In 2010, I came to Australia for higher training in child health. I joined The University of New South Wales (UNSW) as a Masters student and obtained a combined degree of Master of Public Health and Health Management in 2011. Subsequently, I completed a Master of International Public Health (with Distinction) in 2012 which included a substantial component in Child Health.
Because of my interest in the field of immunology and vaccination, I joined the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) in 2013. My clinical research revolved around exploring how new novel conjugate vaccines interact with each other and with other routine childhood vaccines such as DTP/Tdap vaccine.
Although these vaccines are predominantly administered to children, adult Hajj travelers, those making the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, provided a unique opportunity to explore the interaction of conjugate vaccine with other carrier proteins because the pilgrims are obliged to receive the vaccines as pre-travel requirement. Therefore, I joined the Hajj Research Team at NCIRS and embarked on a randomised controlled trial entitled “Optimising immunity of Australian Hajj pilgrims”. The trial aimed to maximise vulnerable populations’ immunity arising from conjugate vaccines. The implications of the findings can also be tailored to optimise children’s immunisation schedules, particularly in poor settings and developing countries.
After embarking on this project, I was awarded the International Robert Austrian Research Award in Pneumococcal Vaccinology 2014 by the International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases (ISPPD) which contributed to the funding of my research. As part of the award, I was invited to present the outcome of my research in the ISPPD conferences in Glasgow, UK, in June 2016.
The recruitment process for the trial provided me with an outstanding opportunity to engage with the community, explore vaccinees’ fears and concerns about travel-related diseases such as pneumococcal and meningococcal disease and other viral infections. I regularly conducted health advice sessions among Muslim communities to increase their awareness about travel diseases and the importance of health preventive measures.
Currently a PhD fellow at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead as a PhD student through The University of Sydney, my thesis has been approved by The University of Sydney and I will graduate at the end of 2017. I’m a registered medical doctor in Australia and recently started a new role as a Research Officer working on Immunisation Program Evaluation at NCIRS. The role involves evaluating newly implemented immunisation programs in Australia, interviewing stakeholders and collating their feedback and making recommendations to the Australian Government’s Department of Health.
I’m married with two lovely daughters, Maryam and Tasneem. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with them at Parramatta Park.
MB BCh (Distinction), MPH, MHM, MIPH (Distinction), DCH,
PhD Fellow (UniSyd), Research Officer- Program Evaluation
Mohamed and colleagues of the Hajj research Team have founded an educational YouTube channel aiming to simplify research methods and terminology specifically to assist young Arab researchers - please see here (in Arabic).