Published: 23-03-2023 16:32 | Updated: 23-03-2023 16:32

Funding for the Minor Field Studies program ends

Photo: Estrid Kjellman

Funding for the Minor Field Studies program (MFS-program) has been withdrawn due to economic instability and the war in Ukraine. But, says Associate professor Claudia Hanson at the Department of Global Health at Karolinska Institutet, the withdrawal also indicates a moving away from global solidarity.

Claudia Hanson smiling.
Claudia Hanson. Photo: Ulf Sirborn

The MFS-program supported students in performing their bachelor or MSc field study, in a low- or middle-income country. The grant funded travel and accommodation and was thus supporting students to learn and experience a very different setting.

What importance has the program had?

“For many students this was the first time they traveled for work. It was the first time they collaborated with another university, and it was the first time they had the opportunity to learn about other healthcare systems or other structures. It was for many a teaser that made them continue towards a Ph.D. or another work in the field of Global Health or other global work,” says Claudia Hanson, associate professor  at the Department of Global Public Health.

Why does the program end and what are the implications for the area?

“The main reason is that funding has been withdrawn because of competing priorities, mainly because of the global economic instability and the war in Ukraine. But the withdrawal also indicates changing priorities, a moving away from global solidarity. As such, this is not a good sign and may make society miss an important advocator for global solidarity and sustainable health,” says Claudia Hanson.

Estrid Kjellman. Photo: Private

Medical student and MFS grant recipient, Estrid Kjellman, has participated in a field study in Malawi.

What did you do during your minor field study?

“MSF made it possible for me to travel to Malawi and write my thesis about something close to my heart. My aim was to get a better understanding of what processes affect the interaction between the birthing mothers and the maternity care providers, from the maternity care provider’s perspective. The people I got to know, the things I got to experience and all the birthing women I got to meet, will stay with me forever,” Estrid Kjellman says.

Is there anything particular you would like to share with your experience?

“One difference that really hit me hard was the fact that death is constantly present in labor wards in Malawi. In Sweden, death feels far away from the labor wards, a privilege for a country with one of the lowest maternal and neonatal mortalities globally. It made me realize just how close death always is during childbirth in Malawi and how that influences all decisions, interactions, and experiences for both maternity care providers and the birthing women,” Estrid says.

You just finalized your thesis, what are your plans now?

“I am taking courses now. I am going back to Malawi next spring for my last semester of medical school to do clinical rotations. I am very excited to get to see and experience the clinical side of the Malawian healthcare system. When I have finished medical school I wish to specialize in pediatrics and combine clinical work in Sweden with research and/or clinical work within the global health field,” Estrid says.