On working behind the scenes

Working for global health equity isn’t always as glamorous as going out in the field, working directly in the community. Sometimes the most effective work you can do for the global health equity movement is behind the scenes…

The work of a distance learning officer at IDI.

As a Distance Learning Officer at the Infectious Diseases Institute’s (IDI) Training Department, the majority of my job is spent working on a computer and writing. While I am passionate about infectious diseases, science education, and public health, I often feel disconnected between what I do at work in Kampala and what is going on in the field. Work visits to the IDI site in the Mulago Hospital Complex in Kampala are a constant reminder of the state of health in Uganda and I wonder, “How does my work help to change the broader challenge that is Uganda’s health system and, as an extension, global health and health equity?”

One project I’m working on is adapting training curriculum about the management of pediatric HIV into an online learning system for health care workers to access. I help to influence the knowledge that health workers obtain, in hopes that what they learn will translate into providing better care to their community. With the evolution of technology and its use in many parts of life, my work also helps health workers build their capacity to use and be comfortable with technology. At the end of the day, I work behind the scenes for the benefit of the larger community.

What I, and I’m sure others in my position, forget at times is that the work of global health equity must be tackled on multiple fronts. Being behind the scenes, like developing training curriculum for health providers, is just as valuable as being on the ground providing care. Although some people may feel that working behind the scenes is not as exciting being in the field, it’s important to remember that we are all working towards the same vision of health equity for all.

Sure, most of my days at IDI are spent behind a computer. There are times when I second guess what I do. However, I enjoy my role as a Global Health Corps fellow and working behind the scenes of such a dedicated local organization because the work I do is part of the movement for health equity for all that I want to ensure becomes a reality.