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Pursuing Master's degree to change from an epidemiologist into a Health Policy Analyst and Advocate

RU_IS 3 / 12  
Sep 21, 2018   #1
I am sharing my draft essay on career plan. I would appreciate your feedback and comments!

Chevening Career Plan essay


Chevening is looking for individuals who have a clear post-study career plan. Please outline your immediate plans ...

One of the key reasons I am pursuing a Master's degree is to transition from an epidemiologist to a Health Policy Analyst and Advocate. Bangladesh's urban health system (UHS) is rather complex due to the bifurcation of governance mandate from two different ministries- the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Local Government, poor coordination between them, and a prevalence of the private health sector that goes largely unregulated. Despite multiple donor led projects, the country still has not devised a viable urban health policy and a model urban primary health care (UPHC). There is a lack of civil servants trained in health policy who can guide the financing and strengthening of the UPHC with national resources. And as is widely known about low-and-middle-income-country policy makers, there is little appetite for research backed evidence. My intention is to build my expertise in health policy, planning, and financing to bridge the translation of knowledge from research to action by working closely with the Ministry of Health in Bangladesh in the design and implementation of an accountable and equitable UPHC system.

DFID-UK implements several multi-year projects that directly or indirectly addresses the development of the health sector such as Better Health in Bangladesh and Excluded People's Rights in Bangladesh. My immediate plan on returning to Bangladesh is to find employment with international development consultancy organizations such as Options-UK that work with the MoH to manage the DFID funded projects. This will not only place me as an expert in health policy to enrich these projects and guide the MoH's policy to be more equitable for the urban poor and the disabled but also bolster my network within the MoH itself. This will enable me to pursue my longer-term plan of joining the MoH as an in-house policy analyst and eventually become a policy maker. As an insider, I can leverage my position to emphasize the role of evidence-based policy and its implementation. I envision re-engineering the national health policy with a conviction towards Universal Health Coverage and formulating a context appropriate health insurance system which is non-existent in Bangladesh.

As I establish my commitment to strengthening the health systems and gain trust within the government wing, my ultimate aim is to collaborate with other sectors such as ministries of environment, food, housing, primary education, youth and sports, and road transport to integrate health as a determining factor in their policy decisions. This is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals that are ratified by most countries, including the UK, and forge a path toward living with dignity for the general people in the face of multi-faceted challenges such as aging, climate change, and forced migration. As Chevening provides scholarships to applicants from a diverse background, I expect to encounter some of them with strategic positions in these ministries and to gain their support in this endeavor through my Chevening network.

Holt - / 7,529 2001  
Sep 22, 2018   #2
Bithy, you are over reaching with your career plans. You need to represent only a 5 year career plan at this point because your academic training will only be able to help you advance your career for that period of time. You will need to acquire a PhD later on in order to complete the rest of your plans. You may want to lower your professional ambitions a bit and ramp up your academic interests in the presentation. For the academic interest, I mean implying that you plan to go back to school to get a PhD in order to continue working with the DFID in your country on far more serious and helpful projects. Most specially since you plan on becoming an effective policy maker in the future.

Save for that observation, I believe that this essay is on track in terms of properly representing the UK interests in your country as well as your idea for collaborating with the DFID after your graduation. You have drafted a very interesting and career relevant post study plan with this essay. However, you must refine it a bit to be more realistic in goals and represent your 5 year career plan instead. After all, you are only taking a masters degree at this point. You still have the PhD to do before you can become a policy maker.
OP RU_IS 3 / 12  
Oct 8, 2018   #3
Thanks Holt for the feedback. I would like to know if in my 5-year plan I should add detailed year by year. I saw a comment ot this effect from you in another essay on career plan.
Holt - / 7,529 2001  
Oct 9, 2018   #4
It doesn't have to be a year by year plan unless you want to do it that way. It won't make a difference to the reviewer and selection committee as long as you present doable career strategies and have a clear idea as to how to implement them. A mid range career plan covers about 5 years. This can include plans for continued education, possible seminars and training to further improve your job skills, and finally, an indication of an interest to pursue a PhD depending upon the growing requirements of your profession. Don't overcomplicate the essay though because you might end up exaggerating your plans to an unbelievable point. Just keep it simple, logical, and understandable to the reviewer. I haven't read your new post study and career plan essay yet so I can't really tell you how to improve it and if the 5 year career plan should be detailed in your case. The above advise applies to general Post Study and Career Plan essays so you should be able to use it for your own essay revision as well.
OP RU_IS 3 / 12  
Oct 10, 2018   #5
Okay, I shall work on it. Would I have to make this post urgent again if I want feedback from you?

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