From the Editor’s Keyboard

Dr. Fouard Kanu, public health specialist from Tonkolili district

30 August 2019 at 19:25 | 1890 views

“Your background should not put your back on the ground”…Says Dr. Fouard-Kanu

By Albert Kamara, Sierra Leone

Born in Magburaka, Tonkolili district and an alumnus of the Government Secondary School for Boys, Magburaka (MSSB), Dr. Allhassan Fouard-Kanu (photo) is presumably the first home-based Sierra Leonean to become a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), awarded by Walden University, in the U.S.A.

The DrPH is a professional degree that improves knowledge and analytical skills in leadership, policy, program management, and professional communication. The DrPH program situates public health practitioners to become effective leaders advocating for policy and change.

Dr. Alhassan Fouard-Kanu has over 10-years’ experience in the Sierra Leone health sector, working for both governmental and non-governmental sectors. He humbly started his professional career as a Community Health Officer (CHO), and worked in the front line of health service delivery in rural communities in the country. Dr. Fouard-Kanu also worked with the Tonkolili DHMT prior to his traveling to the United Kingdom for further studies in 2004.

The young man returned to Sierra Leone in 2011 with an expatriate status working for a UK-based consultancy firm (Options Consultancy Services UK Ltd.) to support the coordination of the DFID-funded Reproductive & Child Health (RCH) Project following the launch of the 2010 Free Healthcare Initiative. He was later embedded in the Directorate of Reproductive & Child Health to provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Health & Sanitation (MoHS) to support their stewardship in the implementation of the DFID-funded “Improving Reproductive, Maternal, & Newborn Health (IRMNH)”.

In 2015, Dr. Fouard-Kanu joined the MoHS on a three-year World Bank contract where he served as the Health Coordinator for Policy, and also as the Planning Specialist in the Directorate of Policy, Planning & Information (DPPI).

Fouard-Kanu holds a triple masters from the United Kingdom as follows: Master of Public Health (Staffordshire University); MSc in International Public Health Nutrition (Westminster University); and MBA in Public Health Management (Cumbria University). He is a member of different professional bodies including Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health (FRSPH); International Practitioner Member in the Faculty of Public Health (IPFPH); Member of the American Public Health Association.

Dr. Fouard-Kanu is also a Member of the U.S. National Society for Leadership and Success, with a mission to “Building Leaders Who Make a Better World”. He successfully earned the Foundation, Advanced and Executive Leadership Certifications as part of the training and mentoring to become a global leader.

Commenting on his latest accomplishment, Dr. Fouard-Kanu stated that attaining a doctorate is a monumental task and rewarding experience. According to him, when the title of “Doctor” is confirmed, one becomes part of an exclusive club. “Having the title “Dr.”in front of my name had been a life-long dream. I thank the Almighty God, my parents, relatives, friends and my professional mentors for this great achievement”, he stated.

Dr. Fouard-Kanu revealed that he was not from a wealthy and educated family. His early life was very humble as both parents are not western educated. His training as CHO prepared him to work in communities to provide health services. Notwithstanding, Dr. Fouard-Kanu was able to excel in his academic pursuits.

This is what he had to say: “One of the success factors in life is humility. A man that is humble will hardly stumble. You must ensure you have good character to enable you to break boundaries. When your character stinks, you will undoubtedly sink; preventing or limiting your chances of making it in life. My beginning was humble but I ensured I never allowed it to determine my destination. We are all allowed to start small but no one is allowed to remain small. With humility, I relate well with my peers and elders, including my professional heads or mentors. When you dream big, you attract God and helpful individuals. My ambitious academic goals and humility helped me in life.

I will end by saying that, people should not allow their backgrounds to put their backs on the ground.

As Dr. Fouard-Kanu says, if are humble, dedicated, and prayerful with a goal mindset you can change your situation from average to awesome.”