Raising the UKZN Flag Internationally
UKZN’s Discipline of Nursing alumnus, Mr Nyangi Philemon Ngomu, is currently the National Professional Officer for Medical evacuations at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) South African Country Office.
After supporting himself through odd jobs, Ngomu graduated with his honours degree in 2004 and a master’s degree in 2008. Ngomu put himself through university. ‘I have always made it through hard work and not giving up,’ said Ngomu.
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo his path has never been easy, ‘I did all kinds of jobs from car guard, barber to security guard just to make it through my studies.
‘It is through that determination that some senior lecturers and admin staff in the School of Nursing pushed me to believe in myself. They understood my challenges and their moral support was enough for me to keep going.’
Ngomu, who manages daily operations of the Medical Unit at the WHO Country Office, is responsible for hospital placements, stay and redeployment of WHO Regional Staff on evacuation for specialised care in the country.
‘I provide orientation/briefing and pertinent education and health promotion to staff and medical evacuees, and work with the regional medical unit and HQ on staff wellbeing programmes and management of Staff Health Insurance medical scheme,’ said Ngomu.
He is also involved with the International Council of Nurses in the Leadership for Change Programme and Trainer of Trainers for Southern Africa and the Middle East.
‘I am doing this under the umbrella of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA). I am also a volunteer trainer of the Xavery South Africa Catholic Movement in Pretoria,’ said Ngomu.
According to Ngomu, his work has been very exciting, ‘Many young people think that nursing is limited in scope of practice but this profession has great opportunities and well-trained nurses like myself can occupy any position in clinical, academia, research, leadership and management. With this career I have travelled the world and have been involved in many activities and am looking forward for the best is yet to come.’
He plans to do his PhD and hopes to retire in academia one day, contributing to nursing sciences through research.
Ngomu has a special interest in health systems and policies in general and nursing regulations.