Muhfaza Rifat is an inspiring woman. The medical graduate from Bangladesh is due to complete her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology with the University of Newcastle (UON) in July.
She is the only Bangladeshi student at UON supported by a prestigious Australia Awards scholarship and is part of the Leadership Program within the Awards.
In her free time she is also an artist. Rifat’s abstract and self-reflective paintings have been exhibited a number of times here in Newcastle.
“When I wake up after finishing a painting I think, ah, it’s a nice day.”
Her research into risk factors for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is timely for her home country.
“Tuberculosis is a big burden in Bangladesh. Not a lot of information is available there on the multidrug-resistant form.
“I have taken a public health and community approach to my research. I think that’s what is necessary to shape a country’s strategy and policy for health.”
Due to return to her work with BRAC, an international development organisation based in Bangladesh, and the largest non-governmental development organisation in the world, Rifat is hopeful for the future.
“I want to work for the development of Bangladesh. I’ve learnt a lot here and wherever I go I’ll be able to apply that independently – I got that confidence from UON.”
Rifat will be one of over 700 international students from more than 50 countries being farewelled by UON in a special ceremony on 5 June, and will speak on behalf of the group.