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My mum’s passion to help people inspired me to read medicine – Dr Halimatu

Dr Halimatu Sa’adiya Nasir is a medical doctor. She is a fresh graduate from Ahfad University for Women in Sudan. In this interview, the 21-year-old…

Dr Halimatu Sa’adiya Nasir is a medical doctor. She is a fresh graduate from Ahfad University for Women in Sudan. In this interview, the 21-year-old doctor from Ikabigbo, Uzairue in Estako West Local Government, Edo State shares her story.


Why did you choose to study medicine?

My mother inspired me to study medicine. She is a nurse and while growing up, I always fancied and watched her doing her best in handling patients efficiently and effectively. The way she treated patients was my biggest motivation. I am also someone that loves taking care of people especially in difficult situations. And while I was in school, Biology happened to be my favourite subject too. All these spurred me into the medical field. So, my mum was my biggest inspiration to study medicine.

You graduated at 21, how did you achieve that feat?

I started nursery school at an early age of two years five months and six days, I was told. I was admitted into primary one and at the age of eight, I was admitted into JSS1 and I graduated from SS3 at 14. That same year, I got admission into Ahfad University for Women in OmDurman in Sudan to study medicine for six years with a compulsory one year to learn their language.  I would have graduated at 20, if not for the one-year compulsory Sudan language learning. I achieved this feat with the encouragement I got from my parents.

How would you describe the health system of Nigeria compared to that of Sudan?

Both Sudan and Nigeria have excellent health systems but with room for improvements. The medical professionals in Sudan are excellently trained and perform much better than their peers in first world countries.

Why did you prefer to study in Sudan instead?

I had actually wanted to study medicine in University of Benin, in my home state (Edo), but my age was against that option as the rule in Nigeria stipulates that I had to be up to 16 years. As an alternative, I was offered Crops Science. So, I had to go to where I would be accepted to read medicine because I didn’t want to waste time.

As a young doctor, what is your target?

My target is to be a better doctor than I am today. Also, I want to be someone who has touched many lives positively as well as be on top of my profession.

Do you think that Nigeria’s health system can compete with its peers?

Yes, definitely, we can. The challenges and difficulties posed by our health system have given Nigerian doctors a rare form of determination, expertise and experience that is not comparable to their peers anywhere in the world. That is why foreign countries are recruiting Nigerian doctors. They know vividly that Nigerians always perform better wherever we are and whatever conditions.

What was your study experience in Sudan?

I had a wonderful time back there. I had the privilege of being exposed to a different type of people, culture, mentality among others. We had excellent professionals who gave us their all to make sure we become great doctors. Truly, I owe it to them. I enjoyed every bit of my time there while studying hard for my MBBS degree.

One thing I would love for Nigeria to emulate is the ease with which people are able to study medicine in Sudan. For Sudan, there are no age and admission restrictions. As long as you are academically qualified, you would be given the opportunity. For this reason, the ratio of patients to a doctor in Sudan is better than that of Nigeria and the effects of the exit of some doctors in Sudan is not felt like in Nigeria.

How are you going to use your profession as a medical doctor to help women?

Well, women are gravely lacking when it comes to sound health education and implementation regarding themselves and their children. That is the area I would love to focus on because it would have an impact on the less privileged and vulnerable individuals. 

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