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MPH Program Welcomes Fulbright Scholar from Mozambique

Posted May. 2, 2013
MboaneRamos Mboane, a physician from Mozambique, joined the college last fall as a MPH student in the epidemiology program.  He’s a Fulbright scholar with particular interest in neglected tropical diseases, such as trachoma, the world’s leading cause of infectious blindness, which is readily preventable with access to clean water for personal hygiene.

 
“When I finished my medical education in Maputo three years ago, I decided to work as a district medical officer in a rural area of the large province of Niassa in the north region of the country,” Mboane explains.  “I observed that there are many infectious diseases killing children under five and that also are a serious problem for women.  I felt that I must learn about epidemiology and public health strategies for prevention of diseases and decided to pursue a degree in public health,” he says.
 
“Working with Ramos has been great, and he brings excellent developing-country field experience,” says Madhav Bhatta, Ph.D., assistant professor of Epidemiology.  This summer, the pair will examine data provided by the director of Mozambique’s health service regarding a national program started in 2009 to combat several neglected diseases caused by worms and transmitted due to a lack of proper sanitation.  As an alternative method of control and prevention of these diseases, Mozambique has been implementing mass drug administration (MDA) to reduce the disease burden.  “Drugs for the programs are being donated by large international drug companies such as Merck & Co., Inc.,” explains Bhatta.  “If school children receive the drugs every six months in a mass treatment program, it helps to cut down the infection rate,” he says.
 
Bhatta and Mboane, in collaboration with colleagues from the Research and Evaluation Bureau in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, have submitted a grant application to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention to evaluate Mozambique’s national program for controlling neglected diseases using the MDA strategy.  “When we received the request for proposals, we knew Kent State would be an ideal research site because of Ramos’ experience,” concludes Bhatta.
 
The Fulbright program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, was established in 1946 by the Congress to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.  Participants are chosen for their leadership potential and offered opportunities to study, teach, lecture and conduct research to improve the welfare of the world’s inhabitants.  About 1,800 students receive Fulbright grants annually.  Mboane was assigned to study at Kent State and began the MPH program last fall, after a six-week pre-academic training program at Syracuse University with other Fulbright scholars.  “It’s been a wonderful education so far,” he says.  “I’m learning very important things.”