There are so many definitions of Public Health, But my most favorite definition is: the art and science of community health, concerned with statistics, epidemiology, hygiene, and the prevention and eradication of epidemic diseases; it is an effort organized by society to promote, protect, and restore the people’s health; public health is a social institution, a service, and a practice.
Growing up, I had all that a child could ask for, money, toys, and an impeccable pedigree, but most importantly, I had love and well loads of it and chocolates too. As a teenager, I had limited or no access to the less privileged and my love affair with helping them began 9 years ago in my 2nd year of Medical School. I came to Nigeria for my clinical attachment, a decision I am so thankful I made. During those 6 weeks, I was surprised with the wide spread of poverty in my community and so I had a choice then to either turn a blind eye to all the sufferings I saw in the period of my attachment, or stand up, forfeit a lot of luxury to enable me make a difference, a step that if I didn’t take would have haunted me for the rest of my life.
People come up and ask me: what is the story behind this passion you have? And most of them come thinking they will find some great story, maybe even of courage, bravery and miracles. But it isn’t so, because this is just a simple story of love, an undying love that a girl has for the less privileged, and an unending faith that she wants them to have in her and themselves.
In pediatrics, I learned that children aren’t small copies of adults; they are individuals growing up to become adults. So we owe it to our children to those tiny humans coming to this world to be the best role models. We shouldn’t tell them how to live, we should show them how to.
Years ago I began a journey, and now, 8years later family and friends are officially joining me on this cause that is so dear to my heart. And I for one, am insanely happy for this. The future is now, so let us stand together, enrich lives and make an everlasting difference. I believe if we all can love with all that we have, then all we must do is hanging there, and wait for our time, and when our time finally comes, our dream will be more real than ourselves.
Setting up this NGO is one of the many steps towards this great journey. But this is bigger than me, because to me the chance to save lives, is an opportunity of a life time.
Today, as always, I am humbled before God asking Him for protection against every evil that shall fight against each one of us in doing any good to our people.
Halimah Sanda MD, MPH, FRSPH