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Global Health Grad Stuart Davidson: From Guatemala to Peru - Improving the Health of Mothers, Newborns and Children

Global Health Grad Stuart Davidson: From Guatemala to Peru - Improving the Health of Mothers, Newborns and Children

MSc Global Health program gradute Stuart Davidson

February 15, 2017

Having recently settled in Peru, Stuart Davidson is looking forward to practicing his Spanish and exploring South America – not to mention continuing his work, which, for the last two years, has been dedicated to improving the health of mothers, newborns and children in Guatemala.

Right after graduating from the MSc Global Health program in 2014, Davidson was hired by the Global Health Office at McMaster, during which time professor Christy Gombay invited him to assist in preparing a proposal led by the Tula Foundation in partnership with McMaster.

The proposal was for Global Affairs Canada's Partnerships for Strengthening Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PSMNCH) award. And they got the funding. So, one year – and $7.6 million – later, the Scaling up Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) initiative in Guatemala was born.

“The project aims to reduce maternal and child mortality by strengthening essential services in maternal, newborn and child health in Guatemala,” explains Davidson, who was hired by the Tula Foundation to implement the four-year project.

Davidson credits the Global Health program with preparing him for this challenge. “I conducted my practicum in Kenya with a maternal, newborn, and child health project implemented by MaterCare International, and my scholarly paper examined existing barriers to maternal primary health care for women in Kenya, so this was a great chance to apply my knowledge in the field,” he explains.

As project coordinator, Davidson’s role in Guatemala has been focused on providing technical assistance in implementing the project. “I’m responsible for coordinating with Tula Foundation's technical implementation partner, TulaSalud, as well as supporting the reporting of project financial information and results to Global Affairs Canada, and coordinating technical assistance from global project partners,” he says.

Today, he is excited to be living in Piura, Peru, where he has relocated for the year with his partner, McMaster Global Health program graduate Emily Kocsis, who just received a position with the Canadian Cooperative Association in partnership with Global Affairs Canada.

“Luckily my work is mostly conducted online, so I’m able to join Emily and travel back to Canada and Guatemala when necessary,” says Davidson, noting that the program’s focus on online learning set him up well for a virtual work environment.

Looking ahead to the future, Davidson hopes to continue working in project management and the international development field, specifically in the Latin America region.  “But every now and then, Emily and I do talk about the possibility of farming in Canada,” he adds.