A Graduate of the SDA Bocconi Master in Health Management in the Midst of Climate Emergency in MozambiqueWITH DEGREES IN MEDICINE, PHARMACY, AND HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT, SILVIA USSAI WORKS FOR THE ITALIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS DURING HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCIES ABROAD
"As soon as you arrive in such a situation, you are so immersed in work and coordinating the emergency that for days you don't think of anything else, not even sleep. Then the human aspect prevails and you realize that people are missing everything, even drinking water ". Silvia Ussai, who graduated in Pharmacy and Medicine and holds a Master of International Health Care Management, Economics and Policy (MIHMEP) from SDA Bocconi School of Management, was sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mozambique to oversee the health emergency caused by Cyclone Idai striking the Southesatern African country on March 14.
"I was given the task due to my specific skills and my major in global health and development at the Master", Silvia explains. She is a 32-year old from Gorizia, the Italian city at the border with Slovenia. " I represent Italy as a focal partner for Mozambique's main health fund (Prosaúde), which includes various donors and international organizations; my task is to support the government in identifying the priorities for action and to develop a sustainable response plan," she adds.
Mozambique was seriously hit by the financial crisis, which had already been causing serious public health problems among the country’s population, including rates of HIV infection among the highest in the world. It now faces the grim aftermath of a colossal weather disaster. "Our goal is not only to provide emergency health care", continues Ussai, "but also to contain infectious diseases, prevent epidemics, and organize the population to face these situations in the medium and long term". Silvia does not work alone, obviously, but is part of a sophisticated rescue and aid network that combines national governments and international agencies, bringing together professionals from the most disparate fields.
"I am specialized in health and global development and was trained in risk management during health emergencies," goes on Silvia, who started working in hospitals and health clinics when she was still in college and decided to go for a SDA Bocconi Master, when she realized that being a manager in international public health would be her vocation. "What I want to emphasize, and which perhaps sometimes is not clear to everyone, is the importance of attending graduate programs of excellence such as MIHMEP, which provide both relevant technical skills and the possibility of building a solid network of relations".
by Davide Ripamonti
Translated by Alex Foti