STATEMENT OF PURPOSE FOR A POSTGRADUATE STUDY
I studied the present state of healthcare system in my country Nigeria, and realized how far behind we lag at developing, implementing, maintaining and sustaining better healthcare systems.
With high mortality rate of 11.771 per 1000, third lowest average life expectancy rate of approximately 55 years, poor patient to doctor ratio of 2500:1 and about 90% of her population living without health insurance, Nigeria ranks 75th percentile of countries with poorest health care delivery and management systems in the world. Just as Hellen Keller said, “all the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.” I believe that an offer of admission to study Health Informatics in your prestigious University will help unleash my career in Healthcare and Information Technology, and also equip me to contribute immensely to improved healthcare systems in my country and the world at large
As a young child who grew up in a lower middle-income country, computers and other smart gadgets (intelligent systems) fascinated me so much that from my tender age, I became inquisitive about great things that they could be used to do. My quest for knowledge soon became reality when I proceeded to study Computer Engineering as my first degree. During my undergraduate study at Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, I learnt more about computer systems, how they work, and the limitless solutions they offer to mankind; from providing access to insightful information, to optimizing processes and communications, thereby easing the way we live and generally improving the state of human well-being. These realizations fueled my interest to develop an Android-based expert system for the diagnosis of some tropical diseases using hybridization of Fuzzy logic and Analytic Hierarchy Process. At the knowledge acquisition stage, I administered questionnaires to 72 medical doctors at 12 hospitals. I used a method called Learning from Example to extract fuzzy rules from the questionnaires. And modelled the system using MATLAB and FuzzyTECH software. Subsequently, I implemented the system on Android platform using Java programming language and XML.
I evaluated my study by comparing the sensitivity and consultation time of the developed system to that of medical doctors. The Android based system showed 72% sensitivity compared to 62% of medical doctors and consultation time was reduced by up to 15%. My research work has shown that an Android-based Fuzzy-AHP diagnosis expert system can help to reduce the patient waiting time, and stress on clinicians in Nigeria and other developing countries thereby reducing mortality due to tropical diseases.
My interest to study Health Informatics became clear during my internship with eHealth4everyone where I served as an IT project management and analytics intern. During my 12- months period of internship, I provided management and analytics assistance on projects that involve strengthening of electronic health systems and development of mobile health applications. I managed a team of Java developers, public health and data analysts, and system administrators to develop an Electronic Immunization Record System using Open Smart Register Platform. I conducted extensive user research and gathered system requirements that are robust enough to implement this system. The Immunization system was integrated to Nigeria’ DHIS2, can send 2-way automated SMS as reminders to Mothers, make automated voice calls in Mother’ preferred language or dialect, track baby’s growth and nutritional status, manage vaccine in stock and generate automated report of coverage. Furthermore, I assisted my organization on a project to develop and deploy SMARTACARE – a patient attendance tracking system that was developed using Open Medical Record System. As the project assistant, I ensured that the product was pushed to market and is currently used by over 60 medical facilities in Nigeria with each facility having at least 22% increase in productivity and patient satisfaction. With a background in IT but little on healthcare, I dedicated most of my free time to explore healthcare systems management and strengthening, the more I studied, the more fascinating understanding I got about the present state and future trends of healthcare and thus, the more I wanted to know. I engaged my analytical skills in the development and management of MSDAT – a BMGF funded project as an intervention to the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria that was executed by my organization. The Multisource Health Data Analytics Dashboard provides a single transparent view of key health indicators from multiple data sources, to help decision makers make informed decisions about healthcare in Nigeria.
During my 1 year National Youth Service Program, I joined Volunteer Teacher’ Club, Abuja chapter and volunteered as a STEM Instructor. I taught Junior students STEM subjects and also organized over 15 local hackathons on STEM, where junior students ideated several amazing STEM hacks and developed several projects. As a youth who is passion-driven for excellent wellbeing, I joined Drug Free, a Community Development Service group that teaches adolescents and youths how to live drug free lives through abstinence from illegal use of drugs and self-control over prescribed drugs, creating awareness. The group visits organizations and schools, preaching against illegal use and possession of hard drugs. My selfless commitment to the group led to my election as the president of the group. During my tenure as the president, I organized several capacity building sessions for my group members, and conducted over 27 sensitization programs across 9 schools and 9 organizations in Abuja, Nigeria. Also, I led the group to a collaboration with the …. in University of Abuja to conduct research on the use and possession of hard drugs amongst youth of age 14 – 24 in … area. At the end of this research, about 13 adolescents and 19 youths were discovered as drug-addicts and recommended for rehabilitation. These experiences have given me the opportunity to be involved with what is really going on in the grass-root level of the health systems of Nigeria, with the goal of using it to make informed decisions in the life-long career journey of improving Nigeria’s health system through innovative technologies. I have drawn on these experiences as a propulsion for where I am now, and a motivation for where I want to be, which hinges on my acceptance as a Masters’ student at the University of Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh consistently ranks among the top places to live, work, and visit in the United States. And because of its low cost of living, large concentration of universities and colleges, and recent cultural renaissance, Pittsburgh ranks among the top cities in the U.S. for millennials and recent college graduate – making it the ideal place to live and learn as I complete my graduate studies.
With an almost unbeatable faculty to student ratio of 14:1, University of Pittsburgh is home to thousands of eminent researchers who are researching to make a difference and have birthed numerous lifesaving solutions across the health sector. I am intrigued by
several interesting research projects carried out by its faculty members.
I look forward to learning from and working with renowned Professors like Yuan Chang and Patrick Moore. It is my dream that through research, I will contribute to the development of Next Generation Health Systems that are personalized, secure, interoperable and patient centered; and ultimately make a great difference like Jonas Salk and Bernard Fisher.