Hailu Tamiru Dhufera completed his Master's degree in Global Health at the University of Bergen in 2020 with a special interest in road traffic injuries and the accompanying economic burden on households in Ethiopia.
Personal and professional background
Growing up in a rural village in Ethiopia and working as a clinician in a district hospital, I had first-hand experience with the community's public health challenges. Childhood memories of lack of access to essential health services within my community inspired me to study medicine. However, a year of clinical practice at an unresponsive health facility made me realise that it takes more than clinical care to improve society’s health. Rather, adequate and effective health practices as well as transformative leadership are required to address the broader challenges of population health.
Hence, to pursue my childhood aspirations of improving the rural community's health needs, I joined the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to influence and shape public health policy. However, my former acquired skills and experience as a clinician had not prepared me well enough for the tasks I intended to take on at the Ministry of Health. My striving for improved analytical skills and expansion of knowledge brought me to BCEPS.
Research topic for Master thesis
I wrote my Master's thesis on road traffic injuries (RTIs), being one of the major public health challenges in Ethiopia, with the title "Out-of-pocket expenditures for road traffic trauma care in public and private hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia". The thesis explores the economic burden of trauma care related to road traffic injuries (RTI), indicating that a very high proportion of households are negatively impacted by immense out-of-pocket expenditure after RTI-related trauma care, with poor households being affected the most. Due to out-of-pocket expenditure, households are pushed into poverty, while those households already below the poverty line (23.5% of households) becom even more impoverished.
Impressions from Master's programme and time at BCEPS
I was lucky to be part of a big family of scholars with world-class researchers.
I had an exciting time at BCEPS, with a very friendly and supportive working and learning environment. I enjoyed my stay and learned a lot from the team, and the exceptional mentors I had as supervisors. In my stay, I acquired an excellent analytical capacity and was introduced to the scientific methods of priority setting and equity.
During the Master's programme, I had the privilege of spending a semester at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where I was able to work on my data analysis and understanding of economic evaluation methods. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from a dynamic, engaging, and supportive team with the highest technical skills. Weekly seminars and hands-on practice sessions with the team helped me to understand the concepts and skills of economic evaluation and statistical software.
I intend to pursue doctoral level studies to cultivate and build on the analytic skills I acquired through my Master's study, to be able to serve my country’s health system with the highest capacity.