Charismatic yet stunning Dr. Nirvadha Singh talks to SouLSteer on leading the change at the world health platform
- Birth Date: 8 May 1979
- Residence: Durban, South Africa
- Occupation: Public Health Medicine Specialist and Humanitarian
- Briefly describe your profession?
Highly challenging, involves strategic and operational planning, but very exciting.
- What attracted you to this position?
As a medical doctor treating patients, I could only treat one patient at a time, with public health I can make a difference to millions of lives by improving the healthcare system and environment.
- What technical knowledge do you bring to this position related to the duties of the public specialist?
Health Analytics, Health Research, Health Economics, Human Resources, Healthcare Management, Corporate Governance, Disaster Management, Health Informatics, the list goes on…
- What is modern public health according to you?
Addressing the current global public health issues in a creative way, to find creative and innovative solutions
- Tell us about your creative approach in Public Health?
To find creative and innovative solutions modified to that particular environment, and integrated with every system, to form a holistic approach.
- Tell us about a time you failed at a project or a task?
I have never failed at a project.
- What are your views about Public health in India?
I think India is one of the most beautiful and dynamic countries and is capable of phenomenal economic growth, but must realise that its power lies within its people.
- What do you think are the top three Public health issues in India? Why?
I think it would be Infant mortality from malnutrition, Communicable diseases from diseases such as HIV and Tuberculosis, Water and Sanitation hygiene, which are public health issues that most developing countries experience including South Africa, due to its poor socio-economic reforms.
- Tell us about your peace programmes?
Introducing peace education to hospitals, clinics, orphanages, schools, prisons, on radio shows and now introducing the concept of peace into music.
- Do you have any connection with India?
My ancestors were from India, my late father’s family from Jaipur.
- Have you had any international experience?
I have been to Ethiopia (April 2012) and presented a paper at the World Congress on disaster management. It was really well received and I found that the Ethiopians were highly enthusiastic to learn and embrace new ideas. I had also been to India, Rajasthan (September 2013) where I had presented on Peace as a Public Health Genesis where for the first time in the world, the concept of peace and public health merged. This idea was warmly welcomed by the World Peace Conference which included national and international delegates from every sphere of the world. It was there that I was conferred the title of Ambassador of World Peace (Shantidoot).
- Walk us through a significant project (research or other) that you carried out.
I was the public health advisor to our Department of Health in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer in disaster management. My research was ultimately on the hospitals’ and city’s preparedness for the World Cup Soccer. It was a very challenging task especially as a female; I had to work with military officers which were predominantly male. Apart from being a female, I am petite so my age is always confused. During the World Cup Soccer meetings, the generals and majors used to wait for Dr Singh to enter the room for HIS presentation until someone alerted them that Dr Singh is a SHE and she was already in the room. I actually found this moment very light hearted, but as the planning progressed, I was afforded the highest respect from our South African army.
- What public health programs you have favoured?
In South Africa, the 10 point plan of the Health Sector which is aimed at creating a well-functioning health system capable of producing improved health outcomes.
- Describe your style of supervising others.
It is an open door approach.
- What are your greatest strengths? What is your weakness?
My strengths lie in working under pressure I tend to adapt to the environment. My weakness is that I am emotional about certain issues such as poverty and violence especially female and child abuse.
- What did you enjoy most about your last job?
Most enjoyed: The ability to relate to every human being across the world, regardless of race, religion, tribe, caste, gender, physical, mental and socio-economic status.
Least enjoyed: Sill trying to change the definition of health as I believe that health is not only a state of physical, mental and social well-being, but also an individual’s spiritual well-being.
- What motivates you?
My creator is my motivator and inspiration.
- Who is your role model, and why?
My mom is my role model as she had to raise three children (my two brothers and myself) single handed post my dad’s death. She became our mother, father, teacher, cook, driver, counsellor, doctor and pillar of strength. My mom is proof that if a woman can handle a household, she can lead a nation.
- What are your expectations from India being a public health specialist?
One can seek assistance and consultancy abroad, but for sustainability of any program I strongly feel that Indians must, with all the knowledge acquired, provide Indian solutions for Indian problems by Indians modified for India. This would hold true for most countries, especially developing countries.
- Tell us about your family?
My family is my pillar of strength. However they choose not to be in media so I have respected them on their decision.
- Your work arena also includes being a columnist, motivational speaker, poet, and author. Please tell us something about each of them?
A columnist for a few magazines, one which had included the The Satyagraha by the Gandhi Development Trust were I was requested by Ela Gandhi (the late Mahatma Gandhi ji’s granddaughter) to write on healthcare and peace. When I lecture or deliver my seminars on healthcare, I always focus on the inner self, to inspire the individual into a more positive mind-set; a healthy body does beget a health mind. Poet and author, well I have written a few musical lyrics for artists and poems for plays. I am currently engaged in writing three books.
- Your significant achievements?
Introducing the concept of Peace into healthcare globally; and now introducing healthcare into music.
FAST TRACK QUESTIONS
- How would you describe yourself in three words?
It would be the three A’s; Abstract, Analytical and Ambitious.
- What kind of people do you dislike?
I don’t dislike people, but I dislike disloyalty and dishonesty.
- What is your dream job?
I am in my dream job.
- What is your favourite colour?
I have three; black, blue and pink.
- What makes you angry?
When simple issues of the world are made complicated by complicated solutions which are not in the benefit for majority.
- What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Fruits, milk, yoghurt and mineral water.
- What is the last book you read?
My own diary as I am currently writing my book.
- If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional with whom would it be?
Sherpa Tenzing who was one of the first men to climb Mount Everest. A simple man who reached great heights both literally and figuratively has proven that every person can reach their dream.
- What was the last movie you went to see?
Mandela; Long Walk To Freedom.
- What is your favourite movie (song)?
I don’t have any favourite, I like all types of music.
- How would you explain public health in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew?
Preventing creepy crawly germs and bugs from entering your body by simple hand-washing. Eating the right foods to stay healthy and fit. If there is an emergency, you must memorise important safety numbers.
- If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?
The position I would want is to be the Galaxy Peace Ambassador, for if many species of aliens as a population can unite, so too can humankind unite regardless of their race or religion.
- If you could be any character in fiction who would you be?
The captain of the enterprise ship on Star Trek going where no man has been before.
- If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Diaries of a Doctor
- One message to SouLSteer Fraternity?
Reach for the skies, and you shall touch the stars for once you believe, you can achieve.