Azan Virji - Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland

Whenever I needed a change of scenery to work, I would come to this meeting room that has World Health Organization written in 5 different languages and emphasizes the work of the GMP in all regions. 

Career goal:

Azan Virji hopes to become an infectious disease physician either working for Medicins Sans Frontiers (Doctors without Borders) or in a low-income country. After gaining field experience, he wants to work on global disease policy recommendations at the WHO headquarters. 

Internship outline:

This summer, I worked for the Global Malaria Program (GMP) at the World Health Organization headquarters (WHO). I was tasked with the development of surveillance assessment tools that the WHO GMP could use globally to better understand the drivers of poor malaria surveillance. During my time, I also compared national malaria strategic plans and the WHO malaria elimination strategic guidelines to check for any differences.

Value of experience:

Invaluable. Through my time working at the GMP, I met inspirational leaders who have worked on malaria for decades and spoke to them about the steps that need to be taken to achieve burden reduction and eradication. I was fortunate enough to receive my very own project of critical importance to the surveillance team. The GMP is also the center of all technological advancements in the field of malaria diagnosis, treatment and control. As an intern, I was also able to attend these talks to learn about the fight against malaria in the 21st century. Lastly, I was able to understand the role of the GMP as a technical supporting body in ensuring all countries achieve the Global Malaria Strategic Goals.

Best moment/experience:

The best moment for me was being able to witness the transition from one Director General of the WHO to the next. Hearing the accomplishments of Dr. Margaret Chan followed by the direction that Dr. Tedros Adhanom wants to take the WHO was truly a memorable experience. Additionally, being able to present my work to the entire GMP surveillance and elimination teams was a proud moment that marked the culmination of 2 months of work.

Funding source:

Yale MacMillan Center