Studying Public Health online – Nkoli’s story

Nkoli, from Nigeria, graduated in Public Health by Distance Learning. The programme enabled her to continue her work in medical supply chains in Nigeria, while improving her knowledge in Public Health.
Nkoli Nnamonu

Please explain a bit about your academic/professional background 

I’m Nkoli Nnamonu, a Nigerian-based pharmacist who developed a keen interest in public health along the line of pharmacy practice. This led me to search out renowned universities where I could garner new learnings in public health, and I came across LSHTM and University of London.

Why did you choose to study your course with LSHTM? 

I chose the distance learning path and began studying in November 2018. Studying from my home country allowed me to work while improving my knowledge in public health. Even though I would have loved to experience a new culture and meet new people in person, distance learning offered no less – I virtually met with several students and tutors from around the world, and gained global insight from recurring and novel health issues. The distance learning programme also allows one to stagger tuition payments per module, offering flexibility with the time of course completion – between 2 to 5 years. 

My pride in LSHTM escalated when I discovered the institution is over 120 years old! There are several success stories, with resounding global impact. Several authorities in the field of public health, both past and present, have some connection to LSHTM. I am elated to be an alumna of this great institution. 

What have been your favourite aspects of the programme? 

The modules offered under Public Health by Distance Learning are so apt, so contemporary. I actually chose not to write a thesis so I could take on more modules instead! The modules address present-day issues, as well as age-old ones, and I desperately needed to update my skillset with these. I found the modules on infectious diseases in developing countries, monitoring and evaluation of programmes, and organisational management insightful. These are just a few of my favourites. 

The distance learning programme also allows one to stagger tuition payments per module, offering flexibility with the time of course completion – between 2 to 5 years.

How has the programme helped to develop your career? 

My current role is in medical supply chain; my background in public health helps me see deeper issues and act proactively to meet population health needs. At the moment, I am offering support to my firm’s Programmes Unit in the expansion of targeted community HIV testing, majorly because of my expertise in public health. Applying the public health principles I have learnt and obtaining the desired result is truly fulfilling. In the future, I hope to get involved and lead in more core public health roles in my country, or in any other part of the world where my expertise are required. I want to experience new cultures after all! 

Have you been able to connect other students? 

Several social media platforms help us stay connected during and after study. From academic advice from current and past students, to job openings around the world, to hilarious posts associated with studying, the LSHTM Distance Learning Facebook group has got your back.

Did you face any challenges while studying? 

Apart from not getting to meet new people in person, and experiencing another culture first hand, one major challenge for me was the tuition cost. They are pretty heavy to bear if one does not have any scholarship. Another thing is the bulk of coursework – it’s no walk in the park but I understand the need for this, as LSHTM is thorough when it comes to learning methods and outcomes. It also would have been great to attend the graduation ceremony in person – at least this would have closed some of these gaps for me, but then COVID-19 happened. Again, this is understandable. As things get better, I believe graduation ceremonies will return to what they used to be. 

Please sum up your experience of studying by distance learning with LSHTM 

Overall, studying Public Health by Distance Learning was an amazing experience. I got to do my dream course at my dream university. Double win for me! 

What advice would you give to someone considering studying your course at LSHTM? 

For anyone looking to study Public Health by Distance Learning, I’d say join in! I started relatively late (November, as opposed to September) but I caught on pretty fast. The experience is second to none, and you will come out with a certain confidence that accompanies sound knowledge in your chosen field.

Tell us a bit about you – what do you do when you’re not working or studying? 

When I’m not being a geek, I like to watch movies – action, detective and thrillers have been my favourites for as long as I can remember! I also enjoy sightseeing and good food – especially when it’s not cooked by me! 

Best wishes in your endeavours, and I look forward to welcoming you to our very warm and friendly Facebook group!