When U.S. Air Force Major Bakary Jallow, Environment and Health Officer for the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), was only eight years old and lived in Gambia, Africa, he watched his then four-year-old sister fight Malaria, a disease that kills millions of people every year. Eventually it spread to her brain, causing her to develop epilepsy, which led to seizures.
Her seizures, which occur several times a month, mean she will have to stay on medication for the rest of her life. All because of an illness that could have been prevented. His sister’s health crisis motivated Jallow to take action, and so he pursued a career in which he could make a difference in the medical community.
“Malaria is preventable, mosquito bites are preventable, what happened to my sister was preventable,” Jallow said. “Seeing what she’s been through, what else she’s going through, has kept me motivated and drawn into public health.”
Jallow moved to America at the age of twenty-one, received his bachelor’s degree shortly thereafter, and became a nurse at a hospital in Killeen, Texas. Working at the hospital helped him make friends with U.S. Army soldiers at Fort Hood who inspired him to join the service.
“I wanted to find a way to give back to a community that did a lot for me,” said Jallow. “I came from a humble background and went to school in America. I’ve had the opportunity to change many people’s lives. I became my family’s breadwinner when my father died, and the military has allowed me to change my family’s economic status. The military was a great way to give back to a community that has given me so much. “
As a public health officer, Jallow’s responsibilities include food inspections, environmental impact assessments, and water testing.
Jallow’s ambition and determination to make a difference have not gone unnoticed. He was recently selected for the Alice J. Gifford Fund for Health at Work and the Environment at John Hopkins University, where he is doing his PhD. Your professors nominate candidates for this annual award.
“I’m in my third year, I’m about to do my dissertation. I got the email from one of my professors that they would work for me, and I got it,” said Jallow. “I am humble and I feel happy, I am happy and life is good.”
As Jallow continues his studies and career, he continues to focus on what is important to him and why he started in the public health field.
“Instead of helping a few people, I want to take care of the community,” Jallow said. “I want to take care of thousands or millions at a time. I know it’s a lot, but that’s my goal and that’s why I’ve been committed to public health.”
|Release Date:||04/11/2020 3:40 AM|
|Hometown:||DOVER, DE, US|
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