Strengthening health systems in Namibia and Tanzania

By Karen Shih

Farida Mushi

“My career had reached a brick wall,” says Farida Mushi, MS'16. As a pharmacist in Tanzania, her home country, and Namibia for more than a decade, she had peaked in what she could do with her existing skills.

“I wanted more knowledge on policy change, systems strengthening,” she says. “I saw gaps in areas like maternal mortality and reproductive health, and felt like something more could be done. That’s why I thought global health policy could equip me to go in that direction.”

She learned about Heller from a friend who had met MS Program Director Diana Bowser, and decided the nine-month program was the best fit—though she didn’t know if she would be able to manage it financially.

Thanks to the Charles, PhD’78, and Fran Rodgers Endowed Fellowship, which covered part of her costs, she was able to take the year off and come to the United States.  

“I got more than I expected at Heller,” Mushi says. “Everything from the classes and the professors, to the optional training in Excel, to the Career Development Center staff and website.”

Now, Mushi says her current role at IntraHealth International ideally combines her pre-Heller career and the skills she learned at Heller. She works in supply chain management for antiretroviral medicines for HIV, which takes advantage of her experience managing drug and supply inventories, as well as the data analysis and reporting she learned through classes and research experience with Bowser.

None of this would have been possible without her fellowship.

“Potential donors might not know how much they are changing society,” she says. “Their support might be helping a mother back in a village in Namibia or Tanzania, because they’re helping one person to have the knowledge to go and change or implement policy.”