Melino Ndayizigiye, MD, MMSc
MMSc-GHD Class of 2014
Dr. Melino Ndayizigiye grew up in Southern Burundi without any access to modern medicine, influencing his decision to pursue medicine. Melino's thesis project was an assessment of barriers to contraceptive use in rural Burundi. He now works as the Executive Director of Partners In Health (PIH) in Lesotho, an innovative healthcare non-profit serving Lesotho’s most vulnerable patients in the rural remote regions of Lesotho and is supporting the implementation of health system reform.He also represents Partners In Health to different stakeholders, including the Lesotho Ministry of Health, international and local NGOs, and other health implementing partners and development agencies. He is leading a team of over 400 staff and 1200 Village Health Workers working in three PIH Lesotho core programs including: Rural Health Initiative, Multi Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, and Health Reform programs, and several other donor-funded projects, including Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health System Support (SATBHSS) Providing Universal Health Services for HIV/AIDS (PUSH), Many voices, Clinical Research projects including a clinical trial on Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis and Operational Research on oral shorter regimens for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, and COVID-19 response.
With such a full plate on his hands, the MMSc-GHD is grateful that Melino was able to spare a few minutes to speak with us about his experiences in the program.
Why was getting a master’s degree important to you and your career?
Before starting my master’s degree, I worked as a medical practitioner for six years in a private clinic in town and in rural Burundi, where I occupied different positions, including Medical Director of Matana District Hospital and District Health Manager, Medical Director of Village Health Works. Although I provided clinical services to my patients and led hundreds of staff, I always felt like I needed skills in program management, monitoring and evaluation, and research.
Why did you choose the MMSc-GHD program?
I chose the MMSc-GHD program because it provides knowledge and skills beyond other master’s degree programs. It equips students with knowledge and skills for better health service delivery, considering social determinants of diseases and the local context of health services. It equips students with the knowledge and practical skills to design and conduct research, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research.
What about the MMSc-GHD program that surprised you the most?
The program surprised me with how teaching is conducted based on real cases, not theory-based learning like MPH programs.
How would you say the program has impacted your career?
The program has changed my way of thinking about health service delivery to emphasize a holistic approach and use evidence-based interventions, which I use on a daily basis.
What advice would you give current or prospective MMSc-GHD students?
The MMSc-GHD program is the best program that equips students with the knowledge and practical skills for the health services delivery. It teaches great theories and prepares students to undertake big responsibilities of leading health programs effectively. This program is not easy, so be prepared to work hard and ask a lot of questions.