Pat Ashinze, an Igbo-Yoruba hybrid, is currently a final year medical student at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. Pat is knowledge-driven and writes within the gamut of poetry, prose, essays and aphorisms.
His work has been published on local, intermediate and international platforms, magazines and journals, bagging him accolades and reverence as a creative within and without his varsity environs. As a 21st century medic, and strategic youth leader, Pat has been fellowshipped and enmembered by merit into regnant leadership, educational and management circles. Pat sees himself as a bridger of knowledge gaps.
What inspired you to enter the World NTD Day Story telling competition?
I drew my inspiration for participating in the storytelling competition from the very fact that this is the first of its kind. In addition, I entered the contest in the spirit of raising awareness concerning neglected tropical diseases and by extension, contributing my perceptive quota to what’s on ground.
Why does fighting NTDs matter to you?
Fighting NTDs matters a lot to me because it’s basically an affliction of the poor. Fighting NTDs is an apt and timely responsibility that rests heavily on sheer altruism from concerned quarters like myself and reaching out to the diseased who cannot access care. Fighting NTDs matters a lot to me because as an African, I have been made to understand and experience the reality that my continent is the hotspot for the majority of the neglected tropical diseases. Therefore, fighting these diseases is a call to continental patriotism and a form of salutatory obeisance in the spirit of true Pan-Africanism.
How do you intend on continuing the fight against NTDs after this competition?
I intend to continue the fight against NTDs after this noble competition by partnering with agencies and initiatives that are poised to defeating the scourge of these dehumanising diseases, improving the socioeconomic backgrounds of the affected, alleviating the disease conditions via treatment and rehabilitation and finally driving a large number into eradication.
More importantly, I intend to start a non-governmental health organisation/initiative whose core aim(s) would be to address the impact of neglected tropical diseases in Nigeria and by extension, Africa while also raising awareness amongst rural and urban communities and simultaneously involving the government and parastatals in the entire equation.
What would be your request to your country’s leaders regarding fighting NTDs?
My requests are simply three, namely:
- The expression of political will in the fight against NTDs from the lowest rung of leadership to the zenith echelon with a considerable deposition of funding and budgeting so as to quell any uprising or hidden constraints.
- The involvement of seasoned and dedicated policy makers, stakeholders, academicians, clinicians and other important human resources in the management and organizational layout of the national fight against NTDs.
- The launching of a massive nationwide health education campaign whose aim would be to sensitize the rural and urban human demography about neglected tropical diseases, demonstrate and encourage prompt health-seeking behaviour and practically provide primary health care facilities with the basic amenities to manage and take care of a wide range of neglected tropical diseases.