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Patrick Okonji

Patrick Okonji 150 x 180I am from Nigeria, a country in constant battle with malnutrition. My first degree was in optometry and vision science. As a primary eye care practitioner, I have designed and actively participated in many public health based intervention programmes to reduce preventable blindness caused by malnutrition. One of such nutritional based intervention programme is the distribution of vitamin A in northern and midwestern parts of Nigeria. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children and increases the risk of morbidity and mortality from severe infections. In pregnant women, vitamin A deficiency causes night blindness and may increase the risk of maternal mortality.

I have keen interest in public health based intervention programs to reduce the burden of malnutrition in my country. It is this passion that informed my drive to take up a master’s degree in public health at the University of Newcastle in the UK. in United Kingdom.

After my master’s degree, I secured a fully funded scholarship for a PhD in public health. My PhD focuses on the impact of information and communication technologies on the social well-being of people with vision disabilities. I have not abandoned my devotion and determination to contribute meaningfully to public health interventions and advocacy to fight malnutrition. I strongly believe that sustainable socioeconomic development hinges on addressing poverty and malnutrition through better governance and political will.