Biomedical Sciences

Laura Egbe (MSc.IAH, 2011 Winter Graduation)

On completing my doctor of veterinary medicine programme from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria in 1997, I returned home to Cameroon. I started giving part-time lectures at the department of Animal Sciences, University of Dschang with the hope to start a postgraduate programme. Things did not turn out as planned and before the end of my contract with the university I was taken up by the Cameroon government to work in the ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal industries.

Laura Egbe

In the course of executing my duties as the Provincial Chief for Veterinary Services for the Western and later Centre provinces I was faced with lots of challenges and the desire to go back to school grew the more. Being a mother of five young children between the ages of ten and four it was not possible to leave them for further studies abroad as there were no veterinary schools in Cameroon at the time offering postgraduate degrees. When I was introduced to the online Masters programme on International Animal Health at the University of Edinburgh I embraced the opportunity, started in September 2008 and finished in 2011. I felt so fulfilled studying in one of the most prestigious universities in the UK whilst continuing with my family and professional responsibilities.

The programme actually met my expectations and empowered me to produce better results at work.

I really enjoyed the teaching style and the way the lessons were dispensed because it not only cultivates in you good time management but also encourages independent thinking and personal research. The assignments and journal clubs were a good way of making the student carry out research on the subject being taught, do some little literature review and that helped to drive the points across. The notes were in simple English and easily understood. The discussion board was a good forum for students to share ideas on a topic, their experiences and findings from the case-studies and publications prescribed. This was quite interactive and gave a good visual classroom scenario. The support from the teaching staff was amazing and encouraging, and that helped me to overcome some major difficulties faced with the poor internet connections and some unforeseen circumstances. My favorite subjects were the epidemiology related subjects (applied epidemiology, surveillance, risk assessment, control of TADs and vector borne diseases) and zoonosis . These were directly related to my everyday work. My thesis was on the analytical history of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Cameroon. It was quite challenging for a desk study with very few publications in the country so I had to coin out a methodology to suit my work. Some of the recommendations made in the control of FMD are being implemented in the country today as vaccination against FMD was carried out for the first time in 2014. Active surveillance reactivated as the capacity of our veterinary laboratory has been reinforced to carry out diagnosis.

I have continued applying what I learnt from the MScIAH programme and sharing the knowledge gained with my colleagues at work. The programme gave me an added advantage as I was exposed to new research findings and learnt from the experiences of my classmates from different countries. I got some real outstanding successes in the way I executed my duties and this earned me several promotions, first as the Divisional Delegate in charge of the Mfoundi  division hosting the capital Yaounde in Jan 2013 and I am now the Sub-Director in charge of Food Safety and Veterinary Public Health at the Department of Veterinary Services as of Feb 2015. I also inspired some colleagues who joined the programme after me. I am very happy I completed the programme and will highly recommend it to anyone who would like to further their education whilst carrying on with their professional life.