The Day of the Girl Child took me back to my days as a girl when being a doctor wasn’t realistic
Earlier this week, Nigeria joined the rest of the world in celebrating the Day of the Girl Child under the theme Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls.
According to the United Nations’ official statement on the day, while we can applaud the ambition and potential of the SDGs for girls, and recognize how girls’ progress is good not only for girls, but also for families, communities and society at large, we must also take this opportunity to consider how existing gaps in data on girls and young women, lack of systematic analysis, and limited use of existing data significantly limit our ability to monitor and communicate the wellbeing and progress of half of humanity.
I believe that the popular saying “Don’t allow anyone to look down on you” is easier said than done. As a young girl yet to know left from right, there are so many factors determining success in life – socio-economic status of the parent, state of the family – broken or united, siblings, our health, and every other thing surrounding us.
As the eldest child of a primary school teacher, I found myself wondering what my life would eventually become. I cannot say I had any profession in mind initially, I just had one thing that kept me going – watching the way we struggled to make ends meet every day. That was the source of my inspiration.
Some girls as they grow up, they start to develop hatred for their parents wishing they had better parent, especially when they see their colleagues well taken care of, alighting from the best cars every day, eating the best of the food, talking about the latest films or actors while they have no access to television talk less of DSTV and the likes; that’s even if they live in an area with electricity.
Girls can be easily influenced and discourage because we all always want beautiful things – fashionable clothes, best of make ups, nice shoes and bags, most times not waiting for our time. We have our lives in our hands and we can choose to focus on the problem or work hard on the solution.
In my case, I did not allow my low estate to determine my future. I can relate with you. As a daughter of a teacher, at least I will be qualified for NCE, so you think I’m even in a better position, but I don’t want to start from where my mummy started from and mind you with the picture I’ve painted you already assumed I will surely attend public primary and secondary school, you are right, though this is not an excuse not to pass examinations- WAEC, JAMB, etc.
I was fortunate to gain admission into the school of hygiene to study community health extension workers course where I gained insight into the medical profession and I determined right there and then that I was going to do all I could to be a doctor.
I strongly believe that you can be anything you want if you believe in yourself. Don’t be sarcastic, I thought I was too ambitious too, but I kept on dreaming. During hospital rotations (postings), I saw medical students every day and I believed in myself that if I had the opportunity to be get their training, I could compete and be better. That was another level of motivation and believing but for someone of my cadre, it was a dream. Firstly where would I get the score that will give me the admission? Secondly where will I get the money? Furthermore who do I know?
As a girl some things come naturally no matter your status. Guys will disturb you, some adults will take advantage of you. If you are from a broken home you are more prone to assaults, you are most likely going to be free with less supervision and your freedom will be used against you. It is left to you to use the opportunity wisely.
A Study showed that parental absence not only has economic disadvantage but also psychological instability, meaning aside the lack of money, you might not still fit into the society.
Education in this generation, as it is an integral part of life, is also a privilege. Level of poverty is a stronghold in this part of the world and we cannot all deny that some want to go to school but there’s no help. I struggled so much not only on how to get medicine-befitting scores but also on how to get the money to sponsor all the examinations I had to write not to mention school fees. But all things worked together for my good and today, I am a doctor.
What are your limitations, how do you see them? Whatever it is can be an instrument to open doors or to destruction, all you need is to change your orientation and look for help in the right places. Those of us that have parents that are ready to give us all we need, let’s maximize the opportunity and become people we will love to relate with and don’t forget to help a friend.
Let’s embrace our right to education, protection from discrimination, higher paying jobs, access to medical care and good nutrition, and say no to violence against women and child marriage. Dear girl, you can be a doctor.
For more information, drop a comment below or contact Dr Vickie at firstname.lastname@example.org. This piece is in line with HealthNewsNG Foundation – an initiative aimed at enlightening and educating Nigerians on health issues affecting them. To partner with us or to know more about the initiative, send an email to email@example.com