I’m a fifth-year pharmacy student at the Pharmaceutical faculty in University of Belgrade, Serbia. Since the beginning of my studies, I have been actively engaged in our students’ organizations on local and national levels.
As a volunteer at these NGOs, I’ve organized bilateral students’ exchanges and educational projects on various healthcare topics. I was a national representative at the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation and currently, I hold the position of president at the National Association of Pharmacy Students – Serbia. Within this competition, I represent the NAPSer team, a team of eight hard-working people who made the digital entry that has been selected to the top 10.
What inspired you to enter the World NTD Day Story telling competition?
As we live in Serbia, a country situated at the crossroads of Central and South-east Europe, we are not exposed to NTDs within our borders. As much as we are pharmacy students, NTDs are not properly covered by our curricula. Entering the World NTD Storytelling competition was an opportunity for us to educate ourselves more about the diseases and try to make a digital with the strong impression which we could use later on and support our colleagues, as well as whole nations, who are fighting on daily basis, but also to raise awareness within our people as well. This competition allowed us to learn more, to discover, to show our creativity and teamwork.
Why does fighting NTDs matter to you?
We, as future pharmacists, are first in line to help our patients get adequate information on how to protect themselves from NTDs, but also on how to get the most effective treatment. In Serbia we. might not fight NTDs daily, but our people travel to NTD endemic countries. As healthcare professionals, we need to be fully educated and able to transfer knowledge to people who come to our pharmacies before their travels.
Our patients need to be aware of possible enemies, as well as, how to prevent themselves from contracting these diseases. Fighting NTDs is important for us as humans because these diseases cause substantial illness for more than one billion people globally mostly affecting the world’s poorest people. We want to join the global fight, and end the neglect on NTDs.
How do you intend on continuing the fight against NTDs after this competition?
After this competition, we will organize an online campaign using our digital poster and spread it through all our social media profiles in collaboration with other students’ associations and healthcare organizations, as well as pharmaceutical faculties. If COVID-19 gets under control and conditions allow travel, we would make public health campaigns on-site in several cities in Serbia to spread awareness on NTDs.
What would be your request to your country’s leaders regarding fighting NTDs?
We would make an official letter advocating for NTDs on behalf of all pharmacy students in our country to our Pharmaceutical chamber. This letter would be an invitation to leaders in our country to start informing the general public about key issues concerning NTDs, but also to start collecting donations for countries affected by these strong, but neglected enemies.