Aiding Women's Health In Pakistan
Even in writing, Naila Ijaz '14 exudes energy when discussing her summer internship with Fazl-e-Omar Hospital in Rabwah, Pakistan.“It's amazing and I am really loving it,” the rising Haverford junior writes in an email,“I love working with women and that is what I am doing.”
Ijaz received funding from Haverford's Center for Peace and Global Citizenship to spend five weeks as a volunteer in the Obstetrics and Gynocology wing of Fazl-e-Omar Hospital, privately owned Muslim community hospital. She has spent much of her time talking with female patients about proper health and care during pregnancy, educating them on everything from diet to pregnancy myths common in Pakistan. The chemistry major also has spent time shadowing doctors and nurses in the clinic, labor ward and post-op ward. She even provided computer training to the nursing staff.
While working at the hospital, Ijaz, who plans to pursue a career in medicine, has seen a wide range of patients come through the door,“The hospital is run in a way that the poor can get access to healthcare at no or little cost.” This means that sometimes the doctors and nurses, who work on a volunteer basis, can see up to 100 patients in a day, according to Ijaz.
Even though the hospital is busy, Ijaz has found a few moments that stir her ambition to provide healthcare to the underserved.“I helped a patient throughout her time in labor by massaging her back and giving her general support, and after she had a son she gave me a box of sweets to thank me especially,” Ijaz says. Though she felt as if she had done little to help the woman through labor, those brief moments of appreciation will influence what kind of doctor she will become.“Just adding a little bit of effort to get to know the patient, [to] be nice and caring, leaves an imprint on the patient's heart forever,” Ijaz says.
â€”Erin Adaline Seglem '14