Kelitha striving forward


JUGGLING a full-time online master’s programme and being a mother to four-year-old son Aiden, Kelitha Malio has experienced a lot during her study.
Malio, from East Sepik, took up a Swire scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in public health, majoring in epidemiology at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
The programme revolves around the study of diseases in a specified population.
Malio worked for six years as the animal health officer with the National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority.
Her passion for animal health started when she was growing up at her father’s crocodile and poultry farm.
It was “something I was enthusiastic to do”.
In 2019, she joined the Swire charitable trust fund scholarship programme managed by Steamships in PNG.
By studying at the QUT, Malio transitioned from her field of animal health to human health.
“Animal health and public health might seem different, but the concepts are quite similar,” she said.
“It’s that humans are more complex.”
Malio had to return to PNG due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic last year.
It meant a limited engagement with her lecturers and tutors.
They had to keep in touch through emails.
Malio said her son drove her on to succeed.
“Raising a son and studying full-time without proper human interaction can be hard and tiring, and I often feel guilty for not spending as much time as I want with him,” she said.
“But looking on the bright side, he is the true driver of my goals.
“As a mum, I am trying my best to give him the best so he can have a quality education in the future.”
Malio said the country needed more epidemiologists and vets.
She is expected to complete the programme finish at the end of this year.