Friends of Utah: Calliope Akintije Simba

Mr. Calliope Akintije Simba visited Utah in May 2016 with World Learnings' Multi-regional Global Health: Building Country Capacities project. At the time, he served as a public health director in a rural district hospital in Rwanda. His responsibilities included developing more efficient ways hospitals could administer benefits to their patients, seeking ways to improve care at all levels, reduce maternal mortality rates, and engaging community health workers in combating malaria. The objectives of the group were to promote international cooperation on shared health challenges and to examine public awareness campaigns about health issues while networking with professional counterparts to increase information sharing and improve transparency in discussing global health concerns.

While in Utah, Mr. Akintije Simba met with the University of Utah School of Medicine’s Global Health Department, Division of Public Health, and Division of Epidemiology, Utah State Legislature, and the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

School health program Rwanda Calliope Akintije SimbaMr. Akintije Simba at his school health program; photo by Calliope Akintije Simba

Reflecting back on his visit, Mr. Akintije Simba shares that his experience in Utah enhanced his ability to direct the Mibilizi Hospital in Rwanda by improving critical thinking skills, heightening his sense of the "big picture," and helping to create strategic interventions. Shortly after returning to Rwanda, he presented an abstract about nutritional concerns in the hospital’s catchment at an international conference. Additionally, he started a school health project in Rwanda that focused on the prevention of communicable and non-communicable diseases in local schools.

Presenting at an international conference Nigeria supported by CDC Atlanta Calliope Akintije SimbaPresenting his abstract in Nigeria; photo by Calliope Akintije Simba

Mr. Akintije Simba feels that his experience in Utah and the United States strengthened his professional development, helped him think differently about his experiences, and now feels more connected to his community.  Additionally, he often finds himself tellings others about his experience in Utah and feels more respect and has a better understanding of the people of Utah. “Utah is a unique state with policy and its environment. I love Utah, and I wish [to] come back again- Thank you!” 

Mr. Akintije Simba is now pursuing his Ph.D. in International Health from Japan so that he can enhance the necessary skills and knowledge as an emerging leader. Utah Global Diplomacy wishes Mr. Akintije Simba the best of luck with earning his Ph.D. and his work in Rwanda, and we hope he visits us again soon.