Tuesday, March 29, 2016

NTDs and the great news!

Hello Esteemed Readers!

Happy Holidays in arrears to everyone who celebrated the Easter Holidays. It’s been a restful and long weekend here in Nigeria thanks to the Easter holidays which ended just yesterday (Easter Monday).  

So, I am currently rounding up the course, “Neglected Tropical Diseases”. One thing I have enjoyed about the course so far is the engaging discussions between all course participants. I guess that because the previous course didn’t provide that opportunity for open discussions with colleagues, I had somewhat missed the discussion board and was happy to have it back. The discussions board has a way of stimulating your thoughts and opens you up to more learning than you would have had with just the basic lecture materials. Besides, sharing ideas and having (safe) arguments with your colleagues exposes you to different thoughts and experiences. And this gets better if you have a very diverse class like mine with students from almost every continent. As the course is rounding up and we are all required to submit our written assessments, I can presume that we are all currently neck-deep in finalizing our essays. This is one of those essays where you to choose a position (for or against) on a topic and you are required to defend your chosen stance with evidence-based critical thinking and justifiable reasons. . It seems to be much more work than I initially thought and I hope it works out just fine!

So in my previous post, I mentioned that I had some great news coming up. Well, here it is!!! (**drum-rolls**)

During the summer school (I know I never really did finish the summer school series, pardon me)… I was inspired to start up a virtual platform that would be a go-to resource place to educate the general public on relevant animal-human health topics in a simplified, interesting and engaging manner. As a veterinarian, I understand that in my country, there is so much ambiguity and ignorance on the aspect of animal health, animal welfare and zoonoses. This has led to abuse and quackery on so many levels, under-appreciation of quality and professional animal health care and on a larger scale, transmission of zoonoses. Undertaking this project had always been on my mind but I was inspired to take action on it when I had some related discussions with my some of my colleagues. I discussed my idea with Yusuf (my Nigerian colleague) and of course, things got fashioned out from there.

Well, after about 5 months of planning, challenges and maybe a little bit of procrastination, I finally launched the MyAnimal,MyHealth Network. This website is a virtual educational and public engagement platform that will provide information, learning and news on various clinical and public health issues and solutions to animal and human health in Nigeria. My amazing team and I decided to focus on Nigeria until we are sure we have the capacity to expand to other sub-Saharan countries.

The site launched officially on March 1 with accompanying social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. It’s great to know that the network is growing and currently has a followership of over a thousand people on Facebook. I am happy with the engagement so far as we constantly receive some messages of encouragement and lots of messages on inquiry or questions based on our various topics of discussion. Of course, in establishing this momentum and order, we will continue to work on improving our structure and content for better effectiveness.  

So, just in case you are interested or you would like to support this initiative (which I would appreciate so much) you can visit the website (www.myanimalmyhealth.org) and subscribe to our posts. Better still, you can like our page on Facebook (MyAnimal,MyHealth) or simply follow us on Twitter @manimalmhealth.

Lest I forget, a fun part of starting up MyAnimal,MyHealth Network was having the opportunity to learn about building a website from scratch, all thanks to know-it-all Google. Due to a major disappointment from a professional who was supposed to build the site (one of the “challenges” I encountered), I pushed myself to learn something new and totally unfamiliar – building a website. It took me a lot of errors, consumed time and internet data (Oh yeah... Internet is quite expensive here) but I’m so glad I did! 

I am grateful and look forward to greater things with this.

So, off to continue with my written assessment and then myanimalmyhealth.org

A plus tard … Ciao!

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