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Interview with Dental Clinician Joseph Rusaqoli

Joseph Rusaqoli is a Dental Clinician in the Cook Islands, where he also runs outreach and school programmes. He recently spoke about his POLHN experiences and how they helped him to stay professionally current.

Tell us something about your work and yourself.

Hi my name is Joseph Rusaqoli and I am the Dental Clinician on the Island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. Aitutaki has a population of over 2,500 people. I also run outreach and school programs for all the schools here, there are four schools on Aitutaki: three primary schools and one high school.

Every day we have patients coming into the clinic with non-communicable disease (NCDs) so I think it is important that I am also aware of these issues and reinforce the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. That’s where POLHN comes in; it is a platform which provides me with up-to-date information on all health-related topics.

Being in a small medical team gives me an opportunity to be able to learn other skills to help out in other departments if I am needed.

How did you find out about POLHN?

Through our human resource manager and POLHN focal point here in the Cook Islands (Maru Willie). I also saw a few posts on Facebook and LinkedIn.

What courses have you studied with POLHN?

The infection prevention and control self-paced course was a really good refresher to help me brush up my knowledge on infection control and procedures in sterilising, as well as on the importance of hand hygiene in the clinical setting.

The health information system self-paced course helped me better understand the importance of health information systems, how they are operated and how to use the information in these systems to our benefit.

Currently I am pursuing my postgraduate diploma in public health under POLHN sponsorship from Fiji National University.

What do you like best about studying with POLHN?

I really enjoy doing the POLHN courses because they’re very informative and current. It is also very easy to register and access. I also also like that they are self-paced. Most of us have very busy schedules so we can do the courses at our own pace and when we are free.

Why did you take POLHN courses?

Oral health is also classified as a non-communicable disease (NCD), making this a really interesting topic for me. Looking through the courses available on POLHN, I noticed that there were a lot of NCD related courses so I thought doing some of them to help me get a broader understanding. This also helps me to explain how certain NCDs can contribute to dental problems or how they affect certain dental treatments.

I like to enhance my knowledge by doing POLHN self-paced courses as they are tailored to best suit health workers in Pacific Island Countries (PICs). I am also thrilled about the launch of the new course “Betel Nut” as it is directly related to my field of work.

What advice do you have for others?

Please make some time to do the courses. They’re relevant to all health professionals and it’s very easy to access, and the best thing is that POLHN is free. All the information and the power points are very easy to understand and I have even come to learn a lot of new things which will really help with my service to the community here in Aitutaki.

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