A letter from Kabiru Adewale Ajibola about the Public Health International Scholarship Experience: 

I am immensely grateful to Public Health International for providing me with the funding to pursue a Master of Science degree at the University of Salford. This scholarship reduced my financial pressures tremendously and allowed me to dedicate myself to excelling in my academics and research.  The scholarship gave me access to world-class faculty, research opportunities, and a rigorous public health curriculum at Salford. I gained extensive knowledge and skills in data analysis, epidemiology, health policy, leadership, and cultural competency. All of these have equipped me to drive meaningful improvements in public health practice post-graduation. Specifically, I honed my abilities to conduct statistical analysis which will help translate data into informed policies and interventions. I also refined my leadership abilities to manage collaborative public health programs. The cultural sensitivity and global outlook I developed will help me liaise and effect change in diverse communities. Most importantly, this scholarship reinforced my commitment to health equity. The emphasis on ethics and social justice in the program’s curriculum ensured I approach public health challenges through an inclusive, compassionate lens. I will continually apply this human-centered perspective to my work. Let me also apologise and acknowledge that in my excitement and focus on completing my dissertation, I failed to properly thank you in the acknowledgments section. That was an oversight on my part, and I sincerely regret not expressing my appreciation and gratitude for your support. I hope you will accept my apologies for this omission, along with the deepest thanks in this letter. 

Beyond expanding my expertise and perspectives, this scholarship also created a strong community that supported my learning and growth. The scholars came from diverse cultures and backgrounds, bringing a richness of experiences to share and learn from one another. I forged strong friendships through group projects, study sessions, and informal social gatherings with my fellow scholars. We bonded over our shared passion for public health despite our differing approaches and contexts. These relationships provided invaluable emotional support during the stresses of graduate school. My peers also connected me to professional opportunities. One introduced me to a health clinic where I could volunteer on weekends. This allowed me to gain practical experience conducting health screenings and patient education. Others invited me to collaborate on their research and papers, which strengthened my academic abilities. These meaningful connections truly enriched my graduate experience. I learned so much from my talented, socially conscious peers who constantly challenged me to grow. Our mutual understanding, encouragement, and collaboration motivated me to maximise this opportunity. 

However, one of the highlights of my MSc program was when our class took an excursion to the rural village of Eyam as part of the Training Exercise. Walking around the historic plague village with lecturers brought the sobering story to life in a profound way. Seeing the boundary stones marking the quarantine perimeter where residents sacrificed themselves to contain the 1665 plague outbreak was incredibly moving. Discussing plague containment strategies used in the 1600s versus today with lecturers throughout the excursion provided valuable perspectives. The passion and knowledge they brought made the excursion engaging and meaningful. This trip reinforced lessons from the simulation while expanding our understanding of past public health practices. Getting to explore Eyam’s story in situ rather than a classroom, facilitated by lecturers as guides, created a powerful learning experience. The excursion brought home the reality of putting public health principles into action in ways a textbook could not capture. Under our lecturers’ leadership, this immersive learning opportunity made history come alive while deepening perspectives on managing health crises. Additionally, this scholarship allowed me to forge invaluable connections. I met public health leaders working in various contexts worldwide. Interacting with them reinforced my passion. Getting their advice and mentorship also prepared me for future collaborations to improve health outcomes globally. An example of such leaders met was during our pre-reading session with Professor Rajan Madhok on 29/11/2022. The session was a memorable one that will remain indelible. These networks believe in opening doors professionally. By supporting my master’s education, this scholarship empowered my career aspirations tremendously. I am now qualified for public health roles focused on analysing trends, developing solutions, and leading impactful programs worldwide. It was a catalyst for my dreams. 

All the above achievements were the result of dedicated tutors. The lecturers I had the privilege to learn from during my MSc program truly enriched my graduate studies experience. Their extensive knowledge and passion for the subject matter brought the course content to life. Beyond academics, they also provided invaluable mentorship that stimulated my intellectual growth. I especially appreciated how approachable they made themselves, their welcoming questions, and their discussions during office hours or after class. Their guidance helped me hone critical thinking and research skills that became the foundation of my dissertation. The diversity of their backgrounds and perspectives exposed me to new ways of framing complex public health issues. Thank you, Dr Alexandra Clarke-Cornwell, for your dedication despite battling illness during my dissertation, she provided unwavering support and guidance throughout the entire process. Her extensive knowledge and passion for the subject matter enriched my graduate studies experience immensely. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for her perseverance and commitment to my growth as a researcher, even during difficult personal circumstances. Her insights and feedback propelled my dissertation to a higher level. Likewise, Dr. Anna Cooper-Ryan’s welcoming nature and approachability enabled me to frequently visit her office, sometimes even without an appointment. During these impromptu sessions, she patiently clarified concepts I struggled with and offered mentorship that stimulated my intellectual growth. Her diversity of perspectives exposed me to new ways of framing complex public health issues that became invaluable for my research. I am tremendously appreciative to have learned from such devoted lecturers and mentors who truly want students to thrive. I must also acknowledge Dr Joshua Pink for his instrumental help during my dissertation research and ethics approval stages. Joshua spent many hours guiding me through the complex ethics review process, ensuring I submitted a comprehensive ethics application that met all institutional requirements. I also want to extend my appreciation to Robyn McCarthy for her invaluable assistance in distributing my dissertation questionnaire on Twitter.  As a seasoned user of the platform, Robyn understood exactly how to effectively leverage Twitter to reach a broad, relevant audience for my research study and I was able to craft compelling tweets that resulted in a high rate of participation. Above all, let me sincerely take a moment to thank my supervisor (Dr. Anna Clark) for the support, guidance, and encouragement you have provided during my dissertation, I truly appreciate all that you have done. Working with you has been one of the highlights of my career so far. Thanks again for being a fantastic supervisor. Your guidance has shaped me into the professional I am today. I look forward to continuing working together in the years ahead. My graduate studies were enhanced by these instructors, as well as others whose names are withheld. Their constructive feedback on assignments pushed me to continuously improve the quality of my work (I cannot forget the feedback on my first assignment). Most importantly, their unwavering encouragement gave me confidence in my own abilities as an emerging public health professional. I will carry the lessons from these dedicated lecturers long after completing my postgraduate degree. Their commitment to students like myself demonstrates the immense difference that devoted educators can make in shaping the next generation. 

As I embark on my career, I am filled with a sense of purpose and self-belief – something this scholarship nurtured in me. It not only provided financial support but also helped me realise my potential to drive change. I am ready to challenge inequities and champion healthy, thriving communities locally and worldwide. Once again, thank you Public Health International for being a catalyst on this journey. I hope I have made you proud thus far and will continue to do so as I progress in this meaningful career path. I advise all prospective and aspiring students from diverse disciplines to apply to the public health profession at Salford University and make use of the Public Health International Scholarship. This will equip you with the expertise and connections to create your desired impact globally. You have boundless potential to unlock. In closing, I am incredibly thankful to have been part of the Public Health International Scholar community. It has shaped me both professionally and personally into a leader ready to improve health outcomes worldwide. The lessons, competencies, perspectives, and connections gained will stay with me throughout my career. I cannot wait to pay forward the same empowering support as an alumnus. 


Salford Celebrates the 75th Birthday of the NHS

By Lydia Kofoworola (MSc Public Health Student)

The 75th anniversary of the NHS was celebrated throughout the United Kingdom, and Salford was no exception. The school of Health and Society celebrations began with a brief introductory speech followed by a fascinating journey through the timeline of the NHS’s evolution, from the pre-1900s to the 1900s, the millennium, and projections for the future.

At lunchtime, the five winners of the NHS stories were announced then guests could enjoy very British refreshments of tea and ice cream. At around 1:15 pm, we heard from several NHS staff members. They expressed their pride and privilege in being part of the NHS, discussed how the NHS has evolved over the years, and highlighted the vast employment opportunities it has provided.

The most memorable part of the celebration was the personal stories of how the NHS has impacted individual lives. A variety of adjectives were used to describe personal experiences with this healthcare system. It was heartening to hear that most of these experiences were positive. Among the many words used to describe the NHS were “sensitive,” “respectful,” “dignified communication,” “supportive,” “touching,” “caring,” “tireless,” “support groups,” “love,” “care,” “compassion,” “commitment,” “dedication,” “effortlessly,” “sincerity,” “advice,” “lifeline,” “invaluable support,” “unwavering dedication,” “tireless effort,” “exceptional care,” “gentle touch,” “comforting words,” “kindness,” and “outstanding care.” The NHS has successfully fulfilled its mission statement of providing care and services that individuals and their families would want to use.

Not only do people rely of the services of the NHS, but they also aspire to be part of the team that passionately and compassionately improves the health and lives of citizens. This aspiration is evident in the stories of individuals who gained self-awareness and confidence about their future through their encounters with the NHS.

In a nutshell, the NHS is not just about systems and equipment; it’s about people. It’s about the nurses, doctors, therapists, care and support workers, pharmacists, administrators, and many others who work tirelessly every day to improve, empower, transform, and save lives. They are the ones who have shaped the NHS into what it is today, and any celebration would be incomplete without acknowledging their tremendous contributions to the health of the nation.

Here’s to 75 remarkable years and many more to come!

“Antimicrobial Resistance: A Chronicle of Laughter, Learning, and Intellectual Adventurers”

In today’s interconnected world, global health challenges of the 21st century require collaborative efforts from diverse teams this was no different for our group as we set out to identify and address a pressing health concern by harnessing our collective strengths and resources. Grab your explorer’s hat and buckle up, as we take you on a wild ride through the exhilarating world of global health challenges! Our team of daring adventurers set out on a mission to tackle a formidable health foe, armed only with our wits, resourcefulness, and a healthy dose of humour. Read on to discover how our fantastic group turned the complex issue of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) into an engaging, memorable presentation.

The intellectual quest began as each team member searched the far reaches of the internet to unearth potential global health challenges of the 21st century. We tossed our findings into a dedicated WhatsApp group, igniting enthusiastic discussions and sparking friendly rivalries. In the end, we held a vote to decide the most fearsome health enemy worth fighting, and AMR emerged as the victor, but our journey had just begun.

 It was time to assemble our research army, with our target locked; we devised a battle. The topic was divided into sections to ensure the marking criteria were addressed with each member enlisted in a research squadron, ready to charge into their designated battleground. After braving the frontlines of research, we regrouped and assembled our treasure trove of information into a single Word document. Our band of intrepid explorers scrutinized the document, offering words of wisdom and encouragement to refine our presentation’s narrative arc. We had just figured out the great puzzle.

Throughout the journey, our motley crew held biweekly meetings to exchange ideas, stories, and hearty laughter. When distance threatened to separate us, we relied on trusty Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp to bridge the gap, ensuring we never lost sight of our shared goal because staying connected was necessary for the victory ahead. You can call us the Chatty Adventurers’ Club.

Every great adventure story has a wise mentor, and ours was no exception. We crossed paths with Cathy and Anna, who bestowed upon us valuable insights and enchanted tips for creating a captivating presentation. Their pearls of wisdom and practical guidance illuminated their path, paving the way for our next crucial task – transforming raw data into a captivating slideshow. We left the encounter wiser and more prepared for the challenges ahead. Pro-tip, always listen to the Sage’s advice.

Under the soft glow of the Beehive room, we huddled around our laptops, weaving together a tapestry of PowerPoint slides as we pooled our talents to transform our data into a visual extravaganza, a masterpiece. This was an experience we will not be forgetting soon as we stayed at the beehive till 9 pm with our tired eyes, and weary feet but determined mind, a fun and enlightening adventure.

The PowerPoint slides were divided into five thrilling acts, with the final speaker taking the spotlight to reveal our climactic recommendations – a crucial element of our presentation’s grand finale. We were opportune to get expert advice from Fatma, the language advisor.

As the curtain rose on our performance, we practised our roles individually and as an ensemble, using Microsoft Teams, in-person sessions, and even summoning the aid of the library team. Our combined efforts honed our presentation to perfection, ensuring that each member was ready to dazzle the audience- the final showdown. The hard work and commitment paid off as we passed the presentation with flying colours.

So, dear readers, our thrilling tale of camaraderie, humour, and triumph ends. Our team’s heroic efforts produced an awe-inspiring, entertaining presentation on the formidable issue of AMR – proving that even the most daunting global health challenges can be conquered when we work together with a smile on our faces. Stay safe, take care and away from antibiotic abuse.

Our journey would not have been the same without the unique contributions of each team member.


Becky, our research wizard, ventured into the vast ocean of knowledge, always returning with precious pearls of information. Her sense of humour was our anchor, defusing all tension.

 Dami, our organizational guru, provided structure to our chaos. Her creative ideas were like sparks, igniting trails of innovation and inspiring us to think outside the box.

Festus brought versatility and intuitiveness to the table. He would adapt to any situation, intuitively filling in gaps. Like a Swiss army knife, ready to tackle any challenge that came our way.

Florence, our presentation maestro, with skills so impeccable they left us in awe every time. Her warm spirit was infectious, spreading positivity like a gentle breeze on a summer day. Honeybelle, our group’s generous heart and mind. Her intelligence permeated our work, while her generous sharing of snacks kept us fuelled and energized during long meetings. Altogether, we were more than just a group; we were a well-oiled machine, a unique blend of skills and personalities, and a perfect team.

Finally, adding to our vibrant mix, we had Dayo – an unofficial member of the presentation team, yet very much part of the collective process. His quips and antics had us rolling with laughter, providing the perfect icebreaker during intense sessions and not to forget our little research assistant-Nathan.

Compiled by:  Becky, Dami, Festus, Florence and Honeybelle.

Parenting and studying made easy using the library 

Postgraduate studies can be very stressful and challenging with a lot of, academic demands from group presentation, to essay writing and research work; social demands of meeting and relating with new people such as students, tutors, and advisors; financial demands; and psychological demands such as transitioning from being dependent academically to being independent. These challenges can be heightened if you have a young child to look after. Therefore, any opportunity that makes life easy is appreciated. 

In my home country, it is quite easy to find someone to look after your child. Your relative, mum, dad, or sibling would be happy to do that. If that’s not an option, employing a nanny is pretty cheap and affordable and nurseries aren’t expensive, depending on your budget. However, here in the UK, everyone is working, both night and day, and so even if you have relatives here, which I don’t, their schedules might not be flexible, and getting a childminder or putting your child in a nursery is indeed an investment. Therefore, having a facility that helps parents and their children is a need indeed. A facility that helps the parent to study as well as keeps the child busy, creating a kind of passive bonding and helping the parent save some money. This is more than a gift. A study room in the library provided for parents and children at my university, the University of Salford. I termed it ‘’Parenting and Studying made easy using the library.’’ 

Enjoying the parenting space at Clifford Whitworth Library, University of Salford

My child is a very active 3 years old girl. She likes to sing, play with toy cars- especially fire trucks like she sees in paw patrol- explore, climb, scribble, be read to, give hugs, and like most other children, she also likes to watch a lot of children shows, both for education and pleasure. Therefore, it’s easy to keep her busy under supervision. But then she gets bored with one activity after a while, and this can be frustrating. Also, she would choose to go out than stay indoors so taking a stroll is always an option. However, when I think of places to take her back in my home country, the library never crosses my mind because I really can’t remember if children her age had access to the library or even had sections dedicated for their age in the library. Hence it was fascinating to see that libraries in this part of the world have sections dedicated to children with activities to encourage the use of the library by these young ones and their parents. I and my husband took advantage of this facility and have been taking our girl to the library on Mondays for the book club. She even has a library card that she picked out herself to borrow books from the library. How interesting! Therefore, when I told her we were going to my uni library on this day, she had an idea of what I meant.

The parent study room, room 9, is on the first floor of the Clifford Whitworth library at the peel park campus of the university. It is well equipped with a system, swivel and conference chairs, a circular conference table, a projector facility, crayons, colouring books, puzzles for different ages, and storybooks. Also, it is well-lit and warm. The first thing that fascinated my child was the truck which she spent a good number of minutes playing with, she had a session of coloring, and then she settled in on watching educative and singing shows like jolly phonics, alpha blocks, and nursery rhymes. The watching period was my study time because then I knew she was comfortable. Even though I had to look at her every so often to make sure she was doing ok, give her a snack when it was snack time, and supervise her for lunch

For me, this facility was needed because my daughter was not yet in a nursery and we had not gotten a house of our own. Therefore having to study at home came with some distractions such as house chores and noise. However, I had fewer of these distractions in the library and could better manage my time. The facilities in the room helped reduce my child as a form of distraction to the nearest minimum and I was able to achieve something meaningful in the short period I spent there.
Finally, I would like to say a thank you to the university administration for their thoughtfulness for the parent-child cohort in the university.

Like Lagos, Like Salford

By Damilola Mustafa

I start with the phrase ‘Like Lagos, Like Salford’, but in the real sense of every word, these two cities are two worlds apart. I will give you insight into what I mean.

I started my MSc in Public Health in September at the University of Salford. It has been a worthwhile journey coming to such a different place. I am Nigerian and I grew up in Lagos, a busy city in Nigeria. Lagos is a mega city with the hustle and bustle spirit bubbling through everyone you see. A fast-paced setting where you either go hard or go home, a city whose mantra is ‘No sleeping on a bicycle in Lagos’. The yellow and black buses are a trademark sight, it is this and the noise that makes the city come alive as people are up and running for their daily activities. I miss the communal spirit in my home city, where your business seems like everyone’s concern. The street meals are the best. It is not uncommon to drive around Lagos and smell the aroma of street food, from our national delicacy-Jollof rice to the roadside snacks of roasted corn and coconut, having a feel of home while on the street is a wonderful sight to behold. The rhythm of the city is made up of the honks from impatient drivers, the noise from agitated bus passengers and the loud music blasting from the roadside vendors trying to make some money for the day. In all Lagos is home to many and owned by none. While Lagos is a must-see, the traffic is so tiring as everyone is in a hurry to get to nowhere.

Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, Lagos

Unlike my home city Lagos, Salford, is a serene environment. There is no litter hanging around with lush green spaces and ancient buildings that hold a lot of history behind their walls. Everyone is polite with a smile on their face, signposts everywhere you turn diminishing the anxiety that comes with being in a new environment. The transport system is efficient and remarkable, and everyone obeys the traffic stops. However, it can feel lonely here as everyone seems to mind their business, this is the opposite of the communal life I am used to in Lagos. Thus, it is very important that international student’s network and make friends, as no man is an island. I soon discovered that Salford residents were incredibly kind, both in and out of the institution, making new friends from all parts of the country, learning new skills with each lecture, and having lecturers and personal tutors who care and understand the students is the gift that keeps on giving. Furthermore, getting to know the history of the city through the art in the Salford Museum was an interesting experience for me. 

I was very worried about being bored and becoming isolated in a new city. I know it is not uncommon for international students to worry about the social aspects of school, but the academic aspects were equally getting to me. I remember thinking to myself, everyone in class seems more advanced than I am. I studied Biochemistry for my bachelor’s and moving into public health after a few years of studying seemed like I was barking up the wrong tree. A few weeks into lectures, I got a better understanding that I had a lot to contribute and that is why I am here, this understanding boosted my morale, and changed my outlook and approach to my course. Assessments are given at a good time, so you don’t miss out on the extra-curricular activities, we are also encouraged to get involved in the student union and other activities such as the international café where other international students come to socialise.

The best part of 2022 for me was being accepted into the master’s programme in public health here at The University of Salford, I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me in 2023.

“For me, stepping out of my own country and culture I was like a fish out of water”

By Umm E Arbab

Hello everyone! My Name is Umm E Arbab, and I am currently studying MSc public health and I came from Pakistan. The main reason I took the important decision to study at the University of Salford was to explore studying internationally and to become a qualified professional, who can really make a difference to people’s lives. When I arrived here I was honestly blown away by it. Coming to Salford was my big dream. I was scared because moving to new place is a daunting task and starting a new career is an exciting challenge. Being away from home can be difficult for international students. However, a good environment can help the student adjust to this new chapter of life. 

On my first day, I was nervous, but on campus I was greeted by friendly student host staff who guided me and taught me about the campus. I was pleased by the welcome week and all the events related to it like the campus tour, live music and games, where I met plenty of people and enjoyed free fairground rides, popcorn, and more. On the induction day, I met my tutors, all of whom are friendly and helpful, and who are always willing to assist us and answer our questions in person and via email. I was impressed to see wide diversity of students from other countries. Fortunately, I have found have some wonderful friends to chat with.

One of the first things I noticed after few weeks in the university that we are given a support from teachers and have an assigned personal tutor for every student. If you are confused or depressed about a particular assignment or exam, don’t be afraid to seek assistance. They are always ready to help us. Sharing my experience, my university organised a career fair event where we could meet different employers for better job opportunities. There is so much to get involved in. The School of Health and Society organise a free field trip to Eyam Village in Derbyshire (see previous post). We had a very informative walking tour of the village, which is delightful in its own right. Moreover, during Academic writing skill section, my tutor allows us to discuss the topic with all other classmates and with them, obviously in a mutually respectful way. I think this is great as it teaches us how to use these skills to write assignments. Even the way learning is assessed is very varied and practical.

One of the things I find most interesting is the university’s faith centre, which provides spiritual support to students regardless of their beliefs. It is a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds. For me, stepping out of my own country and culture I was like a fish out of water. However, thanks to the public health department team, all my tutors, and the university’s friendly environment, I now feel less homesick. During these past two months I have learned much about life, writing skills, new languages and opportunities.

I was nervous about getting around Manchester because I had never used public transportation before moving to the UK. But Salford crescent Station is located right between Peel Park and Fredrick Road campuses and I can easily take the bus home.

To round off this blog, I would like to tell you that coming to Salford is my best decision; it feels more like home now for me. The “ASK US” department is the best place to ask any questions regarding your personal or accommodation needs. So, folks, do not worry; every international student has anxiety and depression at first, but keeping yourself motivated is key to success.

Thank you for reading.


By Kikelomo Folashade

Hidden in Hope Valley of Derbyshire is a town called Eyam Village also known as the ‘plague’ village. Once upon a time in the 16th Century the village of Eyam was plagued by the Bubonic bacterium which caused the death of numerous members of households and even the separation of loved ones as in the case of two young lovers Emmott Sydall who originally lived in Eyam and her lover Roland Torre who was from Stony Middleton a neighboring village. This was also the case for the Vicar of Eyam: Reverend Williams Mompesson, who also served as the Rector of the Village at the time who had to tell His children to leave Eyam with their mother .The wife of the Vicar, Catherine Mompesson refused to leave and with the act of bravery chose to stay and help provide care for the plagued, she cared for the sick and plagued for a while before she also succumbed to the grips of this plague close to the end of the plague period and died. 

The Post graduate students of the Department of Public Health (2022) Visited this village of Eyam to understand the experience of the People of Eyam as well as the measures and processes they implored to survive and care for the plagued in a time when health care was not as developed as it is today, of which I was one of. 

Our first stop was at the Chatsworth house which is a palatial environment in contrast to the other part of Derbyshire, Chatsworth is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The Chatsworths were a rich family in Derbyshire that provided alms and food to the people of Eyam to prevent them from coming out of the village in search for food, The Chatsworth went as far as paying other towns and people around just so they could provide for the people of Eyam to prevent them coming out of the village. 

After leaving Chatsworth we then arrived at Eyam ‘the plagued village’.  

The bravery and heroic nature of the People of Eyam is commendable as their pro-active measures used in preventing and trying to curb the spread of the plague was effective. There were documented proofs of how some families like the Hancock family isolated themselves up in the Riley wood to prevent contracting the plague from the infected people which although did not happen because one of the younger children went out to play with an infected kid and brought the plague home to the parents and siblings. All the children died as well as the father, but the mother survived, and she buried them all and identified each with markings on stones as head stones in the place that is now known as the Riley graves. The mother was the only survivor of the family, she moved out of the village after the plague ended in search of a new beginning. 

Learning about this plague helped us to relate various parts of Evidence based Public health to some of the things we learned, such as the inequalities seen where the rich could isolate themselves easily like the Hancock family did, compared to families like the Thorpes where they all died in the Rose cottage where 9 of them including Thomas Thorpes’s parents who lived with them, the experience was also an insight to what Epidemiology will look like when we begin the course fully. 

We also saw in the Hadfield home where it all began, where the tailor’s assistant George Viccars who brought Flea infected clothing from London where the plague had already taken the lives of many people, everyone in the home of the Hadfield died except from the mother. At the Eyam museum we saw where it was recorded that these people who survived didn’t die not because they didn’t have the plague but because they had a mutated version of the plague which didn’t kill them, but back in the 16th centuries this was not known to the people they assumed it was because the women took to wearing face shields and drinking pork potions and the men took to smoking that prevented these ones from dying.

One thing for sure is that public health has always played an important role even before it was defined as “Public Health”. The People of Eyam were able to effectively curb the plague because they took adequate preventive measures such as quarantine, isolation, burying their dead in their gardens as opposed to carrying them to the church to bury which could have caused a spread in the plague, also they took to some sanitizing methods by using vinegar to wash their money to avoid spread of the plague, even though they didn’t know washing the coins with vinegar was actually them sanitizing the money.

The students were tasked with a game to make presentations on what they saw, learned and how it related to public health today.

All the groups did an amazing job at presenting what they learned through the trip with charts and some flip cards. Experiencing Eyam was also a great bonding experience for us students and to get to know some of our academic staff better.  

It was all together a fun experience; I would recommend Eyam as a place to add to your travel bucket list. 

Introducing our new Public Health Practitioner Apprenticeship Programme

Starting January 2021

We are delighted to offer a new Public Health Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship programme from January 2021. With public health now very much in the public eye, as a result of Covid-19, the new apprenticeship is both timely and a very exciting development. This three-year BSc (Hons) degree apprenticeship has been developed through consultation with Public Health England and employers in a range of public health-related fields. It is underpinned by the Public Health Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard https://bit.ly/2KApZiz. At the time the Apprenticeship Standard was being developed we are sure, no-one thought we would be gripped by a global pandemic just a few months after it was published! Against this background, we anticipate being the first UK University to offer the bespoke Public Health Practitioner Apprenticeship Programme. We are hugely excited to welcome our first Public Health apprentices to the University of Salford in January 2021 (first day of teaching 1st February).  See our course prospectus for more information: https://bit.ly/3foO5s1

With such an imminent start date, we are of course keen to let as many people – employers and potential apprentices – know about this new opportunity as possible. We’re here to support employers in registering interested members of their teams on to our programme. Our apprenticeship team are a great source of support and ready and eager to guide those already working in public health related roles through the admissions process and onto the programme. They can be contacted at apprenticeships@salford.ac.uk and are very much the first point of contact.

In keeping with all apprenticeships, there are entry criteria. The entry criteria are:

  • Two GCSEs at minimum grade C/ grade 4 in English Language and Mathematics. Level 2 equivalents such as functional or key skills can be accepted.
  • UCAS 120 points
  • European Baccalaureate Pass in diploma of at least 75%
  • We also positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue a programme of study in higher education. Students who do not have the traditional entry requirements may be able to apply through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme.

How will the apprenticeship run?

Apprentices will spend one day a week (Mondays) on University study (equivalent to 20% off the job training) delivered either digitally or face to face, depending on the ongoing response to Covid-19 by ourselves. They will, over three years, gain a broad level of knowledge, and develop skills and behaviours, in line with the requirements of the Public Health Practitioner Apprenticeship standard. We are looking forward to sharing our expertise to build knowledge and skills across 15 bespoke modules including: Evidence Based Health Promotion; Public Health Intelligence; Designing, development and evaluating Health Improvement Programmes; Commissioning for Health; and, Policy and Strategy in Public Health.

This is a really innovative programme to support the future development of the UK public health workforce. Dr Margaret Coffey, Programme Leader for the programme said:

“We are truly delighted to be at the forefront in relation to offering the Public Health Practitioner Degree Apprenticeship. We see it as a critically important platform for developing the public health talent for the future. We are looking forward to developing strong, positive relationships with employers and line managers to help support the personalised development of each and every apprentice”.

At the end of the three-year degree apprenticeship programme, successful apprentices will be able to register as a Public Health Practitioner. If you’re interested in finding out different types of roles public health practitioners may have, see: https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/public-health/roles-public-health/public-health-practitioner. With the breadth of roles that exist across public health, this degree apprenticeship provides an exciting new route for employers to support, develop and retain the future public health workforce.

For more information, see https://findapprenticeshiptraining.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk/courses/507

We welcome general enquiries about the programme. Please contact: m.coffey@salford.ac.uk

The University of Salford’s School of Health and Society is an institutional member of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER).

Improving sanitation in Ugandan schools

Teams4U is a charity that brings volunteers from the UK to make a difference in children’s lives in countries including Bosnia, Belarus, Romania, Sierra Leone and Uganda. This was my third visit with Teams4U to the Mukongoro district of Kumi Region, Uganda, to participate in their work with schools to improve public health. In recent months Teams4U’s attention has focused on reducing the days missed from school due to sickness and diarrhoea. An intervention to improve hygiene and sanitation has been developed.

Teams4U volunteer with school children




Basic sanitation

There is no water supply or electricity supply to the public schools, although there is typically a hand pump installed at the perimeter of the school grounds, which is shared resource for the school and the local public. There are usually three or four pit latrines for the children to use. The latrines often have no doors for privacy and used by around 1000 children, making the smell and flies unbearable. There is no source of water nearby for hand washing.

Open pit latrine


When children are at home, there are also often no hand washing facilities. Each day water is carried from the nearest hand pump and stored in water containers for cooking and washing, but many homesteads lack a drum with a tap for easy hand washing. Some families are not aware of the importance of hand washing to prevent disease.


A typical homestead





Sanitation solutions

A ‘Tippy tap’ is a contraption that is simple to make with a small water container, rope and wooden supports. A child can easily tip the drum to let the water out by using the foot operated lever. They are suitable for use at a homestead. Some schools have been using them, although a single tippy tap is inadequate for the typical school which has over 1000 children.


Demonstrating the tippy tap





With support from the Welsh Government, Teams4U have begun to install simple hand washing facilities, comprising a large tank with two taps and bars of soap on string. These tanks can store sufficient hand washing water for a whole school. They still require filling by hand, but schools arrange teams of children to carry water from the pump to the tank as part of their daily chores. The tanks can be drained during holidays to allow them to be cleaned. Some schools fill their tanks with soapy water to get over the problem of soap bars going missing.


Hand washing using a new tank supplied and installed by Teams4U






The Teams4U installation also includes ‘toilet flappers’ fitted to each of the long drop latrines and signage about hand washing on the walls. The toilet flappers are simple devices that remain closed to seal off the odours and stop flies from entering the long drop. They function similarly to the flaps in the portable toilets that are used in festivals in the UK.


Toilet flapper to fit to a pit latrine





Volunteers get involved

The whole school also watched as Teams4U volunteers acted out a hand washing story about a Ugandan boy who does not wash his hands and becomes ill. In the story he then learns about hand washing and when to wash hands. The story features the family’s naughty goat, who causes great hilarity amongst the children when he runs amok. The use of the tippy tap is demonstrated, and the boy learns how and when to wash his hands properly. He learns to wash his hands after handling animals, after using the toilet and before meals. He finds in the future he is no longer ill.


Volunteers performing the play for the whole school


As in previous trips, the Teams4U volunteers visit a school each day for seven days. The morning activity is a physical activity intervention where all 1000 or so children take part in simple team games. In the afternoon, there are sessions for the older children that focus on puberty, development and respect for women. These have been the subjects of my previous blogs. There is also an opportunity for volunteers to play with the children. The challenge is to think of activities that overcome the language barrier and can be done with hundreds of children at a time! Successful activities include simple face painting, balloons and bubbles.


Teams4U volunteer face painting to entertain the school children







Click here to see a film of a volunteer entertaining the children with bubbles



The interventions with the children are supported by an education programme for the key church leaders, health care workers and senior women teachers. This is supported by funding from the Department for International Development (DFID). The training aims to provide a legacy for the ongoing education of the children in hygiene and disease prevention, dignity and respect, puberty, menstruation and sexual health.


Volunteers supporting the training of the teachers




How do we know it works?

The onus is on the charity sector to deliver an intervention that has a lasting impact. At schools we visited, there is evidence of previous well-meaning interventions that have had no impact. I asked why the schools needed Teams4U’s water drums when some had evidence of large water storage drums. I was told that the drums had been designed to collect rain water, but no one had ever installed the guttering to harvest the water. Boxes containing computers sit unopened in schools that have never had an electricity supply.


Volunteer in the classroom


In addition to the work to educate local leaders on how to sustain the benefits of the interventions, Teams4U will be collating data on school attendance in the coming weeks in order to determine whether the hygiene interventions have had an impact on absence due to diarrhoea. The aim will be to provide the intervention to all 150 primary/junior schools in the Mukongoro district. The charity has already demonstrated that its puberty and development sessions (‘Develop with Dignity’) are effective: knowledge of menstruation increased after the education sessions, and fewer girls miss school because of their periods.


Girls receiving washable sanitary ware as part of the Teams4U intervention


Get involved 

You can join in and help run the sports, ‘Develop with Dignity’ and sanitation programmes. Read more about volunteering opportunities on the Teams4U website. If you come as part of the University of Salford’s BSc Public Health and Health Promotion, you can also help us do research to evaluate the programme during a heavily subsidised 10 day trip (the students pay £200 towards the cost of the trip).


A powerful experience for the volunteers

It is difficult to describe the pure pleasure that these children get from a little attention from the visitors. The impact on the volunteers is also profound as we experience the simple joy that children get from a hand shake or a stream of bubbles. It is also humbling to think how we take our children’s education for granted. In Kumi, there are no staff to clean the school. The sweeping of the classrooms, the fetching of the water and the cleaning of the toilets is all done by the children. Some of the forward thinking schools grow their own vegetables, and the children also tend to these. In several of the schools we are greeted with songs of welcome. The children also sing songs that describe how seriously they take their learning in order to better their lives. We found this truly humbling.


Children playing team ball games as part of the Teams4U intervention



Winner of the 2017 Lindsey Dugdill Memorial Prize for best PhD–Dr John Hudson

John’s PhD research: wellbeing at work

Realistic workloads, supportive managers, fairness, and a bit of recognition for good work: are things like this too much to ask for employees? I’ve always been interested in work psychology, even before I knew it was possible to study it; after all, who wouldn’t be interested in making work better and less ‘stressful’? Despite recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence that preventative interventions (strategies that target potentially stressful working conditions rather than employees’ ability to cope with them) should be prioritised, there is relatively little research of this type. Many years later, and having just completed my PhD looking at how employers might improve work for employees, and I’m probably a bit more realistic about how challenging that can be!

Who wouldn’t be interested in making work better and less ‘stressful’?

Can we make work better?

I was initially surprised when I started my research that the evidence for methods of improving work for employees and supporting their psychological health and well-being was rather mixed; some studies reported reasonable results, but many seemed to suggest they didn’t do any good at all. I soon found that this is in part because preventative approaches are usually very complex and involve lots of people and decisions, as well as relying on effective implementation. On top of that, there are likely to be many contextual and practical factors that can influence the process: unexpected events, organisational changes, limited resources, and even cynical employees, have the potential to derail even the most careful plans. So my initial focus on whether or not preventative approaches were effective quickly shifted to look at why even the most well-intentioned efforts can lead to disappointing results. My research aimed to add to our understanding of the factors that can derail them and learn lessons that can help with future efforts.


It’s certainly not all bad news, because there are things that employers can do to improve things, they just need to be aware of some of the pitfalls and get the planning and implementation right. For example, ensuring that employees have a say in identifying what aspects of the workplace should be prioritised, rather than senior managers deciding what’s best for them. Then there are seemingly obvious things – that are often forgotten – which can make a huge difference: communication, and follow-up. If you’re going to start a project to improve your workplace, it is vital to keep employees up to date on plans and progress, and that any promises are followed-up – fail to do that and employees might see yet another ‘well-being initiative’ introduced with great fanfare before it silently disappears under layers of new priorities. Is it any wonder employees might be cynical at times? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, it’s incredibly complex, but thankfully the evidence suggests there are things that can be done.

Research in the ‘real world’

It can also be challenging to conduct research in organisations – although well worth doing – because, let’s face it, they are not there for the benefit of researchers. They naturally have their own priorities. For example, in my research, the organisation I worked with were supportive of my work and very keen to take action to improve things for their employees. However, because they were severely hampered by substantial cuts to their budget during my PhD project it meant large-scale restructuring was required, making it very difficult for them to fulfil all their original plans. As a researcher this was hugely frustrating, particularly as I had to complete my work within a set timescale, but it was obvious the organisation was being stretched and doing their best under very difficult circumstances. As a result, things didn’t happen when they were supposed to, or didn’t happen at all in some cases; welcome to the ‘real’ world of research! However, it taught me so much and it is probably a better piece of work because of some of these challenges, to be honest. There were also some positive outcomes (and plenty of lessons) for the organisation to use as they continue with their work to support employee well-being. And, as I graduated at The Lowry on the 18th July 2017, and having progressed to a lecturing post at Staffordshire University, I was able to look back with so much pride and wonder how on earth I got there!

The organisation was very keen to take action to improve things for their employees

Why the Lindsey Dugdill award is so special

The graduation was made all the more special by receiving the Professor Lindsey Dugdill award for my PhD thesis. Knowing how much Lindsey meant to her many friends at Salford, it’s quite hard to adequately express how much more this award means as a result. I was fortunate to meet Lindsey during my PhD, but I’d like to finish with an experience that took place several years previously when I submitted a proposal for a different PhD to the university. I had lots and lots of questions, and I was advised to contact Lindsey as the proposal was in her field. She was incredibly generous with her time and advice – spending her own time talking through my ideas and giving feedback. It is worth emphasising that this is despite Lindsey not being involved in the project, and had never even met me before – I was just a potential student with an interest in Lindsey’s field of expertise (or one of them!). It would be a better story if my application had been successful but circumstances at the university meant the funding was unavailable – Lindsey still got in touch with some encouragement. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated the time and trouble she took to help someone she didn’t even know, and I was delighted to be able to tell her in person when I actually joined the University a couple of years ago. Having met Lindsey, and having worked alongside so many of her close friends in Public Health and Psychology, I know this sort of support and encouragement was not a one off, which says it all really. A lovely person.

John Hudson receives his award from Dean of Health Sciences Kay Hack

By John Hudson