-Emmanuel Kalu-

Hello. My name is Emmanuel and I did my internship with National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) Lagos, Nigeria. NAFDAC is similar to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of the United States of America. During the internship I was posted to three of her fourteen directorates of NAFDAC whose activities are closely associated to my studies in ‘Public Health Nutrition’; they are: Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN) Directorate, Port Inspection Directorate (PID), and Laboratory Service (LS) Directorate.

The FSAN seven division are: Food Evaluation Division, Food Inspection Division, MSM & Agricultural Products Division, Food Safety/Codex/ Food Policy & Reg/National Food Safety Mgt Committee Division, Food Storage & Quick Service Restaurants Division, Packaged Water Division, and Bakery & Baked Products Division. During my placement at FSAN, I was deployed to all the above FSAN divisions, so I acquired a lot of knowledge associated with food safety regulations. Then because going for field inspection is the primary duty of all FSAN staffs irrespective of their divisions, I was also regularly assigned to go for registration, renewal, and routine inspections where we inspected different food manufacturing companies both big and small, then on one occasion I went with a group of staffs for global listing inspection at a supermarket where we checked if all their food products meet the required safety standards.

I was also posted to the Port Inspection Directorate (PID) of NAFDAC. Out of the PID’s five divisions (Port Food Division, Port Drug Division, Port Chemical, Cosmetics and Medical Devices Division, New Technologies/ Post Port-Clearance Division, and Export Division) I was deployed to the Port Food Division, a division whose activities are also in concord with my studies in Public Health Nutrition. There I worked at the office of the Deputy Director in-charge of the division (Mr. S.F. Haruna). I was directly placed in-charge of receiving ‘Compliance Letters’. Compliance letters are the letters written to importers of NAFDAC regulated goods whose imported goods failed to meet NAFDAC regulation standards, and such importers are mostly ‘fined’. As I executed my duty, I observed repeated violations by some companies. Furthermore, at the PID monthly organised lecture meetings where her staffs from ports, outstations, and land boarders within Lagos assemble at the head office I was given the opportunity to give health lecture which I titled: ‘Towards Becoming an Emblem of Good Health’. Afterward my popularity in the directorate increased.

I was finally posted to the food division of the Laboratory Service (LS) Directorate where out of her eighteen units (Head of Laboratory office, Sample Office, Food Compliance 1, Food Compliance 2, Food Registration, Pesticide Residues, Pesticide Formulation, Microbiology, Mycotoxin, Sea Food, Alcoholic Beverages, Vitamin, Additive, and Lamime, Metals, Veterinary Drug, Water Examination, Radiation, Instrument Maintenance, and Melamine and Non-nutritive Sweeteners) I was only deployed to two (Water Examination Unit and Food Registration Unit). As I participated in the laboratory analyses at the Water Examination Unit, I learnt the SOPs (standard operating procedures) for the determination of free dissolved carbon dioxide, determination of methyl orange alkalinity, determination of chloride, determination of trace metals, determination of total alkalinity, determination of total hardness, determination of phenolphthalein alkalinity, determination of available chlorine. Similarly, as I participated in the laboratory analyses in the Food Registration Unit, I also learnt how the unit uses different SOPs for determining different product’s moisture content, total solid, ach content, total acidity, fat (Ross Gottlieb method), crude fibre, etc.

A letter from my supervisor (Arja Erkkilä) was of great importance to my securing the internship placement at NAFDAC. Then the three NAFDAC directorates (Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate, Port Inspection Directorate, and Laboratory Service Directorate) where I had my placements and their divisions and units where I had my deployments best suit my internship need and interest because the activities there are in concord with my studies in Public Health Nutrition. It enabled me the privilege of getting practical experiences on many of what I had learnt in the classroom. As such, the internship placements contributed greatly to my personal and professional development. In addition, besides being an opportunity for me to know how the civil service works, it was also an opportunity for me to serve my father land since getting all my degrees abroad did not give me the privilege of doing an NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) service in Nigeria after my first degree. For more information about NAFDAC please check her website:

Internship at IOM Brussels

-Hamza Khan-

Hello, my name is Hamza and I did my internship with the Regional office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for EU, EEA and NATO in Brussels, Belgium. During the Internship my core tasks were to monitor and write reports on the health of migrants coming to the European region from different parts of the world. The projects that I worked on were Re-Health2 and MiG-H, which focused on components such as “Communicable and Non-communicable diseases, Gender based violence, e-health and mental health issues”. We managed to cover the European countries by conducting 3-day workshops in first-line countries focusing on groups that have a first-hand interaction with migrants (Law enforcement officer, social workers and medical professionals). Besides health, I also got an insight on how the United Nations (U.N) work in general, the bureaucratic jargon, the do’s and don’ts etc. and I got to travel within Europe to get an experience of how things work in the field. It was definitely one of the best times of my learning experience.

(IOM – Office in Brussels)

(Grand Place – Brussels)

From the very beginning, I was interested in working on migration and health issues as well as e-health. I wanted to know how the data is collected, applied and how the projects are implemented. So, when I started my search for internships, I looked for multinational/ intergovernmental organizations and their offices around the world. I also joined a European portal called European Solidarity Corps through which, I would look at different internship offers. Secondly, I would mostly focus on offices in cities that are beta + or above because in my experience language is less of a barrier and it’s easier to communicate. And last but not least, I kept my morale high after every rejection because I was sure that I will get something if I keep trying.

My supervisor Arja Erkkila was of great help and support during this process. She not only encouraged me to apply but also helped me with the documents while supervising my thesis. The UEF staff was very supportive and the program in general provided me with a basis of public health that I could apply in the practical world.

If you want to know more about the projects, here is a link to it :

Who else really likes Ebola… or reading alot of research articles about it?

-Blair Rajamaki-

Howdy, I am Blair Rajamaki and I completed my internship with the Cochrane Work Review Group. During my internship I was able to assist in updating a systematic review. After reading several reviews in the Cochrane Library on topics I was interested in, I found a review about the personal protective equipment used by healthcare workers during Ebola outbreaks. I am interested in this topic since I was a member of the “Ebola Care Team” in the hospital I worked at as a nurse in the United States prior to moving to Finland. I was trained in how to don (put on) and doff (take off) the protective clothing so that I did not contaminate myself after caring for someone with possible Ebola or other highly infectious diseases. During the hospital training sessions I questioned how people knew that this was the correct and best way to take off contaminated equipment and was the equipment actually protecting us from the virus. Working on the update of the systematic review, I was able to get an idea of how to answer my questions.

I mainly worked with Jos Verbeek on updating this review and in the process I was able to learn about quality of research. Discussions with Jos along with completing the learning modules online taught me how to be a critical thinker of research papers and go in-depth on understanding the methods used. I have already used the knowledge I gained from working on this systematic review on my own master’s thesis research project. Jos has been a great resource of knowledge for me. He has helped guide me through the scientific writing process by working on the review together and directed me to outside resources, like websites and articles, to strengthen my own writing. I highly recommend working with the Cochrane Work Review Group for an internship during the master’s program of Public Health at UEF.

Nursing Education Internship: Working Towards a Dream

– Floro Cubelo –

When the opportunity knocked once, I opened it. This internship programme offered by the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, in collaboration with the Department of Nursing Science has opened the portal towards my dream of the teaching profession in Finland. Rigorous preparations were conducted before getting into the internship place. One is the completion of several documents and complying with the bureaucracy for the protection of several parties including the intern, the university and the host institution. However, it was easy to comply with the requirements. The communication via electronic mail with the International Coordinator of Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences (JAMK), Marjo Palovaara and Internship Coordinator, Assistant Professor Arja Erkkilä went through according to my plan. Both parties were very welcoming and open-minded with the justified plan. Then voila, I got the internship place!

Since time immemorial way back in the Philippines, I have had an active desire to be in the teaching profession. I went lecturing at several institutions regarding the promotion of a healthy lifestyle in particular to the promotion of a healthy and stable musculoskeletal system through a non-pharmacological approach. I have also been a part-time lecturer in the College of Nursing in one institution teaching about Community Health Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing, Maternal and Child Nursing and as well as Medical-Surgical Nursing. Since then, my interest in Nursing Education remains on fire and I have carried it all the way when I moved to Finland. Working as a Contingent Nurse in a Health Centre District Hospital, I have seen and heard sentiments from the International Nursing Students about their practice, the integration phase and the achievement of their goals in Finland. As I was one of them way back five years ago, I pledged to persistently improve my mentorship approach in a way I wanted it to be when I was a student. This pushed me to apply for the MPH programme and specialize in the Health Promotion in Nursing Science track, hoping someday to become a Nurse Educator in Finland.

Since the Nursing Science track has just recently been merged with the MPH programme as a new track, this internship is also the first time in the Department. I could have applied to the World Health Organization- Southeast Asian Region in the Philippines, but I chose to follow my dream, as I wanted to stay in Finland. During the first day of my internship, Marjo gladly welcomed me to take part in her Preoperative Nursing lecture, and it was at the same time a refreshment of my operating room nursing knowledge. As days went by, I have taken part in most of the lectures of other nursing lecturers in the different fields of nursing, and even joined simulations, which were absolutely exhilarating, fun and exciting. Clinical Educators (including Xiao, Anu, William, Teija, Kaisu and Margit) gave me the chance to be a patient, guide and give feedback to students.

Since my speciality for the MPH programme is on Health Promotion, I have also been part of the two courses that were going on during the time of my internship including Basics of Health Promotion and Counselling of Health Promotion and Wellbeing. These courses value the concept of learning by doing. Health Promotion was not just discussed and left in the four corners of the classroom as we did so many physical activities in the University’s gymnasium hall and had moments to flex, jump, exercise and move like thunders.

The most satisfying moment in my practice is the side-talks with the international nursing students. The moment you asked them questions about their situations (emotions, wishes and hopes, dreams and plans) in Finland, gave me the chance to encourage and inspire them to keep pursuing their dreams and not give up living in the country. Finland faces threats on nursing shortage, so I would be glad to become an advocate in promoting the nursing profession to other foreigners as well.

During the last day of the Basics of Health Promotion, we had exchange students from Estonia and it was just incredible hearing their project reports together with the international students of JAMK. I was also glad to meet Estonian Nurse Educators and even gave me a personalized pen from the Tartur Health Care College at the end of the lecture.

The teaching strategies contained combinations of approaches that help stimulate the students’ critical thinking. I appreciated a lot the “half-sphere-formation” of the classroom set-up, which in my opinion helps students to be in a culture of closeness. The simultaneous video and discussion among students generated ideas of improvement both from their side and from the one performing the return demonstration. Most students like the open forum/discussion where they can do rebuttals or support ideas. The recapitulation phase facilitates the students to remember the vital areas of the learning process.

One skill that I still lack that I might work on in the future, is to understand the level of learning capacity of the students- whether some profound concepts get into their comprehension, so discussions and lectures would be according to what they can understand and use in the future working life.
I had also the chance to get in touch with one project facilitated by JAMK called Hyvinvointikioski, which is funded by the European Commission in terms of analyzing other similar projects in the major cities in Finland including the following but not limited to Kuopio, Espoo and Nokia.

After this internship, I have realized that I have so much passion in teaching nursing students in as much as I did before I left the Philippines. To teach in the field of nursing in Finland would be an enormous privilege to treasure, being one of the finest in the education systems in the world. After all, I still have more things to work on- utilization of the latest teaching strategies that are evidence-based, another work year experience as a Registered Nurse in particular to being a Float Nurse and as well as the pursuance of my Master’s Degree in Public Health major in Health Promotion in Nursing Science.
There is so much to learn from the Finnish education system. The value of independence and freedom in the utilization of time, teaching strategies, satisfaction of the students and the embracement of their feedback make it a unique defining way on how to become a teacher. I believe that an environment of an authoritarian approach promote less learning and retention from the students. The University of Applied Sciences experience reminds me that whoever wants to enter the teaching profession should value a student friendly environment where no student is left behind on the journey to success. Teachers are like parents who set rules, guide their children but after all, maintain authority and value towards education.

There are three types of goals in Nursing Care Plan (goal met, goal partially met and goal not met), and I daresay, that my goals are met for this internship period.

Let my dreams continue to flourish!

INTO THE SYSTEMATIC REVIEW … My intership experience!!

– Prativa Basnet –

During the orientation courses of public health programme we had been informed about some of the organizations that we could possibly work as an intern and gain hands-on experience in the field of our interest. I deeply wanted to get involved in some research work to learn and contribute to the publications but was not hopeful I might find any opportunity.

In one of the lectures for the course Research Process in Public Health, I had an opportunity to know more about the Finnish Institute of Public Health and the cochrane review work. I didn’t wait longer to send my CV and express my interest to work as a volunteer in a systematic review. Fortunately, my call was heard and I was invited for an interview and then after solemn discussion on my experience, interest and motivation the reaction was positive.

Things started to roll on. I was assigned to work in an existing systematic review already done by the Cochrane Work Review Group. The main author of the paper was Henk Van der Molen from Netherlands. I got introduced with him on the second day of the internship. He was happy to include me in his team and that made me even glad to begin the work as a team. I had to update the recent evidences and publications on the subject we were working in. Basically as the process of systematic review, with the existing search strategy we retrived all the articles published after September 2012. The articles were screened in the webtool considering the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Initially the title screening was done followed by the abstract screening. From the filtered articles, the full text review was done and we choose the articles for the recent update that met the selection criteria. The PICO answer format for each article was followed. The data extraction was done from each of the articles and tallied the information with the team and agreed upon for every component. For each of the article the risk of bias assessment was done and using the software RevMan5.3 the information was updated and analysed. Though I have worked for many years in health programs in my country, working in a systematic review like this was something I was doing into for the first time. I was fortunate because the team members were so kind and patient to brief me in detail. So in a positive team, I got to learn and complete the work in a very smooth manner. We had interrupted time series studies that I had to deal and understand. To learn to interpret the results and summarize the most current scientific evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to prevent injuries associated with construction work; grading the quality of each evidence based on GRADE approach was interesting. After months of hardwork, finally the review work was complete and so was my term of internship. I am hopeful the publication will be soon available publicly!


– Sujala Mathema-

I am Sujala Mathema from Nepal and I did my internship in Cochrane work. Cochrane Work is one of the branches of Cochrane. Cochrane is a non-profit organization that works in producing systematic reviews on health care interventions and promotes use of clinical trials. However, Cochrane work reviews topic related to effectiveness of occupational health interventions. These interventions help to improve adverse health outcomes at work like exposure to hazardous agent at work, harmful behaviors at work, occupational diseases, disorders, injuries, disability or sick leave. Nevertheless, the interventions also help in health promotion at work.

I learned about systematic review in my Master’s program in public health. I wanted to utilize my acquired knowledge into practice. Cochrane work has given me a platform to make use of my knowledge and work independently on systematic review. I was lucky enough to have this institute in Kuopio where I am living currently. The working environment is very flexible and comforting. The staffs in the institute is very welcoming and humble. It is a wonderful place to work if you want to take your study and internship simultaneously. This experience will not only make you learn about systematic review but give you an experience to work in a Finnish working environment. I highly recommend this institute to those students who have interest to learn about systematic review.

So, what we do in Cochrane???? You can find out about Cochrane review from the link given below.

If you want to know more about Cochrane work, here is the link for it

Kia Ora from Aotearoa!

– Lucy Wu –

Aotearoa is the Māori name for New Zealand and translates to the ‘land of the long white cloud’. I am incredibly fortunate to call this stunning country my home. Below is one of our famous black sand beaches from the west coast of the North Island.

Finland and Aotearoa are on opposite sides of the world, so here are a few facts about Aotearoa…

– Kia Ora means ‘to be well/healthy’ and is used as a greeting, farewell and expression of thanks
– Aotearoa is made of 2 main islands, North Island and South Island, with around 600 smaller islands within its waters
– Our national bird is the Kiwi; we also refer to ourselves as Kiwis
– We have the longest place name in the world
‘Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu’ which is roughly translated as “the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as the land-eater, played his nose flute to his loved ones”.
– First country to give women the vote in 1893
– Wellington is the southernmost capital in the world
– We have a very diverse and multicultural population with people from all around the world
– Auckland is the largest city where about 1.5 million people live; this is just over 1/3 of the county’s population
– Sir Edmund Hilary was first to climb Mt Everest and is on the $5 note
– We are a very friendly country where it is normal to smile and say hello to people you pass on the street, even when you don’t know them!

I went to Finland to complete a Master’s in Public Health and came back to complete an internship at a primary health organisation in Auckland called ProCare Health Ltd.

During this internship I worked on a project to help with the government’s goal of Smokefree 2025 where they aim to have less than 5% of the population smoking. The current rate is just over 15% with great variation depending on ethnicity, age and socioeconomic status. The internship itself was very challenging and it was a taste of how national policies and programs are actually implemented in the field. I was fortunate enough to attend many community events, below is the annual lantern festival where we got some delicious food!

Aotearoa is a very complex country from the health lens as it is not a homogenous population. There are specific needs for each population, which makes it incredibly hard to decide from the local to national level which issues to focus on and dedicate funding too. Though the country is highly developed, very blessed geographical and possess an open mind-set over all – there are still many challenges to overcome. In light of all the challenges and complexities, Aotearoa offers unique opportunities to make an impact and learn a great deal along the way. The country is fortunate enough to provide the opportunity to be at the forefront for many disciplines, from rowing to farming to earthquake engineering. The people, the nature and the food are definitely worth the long flight down to the bottom of the world.

Welcome to read Public Health students in action blog! This blog gives you glimpses into what it's like to be a public health master´s degree student in practical training. Here you will find posts by our international students who are doing their internships in Finland or abroad.