Reckitt supports four incredible female PhD students, who are working on health and hygiene research projects across Sub-Saharan Africa. Liliana Candida Dengo-Baloi, Jenala Chipungu, Rebecca Prah, and Christine Nabirye are four doctoral students with a shared vision to research and help transform the landscape of health and cleanliness in Sub-Saharan communities. This July, the students had the exciting opportunity to visit Reckitt’s facilities in Hull.
The visit began with a warm welcome from Reckitt's Chief Medical Officer, Bruce Charlesworth, who outlined Reckitt’s history and growth over the years, including some highlights of projects carried out by researchers and scientists.
Led by Calum Walker, the students were given a comprehensive tour of Reckitt's cutting-edge facilities and laboratories. The students were also able to meet with Reckitt's distinguished scientists and experts, Isabelle Bossard, the Global VP of Aircare & Pests, Oumou Mangassi, the R&D Director, and Carme, the Global Head of Regulatory Affairs, Health.
In the form of the research presentations, Liliana, Jenala, Rebecca, and Christine took center stage, sharing their breakthroughs, challenges and visions for a healthier future. Their presentations aimed to foster a sense of collaboration and collective purpose, highlighting the strength in the partnership between Reckitt and LSHTM.
Jenala has just received approval in her research ethics protocol submission from LSHTM and is now waiting to hear back from the local University of Zambia Biomedical Research Ethics Committee (UNZABREC). Jenala comments on her experience at Hull as ‘inspiring and eye opening’ as it allowed her to realise the ‘opportunities my research study will create for better food hygiene in the long run.’ The most helpful part for her was the discussion around confident body language, which she plans to use when discussing her work in upcoming meetings.
Rebecca has also recently obtained the necessary ethical approvals for her research from both the ethics committees at LSHTM and the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM unit in Uganda. Additionally, she has notified the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology about her research activities. By using the skills she learned at the presentation training, Rebecca presented her research at the International Health Economics Association (IHEA) Congress a few days after their visit to Hull. ‘The skills have become part of my public speaking skills since the training,’ she says. As well as this, Rebecca left the trip feeling ‘intrigued and inspired by the company’s history which showcased a legacy of innovation and excellence that continues to drive Reckitt forward in its work to provide top-quality hygiene products.’
Christine Nabirye, who has completed the upgrading process and has started the data collection for her PhD, notes that the presentation training allowed her to learn ‘a lot about the kind of presenter I am and ways to improve my presentations skills’ which is vital to the future of her research.
Liliana learnt a lot in the past year, but the most enriching experience she had was ‘the regular and constant feedback from my supervisors and my peers.’ She also states that this visit ‘renewed’ her ‘passion for science’. Such an experience holds immense significance in making our scholars feel a part of a larger community of both experienced and young scientists.
Our PhD students have learnt a lot in the past year, and this visit has given them the tools to express their research and findings with confidence. They were incredibly impressed with the variety of activities that helped them learn more about Reckitt’s commitment to hygiene, but also about their own ability to shape the future of global health.