Her brother having a kidney transplant made Aneeqa Hussain determined to follow a career in healthcare.
The 23-year-old from Bradford worked hard, at one point going back to college for a year to secure the grades she needed in order to continue her university studies.
She graduated from her three-year long course in midwifery at the University of Bradford just before Christmas and has some poignant memories, among them an ‘elective placement’ in Tanzania, which she undertook as part of her course.
Volunteering oversees, organised in conjunction with Work The World, took place during her second year, in August 2019, and saw her visit the nation’s capital Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar during a two-week stay.
While there, she helped deliver six babies and even began to learn Swahili.
“From a young age I knew I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. When I was growing up, my younger brother needed a kidney transplant; I remember being around a lot of doctors and nurses at that time, so I think that’s where it comes from. One of my goals was to travel overseas. When I got the chance to do that, it was a real eye opener for me, especially being able to see the difference in healthcare and realising how privileged we are in this country.”
She says those differences were stark, with pregnant women often giving birth without medication.
“I was in awe. They managed with little analgesics and in some cases none at all. I witnessed nothing but bravery and patience from all those involved. It was a privilege to help bring those little bundles of joy into the world.”
But it wasn’t all work. While there, she had a chance to explore the local wildlife during a visit to Mikumi National Park.
Aneeqa has already delivered more 40 babies during her time with the university.
“I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity. I hope my story inspires other students to go on elective placements abroad, as it can be life-changing. I would love to work abroad when I qualify as a midwife, as experiences like this one are the key to moving forward in this ever-evolving society.
“The most important thing I learnt was to be present and enjoy every second because experiences like this happen once in a lifetime.”
Work The World specialises in creating overseas midwifery and other medical placements in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Founded in 2005 they have provided 17,000 placements in low-resource healthcare settings all over the world.
Their destinations provide eye-opening insight into the challenges associated with delivering healthcare in the developing world.
For more information visit www.worktheworld.co.uk