A Public Health Expert Striving Hard to Serve the People from Northeast India - Dr. Ridima Kamal
Welcome to another section of DocScopy, let us walk through the life and professional journey of Dr. Ridima Kamal. MedBound Times was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to have a candid conversation with a Project Coordinator working hard to serve one of the overlooked populations of India.
The conversation between Dr. Amey Patil from MedBound Times and Dr. Ridima Kamal gives us an insight into various aspects of Dr. Kamal's life. We dive deep into her professional journey, the experiences and challenges she faces while working in the Northeast, her passion for public health, and much more!
Dr. Amey: Ma'am, What are you currently working as?
Dr. Kamal: I am currently employed as the Project Coordinator - North East Operations with Aarogya Seva: Global Health Volunteer Alliance.
Dr. Amey: Tell us something about your life and professional journey
Dr. Kamal: I completed my graduation i.e BDS in the year 2020 and further pursued MPH in the same year i.e 2020 and completed in 2022. During my post-graduation convocation, I was awarded the reputed Baljit Shashtri Award for Best in human and traditional values by Amity University Noida. Along with certain other accolades, I was honored with the International Inspirational Women Award by the GISR Foundation and the Sashakt Naari Samman by the Mentor & Mascot Film Federation in 2021.
Dr. Amey: That's amazing, Ma'am. Why did you choose this career path? (Both BDS and MPH)
The answer to this question is philosophical, although I wish I knew one reason for it. Throughout our lives, we experience pain, sorrow, grief, helplessness, and impatience, and help is not available to everyone. I have never seen public health as a degree but rather as a lifestyle, a way of loving so many lives in one body and sincerely paving the way for others to follow. Less heroic, but more human.
Dr. Ridima Kamal, BDS, MPH
Dr. Amey: How has your experience been working in the North East? What healthcare challenges do people from the North East specifically go through?
Dr. Kamal: Relocating to the North East has certainly been a difficult decision due to the less connectivity, cultural and lifestyle differences but it indeed has been a rewarding experience altogether. As a result of remote and poorly populated areas, high tobacco consumption,lack of screening facilities, shortage of skilled human resources, and shortage of public health experts in health care administration, people do not have access to healthcare facilities in Northeast India. Cancer and HIV prevalence is arising.
Dr. Ridima Kamal, BDS, MPH
Dr. Amey: What is your passion(s) in the field of Public Health?
Dr. Kamal: I had always wanted to pursue something that would enable me to give back to the community. Since a young age, I have been an empathetic, loving person, and kind despite the harsh realities of life.
I got motivated to pursue this field of public health because of the many similarities that exist between the healing process and public health. Neither is perfect and both required adjustment, changes, and alteration. It is important to know the needs of the community, and it should be an individual or a community approach. I assume that we are never going to achieve better health outcomes until we’re talking about the needs of all people who will access those health services.
As a Noble profession, Public health tells you that the world might not be a place where your wishes come true, but it is a place where the pain is healed.
Dr. Ridima Kamal, BDS, MPH
Dr. Amey: I noticed traveling is a big part of your job. How do you feel about traveling? Any experiences you can share?
Dr. Kamal: I just don’t like to travel for work. For me, traveling is rejuvenating. It uplifts my spirits, improves my sleep, reduces stress, and, in short, improves me. I see the world from a different perspective and even have a distinguished vision of life. Traveling helps you think through a broader perception.
Dr. Amey: Tell us some interesting clinical or career-related cases/situations/events that have left an impression on you. Or some unforgettable cases/events/incidences.
Dr. Kamal: Yes, there are many. I met a small boy in Majuli who was suffering from a fever, and that was my personal favorite. I checked him and gave him medicine. As a token of love, his mother prepared a meal for me and came to thank me at 5 AM.
Dr. Amey: Any incidents that you feel could have been done in a better way? (something that left you disappointed or less than satisfied)
Dr. Kamal: Bringing innovative solutions to public health issues presenting themselves in the community is our goal as a community of public health enthusiasts. Our country needs evidence-based information about public health issues, and the general public is unaware of the available interventions. A public health revolution strives to create abetter future without looking back. I am often asked what Public Health is all about.
India lags behind other countries in Public Health. I am honored to be able to teach literature and health rights to the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of our community and contribute to the betterment of society.
Dr. Amey: What is your take on the decision of imparting medical education in regional languages?
Dr. Kamal: Medical education is the real need of the hour, and the purpose should not just be training doctors but also the staff nurses, paramedical staff, and even hospital staff.
Local languages should be preferred as these people would be the direct point of contact, and hence, a patient would feel more at ease and comfortable sharing his problems in the regional languages.
Dr. Amey: Your message for budding doctors? (Both dentists and public health students)
Dr. Kamal: It took me a while to realize that raising your voice is better than suppressing it and not bringing it up in public. Listen to your calling and say it out loud.
Dr. Amey: Your goals in the next 2-3 years?
Dr. Kamal: I am to build a robust Community of Practice where people can share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic and who come together to fulfill both individual and group goals. I am starting with baby steps and making people aware of the concept of public health and its significance.
Also, we are researching the rights governmentt provided to all of us, we probably never get to know about them! We will be encouraging rural people to know about it and implement and ask.
Dr. Ridima Kamal, BDS, MPH
Dr. Amey: Your passions?
Dr. Kamal: I write, and published my own poetry book a few years ago. I am an independent writer, and I keep publishing articles. My second book is also under process and will be completed by the end of this week.
Dr. Amey: What do you like to do in your free time?
Dr. Kamal: I roam around, meet new people, try new things, and meet small kids in the nearby areas.
Dr. Amey: Best/memorable moment? (both career and personal if can share)
Dr. Kamal: Becoming a full-time public health professional, despite a lot of apprehensions and arguments, and not regretting my decision even a bit, and living a happy and satisfied life is the most memorable moment in my life.
Dr. Amey: If your life was a movie, what would you name it?
Dr. Kamal: The Unread Pages of my diary
Dr. Amey: What do you hate the most or what triggers you?
Dr. Kamal: It is advisable to treat every being on this planet kindly, warmly, and affectionately. Misbehaves and inappropriate behavior towards anyone is a trigger warning.
Dr. Amey: What would you be doing if you were not a doctor/public health practitioner?
Dr. Kamal: I have been a journalist, for sure. Probably, a travel journalist
Dr. Amey: Finally a message for society
Dr. Kamal: The best thing about life is to have one. Live it as much as you can, but be kind. Act of humanity, in any way possible, is appreciated. Every person is beautiful at heart, we should utilize that beauty.