Dr. Abdullahi Musa
Armed with Ph.D. from Emporia State University, Dr. Musa hopes to help eradicate polio in Nigeria
Dr. Abdullahi Musa has big plans for his homeland of Nigeria and he credits Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Management (SLIM) with preparing him for his task.
Musa’s dissertation investigated the critical question of why people resist health information provided by government and international donor agencies. Nigeria is one only three countries in the world, Afghanistan and Pakistan being the other two, where polio is endemic.
“Specifically, I investigated the social and cultural reasons for resistance to polio immunization information in Kano, Nigeria,” he explained.
Polio is especially rampant in Kano, a state in Northern Nigeria, that is one of the last polio-endemic regions in the world. Musa said that many people avoid or ignore information about polio immunization.
The World Health Organization (WHO) joined with other organizations to help fight polio in Nigeria. The world’s wealthiest man and Microsoft creator, Bill Gates, has played a huge part, too. But many stories about harm brought about by previous drugs launched in the region have fueled fears among the people and threatened to reverse the large gains made.
“My dissertation argued that the more we know about why people ignore or avoid polio immunization information, the better equipped professionals will be to design information services that will appeal to diverse groups influencing them to accept the polio vaccines. If we understand why people resist polio immunization, professionals can design information services that will help overcome resistance.”
That methodology will continue over into Musa’s academic work and help with other areas of concern in his homeland. He continued work as a senior lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, one of the largest schools in Africa with more than 40,000 students, after graduating from Emporia State with his Ph.D. in December 2013.
“I will teach and mentor graduate students in the Department of Information Science and allied fields,” said Musa. “In this way, I hope to contribute to knowledge production on health information behaviors and to the training of a new breed of professionals who will design information services suitable for diverse communities in Nigeria.”
“The Ph.D. program at Emporia State University prepared me to be successful by allowing me the freedom to discover my research interests,” added Musa. “The Ph.D. at SLIM encouraged students to engage in informal discussions with professors during the initial years of their Ph.D. program. Through the informal discussions, students discovered faculty with similar research interests.”
Musa said he received proactive, individual attention from SLIM faculty, while also being encouraged to reach for new heights.
“My dissertation advisors pushed me beyond my limits, almost to the breaking point, while simultaneously acting as mentors and friends.”
As an international student from Nigeria, West African nation of more than 174 million people, Musa said he received a great deal of support from Emporia State.
“The Ph.D. at SLIM provided me with much-needed financial support in the form of scholarships, travel grants at conferences, and tuition support. In addition, the university offered several support services that are functional and helpful.
Musa lauded the technology services, the university library, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of International Education, and Career Services provided by Emporia State.
In 2014, Musa was promoted to chair of the Library and Information Science Department at Ahmadu Bello University where he oversaw more than 1,000 students and continued his work to fight resistance to polio immunization in Nigeria. Musa is working on papers to present to the Bulletin of World Health Organization and the British Medical Journal in regard to the fight against polio. On February 23, 2015, the governing body of his university elevated him to the position of interim deanfor the University Library Complex. The Library Complex has 107 professional librarians, 8 divisional libraries, and 75 satellite faculty and departmental libraries, while serving 40,000 students.