As part of our Alumni Profiles series, this week we spoke to alumnus Dr Fitsum Debretsion, who graduated from the School in 2014 with an MSc in Infectious Diseases (by Distance Learning). Fitsum also has a Medical Doctor degree from Addis Ababa University and has more than 20 years’ experience in clinical and public health fields. He currently works as a Medical Coordinator for the International Medical Corps in Sudan.
Why the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine? I had a dream to follow a course in Infectious Diseases in a UK institution and, based on a recommendation from a colleague who had completed the course at the School, I applied and was accepted to pursue the MSc through Distance Learning.
Has your degree helped you in your career? Yes indeed. MSc degrees from the School are highly valued and respected, and graduates from the School are very likely to get a job in international posts. I am also able to take free online courses from the School: one example is the Ebola in Context course, given by School tutors in April 2015, which provided an understanding of the transmission response and control.
What is your proudest moment from your career? Completing 12 mandatory modules on time in order to receive my MSc degree from the School!
Was it challenging studying as a Distance Learner? As a busy health professional and a family man, it was difficult to cover all modules of the course. I had to spare some of my time from clinical work and also limit myself from spending more time with family.
What advice would you give to Distance Learning students? Give due time for all assignments given by your tutors including Formative assignments – you will gain a lot of knowledge from them. Don’t drag your course on too long; the longer you take, the harder it is to complete on time. Once you are enrolled at the School you work at your own pace to study and manage your time. Although it’s possible to do so, be very careful not to go a year without taking any modules.
What’s next? My hope for the future is to come back to the School as a PhD student. I understand that the School has research projects and teaching programs overseas and I would be glad to be part of the School, no matter where it is.
Watch other alumni from the School talk about their experiences of studying via Distance Learning.