Originally from District Nushki, Balochistan but grown up in various different countries of the world, Dr. Noor Sabah Rakshani graduated from Bolan Medical College, Quetta and then completed her Masters and Doctorate in Public Health from John Hopkins University, USA. Having grown up and studied in such diverse countries taught her to keep an open mind because there is always something new to discover everywhere we go, it also helped her develop a sense of appreciation for other communities, societies, cultures and most importantly, cuisines. For Dr. Rakshani, cooking is like expressing her love for her family and friends through the attention and time that is committed in this endeavour; she loves experimenting, fusion-ing and mixing all different types cuisines and coming up with something unique and special.
It was around the age of around 15 that Noor Sabah read a book about a group of people referred to as “doctors without shoes”. The idea that someone who does not even have shoes to put on their feet can still bring about a change in their community inspired her to grow up to become something like them. It took her several years to realize that those doctors without shoes were actually public health professionals and so after her MBBS she decided to go into public health and has had a love affair with the field ever since.
The concept of the Vaccine Indicator and Reminder (VIR) band occurred to her, literally in a dream. This was during the time she was writing her thesis and was looking at data from Pakistan and the one thing that came up again and again was that the children who had a vaccination card were more likely to complete the course but too often cards get ripped or lost and the parents never come for the next appointment. And then in April of 2012, Noor Sabah Rakshani had the dream. She was standing next to a mother, putting a band around the ankle of her child and insisting that she should complete the vaccination of her baby. She woke up the next morning and thought further about the topic in context of her dream and wrote down a 2 paged concept about it. This was the concept she submitted to the Gates Foundation, got shortlisted from 9000 others and ultimately got selected in the final. Ever since then she has been working for maternal and child health in Pakistan.
For our young audience, Dr. Noor Sabah Rakshani quotes one of her professors who used to say, “Opportunity comes to the prepared mind, you never know when you are going to stumble upon but what one really knows is that it’s the passion of your work that forces you to think above and beyond and be committed to move things and bring change. You have to keep doing, you have to keep questioning what is currently in place and it is this attitude of critiquing things and being passionate about what you want to change, that can bring improvement and quality not only in your life but in others’ as well.”
– Mehreen Qayam