Heller Profiles

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Helene Mukeya

Democratic Republic of the Congo

MS '15

Pharmacist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo gains research skills

Helene Mukeya learns to apply evidence-based research to strengthen health systems

Kabembo Helene Mukeya (Helene) is a pharmacist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After attending pharmacy school in Kinshasa, she co-owned and managed a pharmacy there, while also serving as a volunteer pharmacist for a local medical center. She then moved to Zimbabwe, working as Chief Pharmacist at the Harare Central Hospital, which included serving on the board of directors. This was followed by high-level positions with the Ministry of Health in Namibia, where she worked as a pharmacist while receiving an MBA from a management college in South Africa (MANCOSA).

In Namibia, Helene collaborated with Management Sciences for Health on a research study examining stock-outs of pharmaceuticals (i.e., when a health facility does not have a specific medicine on their shelf to give to a patient when needed). She also worked with the School of Pharmacy at the University of Namibia on the use of antibiotics. As she learned more about stock-outs and misuse of antibiotics, Helene realized that she was missing the key research skills to examine this issue in her home country.

Her desire to develop those skills brought her to Heller, where she is motivated to learn how to apply evidence-based research to health systems strengthening.  “I am excited to become an agent of change in developing countries, and to bring a smile to the faces of those troubled about access to health care,” she says.

The faculty at Heller have been a great asset to her in her studies. “They make you work harder, and push you to open your mind to so many things,” she says.

Helene has also enjoyed career trips organized by the Heller community. She recently went to New York City through a networking trip organized by the Career Development Center. It was her first time visiting the area, and she was grateful for the opportunity to meet with health care organizations that are relevant to her interests and aspirations.  

During her time at Heller, Helene has also worked at the Cohen Center as a research assistant.

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