Case study

Dealing with disaster – how Daniel’s masters is helping him help others

Coming to the UK to study during the coronavirus pandemic presented Daniel Nang-Tege Ekumah with an extra set of challenges. His determination to make a difference to others has helped him overcome these, with the support of fellow students and University staff.

Helping others

A passion for improving conditions for communities in developing countries is what drives Daniel Nang-Tege. It was his motivation for leaving Ghana to study an MSc in Intelligence, Security and Disaster Management at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Ghana, Daniel had a senior role as a health care and emergency professional, with experience in training nursing colleagues in responding to mass casualty events. He also co-authored a multilingual book for children, aimed at educating them about what to do in an emergency.

Global emergency

All of his knowledge and expertise was needed when the coronavirus pandemic hit. “I helped set up an emergency response team for the pandemic,” he explains. “I also co-ordinated activities, training and meetings, while providing direct care to suspected and confirmed Covid-19 patients.”

Responding to emergencies is something that Daniel can manage well, but he wanted to take the next step “to build expertise in mitigating, preparing, recovering and building community resilience in emergency and disaster management”.

Daniel Nang-Tege Ekumah in nursing scrubs, a hat and mask
Daniel joined our masters to build on his experience as a health care and emergency professional

Choosing Derby

The masters at Derby fitted the bill, and he was drawn to the University for various reasons. “As one of the top 10 universities for international experience, it felt like the right place to be,” he explains. “Derby is the ideal city for me – it offers almost everything the bigger cities can offer, with the calmness of countryside life. That was one reason I picked this University over the other offers I received to study in the UK.”

Studying abroad during the pandemic was challenging for Daniel. “Academically and professionally, I am a high achiever, and at first my grades were not as high as I expected,” he recalls. "I remember almost hitting rock bottom mentally, with lots of regressive thoughts, which were worsened by the pandemic restrictions. But challenges and failures don’t mean you are inadequate – they’re another opportunity to give it a better shot, unearth your potential and build resilience.”

Supportive environment

This positive outlook was supported and strengthened by his fellow students and teaching staff. He says: “Some of my course mates have been supportive without even knowing the impact they have made. And the staff have been great, reminding me how astute I am, how I contribute to lecture discussions by sharing my experience, and how impactful I would be professionally despite my challenges.”

During his studies, Daniel gained a role at the University’s Asymptomatic Testing Centre, contributing to the University’s Covid-19 management programme. Since graduating, he has been appointed as the Centre’s supervisor: “I’m leading a multicultural team, ensuring that staff and students at the University have access to assisted on-site testing and home testing for Covid-19,” he explains. “This is bringing my studies to life and is providing an opportunity for relevant experience in disaster management.”

Taking opportunities

Studying in the UK has helped Daniel build his networks. “My class is very diverse in nationality and professional experience,” he says. “This has created opportunities for me to collaborate academically and professionally with each of them. And, signposted by my programme leader, I joined the Emergency Planning Society, where I have made lots of other professional contacts.”

Focus on the future

Beyond that, his experience at Derby has broadened his horizons: “It has rekindled my ambition to dream big and go and impact the world.”

What does that dream look like? “My greatest aspiration is to land a career opportunity to travel the globe, especially to low-resourced communities,” says Daniel. “I’d like to help them build capacity for emergency and disaster planning through education and simulation. Not everyone is fortunate to have the education I’ve had, but sharing expertise with health care professionals will help reduce and manage disaster risk. Tremendous success is more about team wins than individual accolades – that’s something that my experience has taught me.”

student studying a natural disaster

MSc Intelligence, Security and Disaster Management

Develop the practical and theoretical knowledge you need to work in the fields of intelligence, security, emergency planning, crisis and disaster risk reduction and management in the UK and overseas.

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