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MSc Public Health Students Participated in Forum on Community Engagement in Dengue Prevention

22 Dec 2018

IMU’s MSc in Public Health (MScPH) programme enables students to build their standing and profile in academia, industry and in NGOs and besides research and face-to-face engagement with our experienced faculty the programme also emphasizes the importance of community engagement in solving public health issues. IMU recognises the importance of including community engagement in this spectrum of strategies as the core public health activities includes two community engagement-related essential public health functions: “Inform, educate and empower people about health issues” and “Mobilize community partnerships and actions to identify and solve health problems.” This community participation activity contributes immensely to the MScPH students’ personal development in terms of confidence, know-how and positive attitude. Community engagement involves dynamic relationships and dialogue between community members and local health department staff, with varying degrees of community and health department involvement, decision-making and control. With this in view, we were very happy to encourage our current MScPH students’ participation in the Bukit Jalil Dengue Forum held in collaboration with IRDI and the US Embassy, Kuala Lumpur. The forum was held on 9 November 2018 at the IMU campus in Bukit Jalil. Our panellists included officials from the DBKL, Cheras Health Office, Wilayah Health Department, Negeri Sembilan Health Department as well as Datuk Prof Dr Lokman H Sulaiman. Our students relate their experience at the forum here. My Personal experience on Dengue Community Engagement Programme 

Dauda Bukar Dauda (Nigeria)
“My participation in the dengue community engagement and participation programme has not only provided me with the practical aspect of what I have learned in class during Public Health practice and Health Promotion modules, but also helps in understanding the general concept of community engagement and how it is conducted. I had never been involved in such a programme before, I have learned a lot on the importance of actively engaging the community especially in decision making and finding ways to address a public health problem. As a public health student, developing technical skills and having the competencies to work with the community in order to implement different programmes is a great advantage. This programme has provided me with some skills and also made me learn more on other strategies of engaging the community in such programmes so as to achieve desired objectives. I hope more of this kind of programmes will be organised in the future, as it helps me in integrating and applying the theoretical aspect of what I have been taught in some modules throughout my programme in IMU”.
Marini Ahmed Suhaimi (Malaysia)
“I learnt that even with government’s efforts, it seemed that fogging does not help. With the current forecast  of  Malaysia would have another outbreak in the nearest time , we still have not decided on a possibly efficient solution for prevention. Even though we talked about engaging the community, it felt like we still had a long way to go before everyone understood what has to be done and how community leaders could effectively approach their own communities. However, the event was very eye-opening for me as a future public health practitioner as it gave the experience of how these matters are first discussed and then evaluated.”
Thivyah Arumugam (Malaysia)
 “It was an eye opening for all of us on what is happening around the world due to dengue and the consequences. Though there are many ways being taken by the authorities to keep it in control all the attempts are still in vain. The idea of doing mosquito cloning as step to control dengue is very interesting yet there are issues that follows in which consideration have to be given before undertaking such step. Therefore, education is the key component in preventing dengue fever. Educating the public regarding these matters are necessary in order to create awareness. Community activities are much recommended to carry out as the public can join hands to clean their environment to healthier ones. The insights that I have gained from attending this event is very helpful.”
Wong Yi Kai (Malaysia)
 “The dengue forum was a very informative and good platform to engage with the nearby community to work together. Understanding the stereotyping of dengue distribution among the population will help to reduce the potential major outbreak of dengue”.

Written by Dr Leela V Sabapathy, Community Medicine, IMU

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