NITTA Junichi at Vision for Coffee
Concentration of Study
Health Economics Policy and Management (HEPM)
MPH Degree Mode and Graduation Year
Vision for Coffee
1. Describe your practicum.
I worked at a Non - Governmental Organization (NGO) named Vision for Coffee as the practicum site. This NGO promotes eye health for coffee growers in developing countries. An eventual goal is to reduce visual handicap among coffee growers.
“Maintaining a good eye health of coffee farmers leads to high quality coffee production and the profit obtained by producing high quality coffee contributes to maintaining good eyes health of coffee farmers”.
This is the core principle of Vision for Coffee. I conducted literature or publish data review on severity of ocular problem and health care system in Nicaragua. I implemented health assessment, health education and data collection of ocular problem for coffee growers in Nicaragua. I also contributed to maintain a system for the future sustainability by seeking for the possibility to create referral system and self-medication system in the local community.
2. Why did you choose your practicum organization/ practicum project?
I would like to try the new approach to improve public health in developing countries. Many of them carry out activities with donated funds and people in developing countries depend on aid. Then, they cannot sustain their activities if those donations disappear and there are no supports.
The new initiative of Vision for coffee is a completely new attempt to realize public health improvement and poverty reduction at the same time based on the market mechanism. It is attractive to me.
3. What was the most rewarding part of your practicum?
It was a rewarding project that I have contributed to solving problems by promoting eye health, improving the quality of coffee, and reducing poverty. Furthermore, I could contribute for carrying out effective interventions after careful investigation on the health problems of coffee growers in the developing country and try to create sustainable system for improving public health.
4. What skills did you gain as a result of your practicum?
I was able to acquire the skills to plan, coordinate and manage the project through the practicum. I had worked on numerous development assistance in developing countries in the past, but it was my first experience to try an approach that was not just a treat and it was very useful for improving my skills.
5. How can you see your practicum helping with your future career in public health?
It was very meaningful for me that I could seek out the possibility of a new approach to public health improvement in developing countries. By improving public health, they increase the value in the market and use the obtained profits for activities to improve public health. If we can create a virtuous cycle without unduly relying on aids, we can establish a new sustainable system.
Activities at Vison for Coffee focus on the coffee. However, the framework can be expanded to other products and services. The activities of Vision for Coffee are having tremendously great potential. I would like to apply the new approach I have explored at the practicum to improve public health in developing countries in the future.
6. Do you have any advice for future practicum students?
We can improve problem-solving skills with practicum through the process of building something. It is possible to practice various things by using originality and ingenuity. I encourage the future practicum students to take full advantage of this precious opportunity.