“One Should Never Stop Learning“- MGHD Student Speaks on How Continuous Education Improves Health Care Performance 

Blami Dao, MGHD’23 Student at UGHE. Photo by Pacifique Mugemana / UGHE

Constant learning is essential for public health practitioners, irrespective of their age or level of experience. By keeping abreast of the latest healthcare research and best practices, senior practitioners can contribute to the improvement of the healthcare system and the achievement of universal health care coverage in their countries. 

UGHE’s inclusive policy caters not only to individuals of diverse genders, nationalities, backgrounds, and experiences but also encompasses a broad range of ages in its Master of Science in Global Health Delivery Program (MGHD) to upgrade their expertise, thereby facilitating their contribution to the advancement of equitable and quality healthcare for all. 

Learners in the MGHD are chosen with cultural, disciplinary, and geographical diversity in mind, recognizing that the most significant healthcare threats facing the world demand interdisciplinary and multisectoral responses beyond borders. 

Blami Dao, a student from Burkina Faso in the MGHD Class of 2023, is an excellent example of someone who, despite being in his 60s, did not let his age limit him from pursuing a master’s degree program at UGHE. He believes that one should never stop learning and is a firm believer in seizing opportunities to learn. 

He asserts that “each time you have a chance to learn, you should seize it. Age should never hinder one from pursuing education and discovering new things. I am learning from the younger generation, and they are learning from me.” 

Blami Dao in class at UGHE. Photo by Pacifique Mugemana / UGHE

Blami’s experience as an obstetrics and gynecology clinician for 30 years, implementing sexual and reproductive health programs, and serving as the Technical Director of West and Central Africa at Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins University affiliate, propelled him to seek greater expertise in global health. He is confident that the MGHD program is equipping him with the knowledge and skills necessary to train clinicians in global health in Burkina Faso and other African Francophone countries. 

He emphasizes that “global health issues are prevalent on the African continent, with very few experts, and so that gap needs to be closed. African experts also need to contribute to global health by sharing perspectives from low- and middle-income countries. I am confident that the MGHD will enable me to achieve this.” 

The latest WHO report reveals that almost 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries, with over half in sub-Saharan Africa, where the rate stands at 525 deaths per 100,000 live births and 27 neonatal deaths per 1000 live births. 

Improving maternal and newborn health, family planning, and adolescent health in vulnerable communities necessitates a multifaceted approach involving training healthcare workers to address issues in these areas. This is what UGHE is doing as a PIH academic and research institution. 

On the other hand, PIH-supported facilities provide a full range of maternal health care, from prenatal checkups to safe deliveries, to postnatal monitoring and follow-up. 

As an MGHD student in the GSRH Option, Blami believes that the program is preparing him to enhance access to reproductive maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health services for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Burkina Faso, as nearly 10% of the population of Burkina Faso are IDPs. 

Through blended field-based and classroom learning, the MGHD program is empowering Blami’s new cohort of 50 brilliant students from 12 countries with actionable and practical skills to realize their vision for the future, supporting underserved populations in their communities. 

One of the skills that Blami is learning at UGHE is the power of advocacy and how he can use it to champion the cause of vulnerable communities. He plans to collaborate with the Ministry of Health, the legislative, and judiciary branches of the government as part of his advocacy strategies. 

“Advocacy efforts must be led by a coalition of various organizations, including civil societies. As a health professional, I will collaborate with professional health associations,” he says. 

UGHE’s academic offering is uniquely rooted in the values of equity, building the next generation of global health professionals like Blami Dao into leaders and changemakers, whose mission is to ensure quality health care reaches every individual, in every corner of the globe with a special focus on the vulnerable.