Before I left Abuja on December 9 there were the final touches to be made to my project. People to meet, project charter deadlines to meet and presentations to be made, however, the most important part was making sure there were memories to carry back with me. Memories of people who made my day special despite their busy schedules.
Everything happens on the very last week, day or hour in Nigeria. I noticed that a lot. I’ve always been big on planning in advance so this was a minor annoyance for me, but I’ve learned in the past 5 months to go with the flow and to be in the moment because these precious moments cannot be brought back.
Re-entry was not too difficult. It started off with my GSK work team holiday get together. Nice time to catch up and share small tidbits of my trip. Then the holiday break started and it was family and friends time. It felt good to be back home, yet I felt like part of me was still missing something. Back in Nigeria, being away from my familiar world back home, I learned to focus solely on the purpose of my assignment. I got so involved in it that I couldn’t, for a while, forget all that I was working on and get back to my regular work as a sales representative in the field. I planned to tell my team and region about my Pulse assignment; what I did for the past 6 months, what challenges I faced and how my experience on my assignment will change GSK. However, in the 2 minutes I was allotted at our regional meeting, all I could get to was, my work at my NGO in Nigeria. I had a lot to convey and the best way to do it was through the work I do everyday. I decided I needed to bring back to my work some of the things that I learned while on my assignment.
After all the objectives and deliverables were deciphered and I was able to paint a clear picture of what I was up against in my assignment, I realized it all boiled down to achieving two main objectives:
- Access to healthcare for all wherever they live or whatever their circumstance
- Improved health outcomes for all especially the most vulnerable-women and children
While on my assignment I was assessing and marketing intangible services that Jhpiego offered, like training and capacity building to achieve these goals. In my current role at GSK, I will be able to help patients and providers gain access to and improve treatment outcomes with the products I promote.
Even though our healthcare system in the US is far more advanced than many other countries, we continue to be plagued by issues of access to healthcare and improved health outcomes. There will always be more to do and higher standards to achieve as the healthcare demands of the people of a developed nation like the US continue to grow. Within my little world of influence I can be the change I want to see in the world.