the chance to learn from my brothers’ experiences. Both my parents were active members of the Rotary Foundation so naturally as soon as I came of age I was handed the baton. I choose to become part of two projects: ‘Save our Souls for Orphaned Children’ and ‘Support for the Blind Foundation’. For the SOS project I was responsible for buying supplies, clothes, and managing our activities. At the foundation for the blind, I provided counseling and moral support for victims of acid attacks, almost all women. This especially brutal form of violence against women, throwing acid in the faces of women accused of infidelity, leaving many of them blind, has inspired me to pay special attention to women’s issues in medicine and I hope to cultivate this interest further as a graduate student in public health.

As a student in medical schools I was also engaged in a host of activities working with a broad variety of social welfare programs, especially the education project

In my GCSE years I sought and gained responsibilities beyond acedemics. Every year working in close collaboration with the student counselor, I organized social welfare program and host of other activities, mostly through the pro-modernization movement surrounding the XXXX School. We even went door to door to convince the parents of students to let them participate in our programs. I also became a founding member of the blood donation society and official facilitator for the XXXX Society. We arranged blood for 400 Thalassemia patients over the course of 2 years. We also organized classes for the examination of genetic causes of and education and awareness regarding Thalassemia.

There is no doubt in my mind why I choose to become a doctor; I always knew I had this urge to help make a difference in people’s lives. I spent a great deal of time observing the health care system in Dubai while living there with my husband and learned a great deal about the practice of medicine in a Developed Country. This will also help me to excel in an MPH Program in America. They have developed a state of art health care system in a short span of 10 years or so in Dubai and the speed of the progress is especially admirable. It got me to thinking of the reasons for the failure of Pakistan’s health care. No doubt we have fine medical professionals practicing here in Pakistan but the true deficiency lays in the administration. Be it government bodies or private sectors. We have weak policy implementation which could be reformed effectively if we had proficient and erudite administrators.

Earlier this year after the drought of 2014-2015 in TharParker, I joined ‘XXXX’ in a relief and aid project. The primary objective of the project was to dig 5 water pumps that were to be drilled to the depth of the low water table along with dry food distribution, clothing, and household items etc. My role in the project was to hold a seminar to educate the locals of ‘Mithi’ (the capital city of Tharparker). We made pamphlets that provided essential information regarding sanitation, benefits of hand washing, water boiling and essential first line management of diarrhea, working 14 hours at a time, straight into the night. This illustrates the devotion that I have to the cause of medical care for, underprivileged Pakistanis, those who are most in need, who have long been neglected and generally distrust the authorities to deliver.

I thank you for your consideration of my application.

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