When asked about the event that defines who she is, Anita Zaidi (AZ to those who have the privilege of knowing her well) doesn’t talk about how she was recruited by Bill Gates himself to join his foundation, nor does she tell me about when she was nominated the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at AKU, or when she graduated at the top of her class in medical school. She instead tells me of how, after graduating from medical school, she spent a year in Gilgit working to improve the health facilities there.
“I always had the seeds of interest in research but this brought it all together. We live such a sheltered life in Pakistan and are not exposed to the problems of poor people. I stayed in Booni, where they had a Shigella epidemic that was traced to a chashma (stream). There was a Measles outbreak in the Waacaan corridor right next to the border and I had to stay there too. This was my calling.”
Knowing AZ, this wasn’t surprising, but what I really wanted to know was how her parents allowed her to go in the first place. “I don’t even remember asking my parents, I remember just telling them. We were an all girls family and our parents really wanted us to reach our full potential. If anything, they were always trying to slow me down because I worked all the time, studied all the time.”
Read more at the source: akuaana.org – Aga Khan University Alumni Association of North America
Previously on Ismailimail…
Mending Kids’ Hearts: Civil Society came together over a game of golf to support Aga Khan University