by Ayooluwa Esther Imisi Olasupo
Effortlessly, I spewed with enthusiasm my passion for paediatrics to anyone who inquired about my area of interest in the medical profession. This was evidenced by the fascination I often experienced while reading and rotating through paediatrics postings in school and during internship.
Candidly, such fascination, I found rare amidst colleagues who considered child health a no-go-area for reasons though not occult yet not apparent enough to displace my passion. Also, I found ease passing paediatrics exams, being my second highest MBBS exam grade. Moreso, many of my mentors, are paediatricians at various levels of their careers, who contribute immensely to fueling my passion further.
I, however, realised there are more to child health than good grade and fascination, more lands to plough as an Early Career Researcher who longs to convert passion into possibilities. Therefore, I began to explore my research interest in paediatrics. It was then that I observed the role of social factors in child health.
I, however, realised more to child health than good grade and fascination, more lands to plough as an Early Career Researcher who longs to convert passion into possibilities.
Once, I watched a 9-year-old boy weep in an ignoramus manner by the side of his dead mother, who had just slumped at the height of a clash with her husband. My feet, stuck to the hospital floor, chills undulating within my hair follicles, I bled internally, wondering how such trauma could distort on a long-term basis the psychological state of the poor boy, whom I drew to myself, placating.
Another 6yr old boy suffered from nephrotic syndrome and malnutrition from poor parental care; his father, a street alcoholic, and mother separated from the father, with the future of this child dangling, begging for resuscitation in the incapacitated hands of a foster mother who couldn’t feed herself let alone procure drugs or afford good diet for him.
I bled internally, wondering how such trauma could distort on a long-term basis the psychological state of the poor boy, whom I drew to myself, placating.
I remember on a number of occasions, how I organised my colleagues to contribute money for him, and this became the motivation for my creation of a child welfare club, in which we visited him with foods and funds frequently at his foster mother’s house, situated in an area only higher in the hierarchy than a hamlet. Today, this club morphs into a child Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).
Studies reveal that about 8% of children suffer neuropsychological sequelae from tetanus and meningitis. About 63% of these are from low socio-economic status who had partial or no immunisation, whose mothers had no formal education, who presented at prayer houses rather than at the hospital at onset of symptoms, or who had no money to afford optimal care while on in-hospital admission.
With these, aren’t there much work to contribute positively to socio-economic factors affecting children’s health?
Thus, I find myself flipping the pages of paediatric health news/journals, local and international, from time to time, seeking ongoing researches in social paediatrics for updates. I believe with my quota, too, as I begin my research journey as a starter, intensively and proficiently, solutions will be proffered to better the health of children, especially from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Ayooluwa Esther Imisi Olasupo is an Early Career Doctor with prospects in social paediatrics, neonatology and paediatrics neurology. She’s an affiliate member of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Agency (WABA); a member of NARD Research Collaboration Network, Third cohort, who holds a certificate in Essentials of Global Health from Yale University. She’s the Executive Director of Fragrant Stars, a N.G.O. concerned with total child health. Currently a house officer at UNIOSUN Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Osun State. She serves as the Young Doctors Forum(YDF) Coordinator for Medical Women Association of Nigeria(MWAN) in Osun State. She also has a knack for poetry, speech writing, public speaking, medical journalism and creative non-fiction and she’s currently the secretary, ARD Editorial Committee at Uniosun Teaching Hospital.
Blog Editor: Oladimeji Adebayo