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How Ellen Is Making an Impact on Global Public Health

Friday | September 8, 2023 | by WES Advisor

Ellen Makawa

Ellen Makawa is dedicated to her career in public health. Motivated by a desire to continue her education and work in the field, she received a WES credential evaluation. Now she is prepared to take on opportunities—and continue making a difference in global public health. We spoke with her to find out what motivated Ellen to pursue a public health career, her goals for the future, and how a credential evaluation will play a part in her plans.

Ellen’s Public Health Career Journey 

When Ellen began working in public health after graduating from Malawi College of Health Sciences in 2005, she cared for patients living with HIV. “This was when the HIV epidemic in Malawi was at its peak, with patients presenting with advanced HIV disease conditions coupled with other infections including Kaposi’s sarcoma, cryptococcal meningitis, and advanced cervical cancer, among others,” she recalls. 

During that time, she witnessed a lack of essential resources for patients. “Every day I would [go] home with a heavy heart fearing what tomorrow would bring for most patients I was caring for,” she says. “I felt the need to do more but did not know how. I only managed to offer the best I could in such circumstances.” 

While this initial experience was challenging, it only motivated Ellen to continue her career in the field. Over the years she has worked at several different health care departments and initiatives in Africa, focused on care for patients living with HIV. 

Now, Ellen works for Right to Care Malawi, where she serves as a District Team Lead in districts in Malawi with high rates of HIV. In this role, she leads a project focused on sustaining HIV epidemic control. The project, funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and implemented through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aims to help more people access and receive quality HIV testing, care, and treatment.   

Driven by a Desire to Make a Difference 

Working in public health, Ellen has encountered numerous challenges. One of the most significant is loss of lives that could have been saved had there been sufficient resources, she says. One example: young girls and women with serious illnesses who became sick because they didn’t have the right information or access to critical services for their sexual and reproductive health. 

Ellen herself has faced significant obstacles in trying to obtain necessary health care, including limited or unavailable services, lack of health education information, and dealing with stigma, cultural practices, and misconceptions.  

In her professional experience, she has also contended with shortages of medication and supplies, insufficient human and material resources, inadequate infrastructure, and negative attitudes of staff in health care settings.   

These experiences have only further motivated her to keep working toward equal access to essential health care services and information for everyone. Through her efforts, she’s come to understand the need for ongoing attempts to overcome systemic barriers and ensure that all people can receive the care and support they require. 

Advancing Career and Education with a Credential Evaluation 

Ellen came to realize that to achieve her aims, possessing academic credentials or a professional license for a particular field might not be enough. She decided to obtain a credential evaluation and seek opportunities to study for a master’s degree in public health or a related field outside Malawi. She also recognized that a credential evaluation could give her access to other options that might otherwise not be available. 

Though Ellen does not yet know where she will study, she knows a credential evaluation is one of the prerequisites for graduate school admission. After researching and exploring her options, she learned that WES evaluations are among the most widely trusted and accepted by institutions, so she decided to order her credential evaluation from WES.  

“The journey was very long… but I have realized it was all worthwhile,” she says. “I look forward to exploring more academic and professional opportunities with a WES credential evaluation and will not hesitate to recommend WES to other aspiring applicants.” 

While Ellen continues to pursue new opportunities for personal and professional growth, her commitment to making a positive impact remains strong. Her story contains inspiration for everyone hoping to create beneficial change in a field or issue they care about. 

Related Reading

The Power of an Education and a WES Credential Evaluation

Get Started with Your WES (World Education Services) Credential Evaluation

WES Advisor is an initiative of World Education Services, a non-profit organization with over 45 years of experience in international education. We provide advice and resources for international students and skilled immigrants to help them make informed decisions about education, employment, immigration, and integration opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.