IHAC: Interview With Tawakalt Baruwa, Chairperson

MediVoice: Could you please introduce yourself?

POTW: I’m Tawakalt Baruwa. I’m in 600level. I’m the current Chairperson of IHAC.

MediVoice: Could you provide a brief overview of IHAC?

POTW: IHAC, the acronym for IFUMSA Health Awareness Club is one of the Organs of IFUMSA (Ife University Medical Students’Association) Ile-Ife, Osun State Nigeria.

It is a platform and a veritable avenue for creating health awareness among the populace and a means of contributing our quota via our various programs and outreaches to  indispensable health need even as students, using creative approaches.

Some of our programs include:

1. Publications and Health blog.

2. Secondary School Outreaches.

3. Radio Programs.

4. Training and Capacity development.

5. Regular Campus Outreaches/Rally.

6. Community Outreaches, e.t.c

MediVoice: Could you also briefly describe how you became involved with IHAC?

POTW: I became a member of the club when I was in 100level. There was a particular audio BC I came across which was about lassa fever, it’s prevention and all. I was intrigued by this and it made me determined to join the club. Forms were out later in the year and I signed up to become a member of the club.

MediVoice: What aspect of your club do you particularly appreciate?

POTW: Honestly, I don’t think I have a particular aspect I particularly appreciate. I appreciate every aspect of all the activities in IHAC but I might be biased towards outreaches. The joy and happiness seen on people after a health talk or free medical checkup is unmatched.

MediVoice: Regarding appointment into office, how was the electoral process? And how do you manage the responsibilities of leading the club alongside your commitments to Medical school and personal life?

POTW: The election process was a good one; a free and fair election conducted by IFUMSA Electoral Committee. I was nominated by members of the club and club members voted for me.

It’s not easy, to be honest. But IHAC has always been a part of my medical school journey. Right from 100level up to now. One thing that keeps me going as regards leading the club has to be the passion I have for the club and the importance of giving back to the community, which is what we stand for.

MediVoice: What are your objectives for the club this year, and do you have any initiatives planned for IFUMSA members beyond your club?

POTW: There are a lot of activities planned for the year; some of which have already been ticked. However, other objectives include reaching out to a neighboring community later in the year, radio programs, to mention a few.

MediVoice: Did you ever envision yourself in a leadership role within the club?

POTW: Yes, I did.

MediVoice: How has funding for IHAC events been? And what strategies do you employ to address any financial constraints?

POTW: Funding has been a major challenge for the club considering  the number of events we have every year. We go for community outreaches, market, school outreaches and all and all of the services we provide for the people are usually free of charge, ranging from medical checkups, to day case surgeries, to drugs, e.t.c.

To address financial constraints, we pay out of pocket through payment of annual dues. At times we task members of the club to raise funds whenever we have outreaches. We sometimes call for sponsorships and partnerships too.

MediVoice: What has been your most fulfilling moment thus far as the chairperson of IHAC?

POTW: One of the most fulfilling experience so far has been how consistent the club has been with our info-graphics. I feel we are expanding our target audience and this is one of the goals of the club – to reach a large audience .

MediVoice: Could you discuss some of the major challenges you’ve encountered?

POTW: The major challenge remains funding.

MediVoice: What advice would you offer to IFUMSA members aspiring to join the club in the future?

POTW: If you’re aspiring to join the club, I’d say that you’re about to make a very nice decision because the club has a lot to offer! Don’t sleep on it.

MediVoice: Any message you’d like to convey to MediVoice and its audience?

POTW: Thank you for the opportunity. It has been an honour and keep up the good work.

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