Say hello to Dr. Faith Aikaeli!  

After graduating from medical school in 2014, Faith worked with Medecins du Monde (MDM) as a health services manager. Hailing from Tanzania, Faith is currently working as a clinical research scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Tanzania. She is also a full time student, pursuing MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) on scholarship. Read on to learn more about the Resident Firebrand of the Student House.

Tell us more about your professional journey so far…

While studying medicine, we used to wonder what our specialisation would be. But I found my calling while taking a Global Health Course in Nepal. That’s when I knew I wanted to work in public health research. My experience of working with MDM only reinforced this. We worked with groups struggling with drug addiction and worked to rehabilitate them. The experience taught me that there is a dire need to educate and do further research on organising and providing medical care to both practitioners and governments. Later, I moved to the NIMR where I researched late-stage HIV. The NIMR advertised a scholarship to fund one student to study epidemiology at the LSHTM and luckily, I managed to bag it. I plan to pursue a doctoral degree after this course. 

Which person(s) has influenced your life the most?

My husband, cousin and mom. Each of them have supported and influenced me in different ways. My husband is very supportive and I am really thankful to have him in my life. Coming from a culture where women are essentially taught to   prioritise everyone else before themselves, my husband recognised my passion and talents even before our marriage. He has consistently pushed me to prioritise and work on realising my goals. My cousin is someone who manages to lift my mood in any circumstance. Whenever I felt a bit low or just wanted to talk, I would walk over to my cousin’s office after work, which was twenty minutes away from my own, back in Tanzania. About my mom, well, she is the backbone of our family and my best friend.

One accomplishment you are proud of?

That's a tough one to answer. I like to celebrate the small victories as they come. For instance, I consider my experience working as a part time carer for the elderly in London an achievement. Back home I may not have done something like this. I was used to having nurses take care of the so-called minor tasks. Even at home, I had ample help to care for my daughter. This experience has been humbling and eye-opening. I’m learning what it means to single-handedly take care of a vulnerable person for the first time. The first week was the hardest. My husband was also hesitant at first and questioned the need for me to do this but I persevered and now I am grateful for this learning curve.

How has life been at the Student House so far?

The best bit about this place is that it is very quiet. The common spaces are all very clean. I’m so glad I don’t have to think about these minor things and can just focus on my studies. One thing I definitely want to point out is that the management here is very caring and efficient. If an issue is reported it’s resolved at the earliest. Laura has been amazing. She made me feel right at home when I moved into the House. She regularly checks with us to know if we are comfortable or need anything. I love her.