Kaohsiung Medical University
Marthe Michel is a physician of general practitioner who comes from Haiti, a tropical island located in Caribbean Sea, Central America. Her hometown is Cap-Haïtien, the second largest city of Haiti, which is 15,000 kilometers away from Taiwan. There is a 12-hour time difference between Haiti and Taiwan.
In Haiti, the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tropical diseases are common and important health issues. However, there is a shortage of professionals in medical fields related to tropical medicine. After graduating from the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba, Marthe Michel always hoped to have the opportunity to participate in research fields of tropical medicine that she could improve her professional expertise. From one of her friend who studied in Taiwan, she knew the M. Sc. Program in Tropical Medicine of Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU) and she also had the opportunity to apply for Taiwan ICDF Scholarship, which strengthened her faith for studying in M. Sc. Program in Tropical Medicine of KMU. After passing a series of reviews for graduate admission of KMU and the recommendation process of Taiwan embassy, she was awarded the ICDF scholarship for leaving Haiti and came to Taiwan to start her graduate study life in M. Sc. Program in Tropical Medicine at KMU. Since Marthe Michel is a medical doctor, she hopes that she will finish her study and could apply the professional knowledge and skills of tropical medicine to the medical and preventive tasks in her own country.
Her dream is to see the improvement of national medicine and public health systems in Haiti. In the future, she hopes that Haiti could follow the model of Taiwan as well as own an advanced medical and preventive system. That’s the reason for her will to join the research fields regarding the tropical medicine.
Among the courses provided by M. Sc. Program in Tropical Medicine, the most impressing course for her was “Recent Advances on Tropical Medicine and Global Health”. From this course, she learned how to read, understand, appreciate, and criticize other’s research works as a professional. She also learned to give a professional presentation in front of classmates and teachers as well as to have a suitable defense. Besides, she was so excited of experiencing the laboratory works as a new field to her. She realized the importance of scientific research for the future of medicine. During her study at KMU, Marthe Michel was glad to utilize the rich learning resources freely, such as well-equipped library and laboratories. More important, M. Sc. Program in Tropical Medicine owned professors who taught courses in English, which made international students enjoy the learning of professional knowledge and skills on tropical medicine. She would like to thank especially the chairman of M. Sc. Program in Tropical Medicine for his special guidance and care towards her, which helped her quickly adapt to a foreign environment as well as the laboratory life. Also, she would like to thank all her labmates, friends, church members (Kaohsiung English church), roommates, and all the faculties who always provided her with their assistance. Thanks to everyone, she got a wonderful stay in Taiwan.
“Discipline” was her deepest impression of Taiwan. She could see that discipline was the basic life of everything in Taiwan. The courses and research studies of M. Sc. Program in Tropical Medicine also emphasize the attitude of discipline and ethics. She found that the success of this country (Taiwan) did gain from this discipline, and she chose to internalize this discipline in her daily life.
After receiving her master’s degree and returning to Haiti, Marthe Michel was hired as a general practitioner in one private community hospital. Later, she went back to her hometown, Cap-Haïtien. Currently, she works for a medical clinic and she also provides medical service for National Airport Authority. In coordination with the medical staff of the international airport of Cap-Haïtien, she works on the epidemiological surveillance for the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Haiti.
Although Marthe Michel works for two different medical units, she doesn’t feel stressed. Instead, she really enjoys it. When she works in the airport, she is the coordinator of the group. She uses all medical information available to educate the staff. She not only helps them to know more about the coronavirus, but also teaches them how to examine the travelers correctly. More important, she guides the staff to protect themselves while contacting with any suspected cases, and to give the patients with appropriate care and recommendations according to the protocol established by the Haitian health ministry. Marthe Michel is happy that she can use her expertise in tropical medicine to help her people. She says that they are all afraid of the emerging COVID-19 infection because their medical and public health systems are not strong enough to respond to it. The outbreak of the COVID-19 would become a disaster. Therefore, she hopes that there will be more students from Central and South America to join the study on M. Sc. Program in Tropical Medicine of KMU. During their study, students can learn knowledge as well as the laboratory techniques regarding the tropical medicine. When they go back to their own countries, they can participate in the improvement of public health system and apply their learning experience in Taiwan to Central and South America.