Indian student Sai is founder and president of the British International Doctors’ Association (BIDA) Student Wing, an organisation that represents international medical students in the United Kingdom.
A few years ago, when my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, I became very involved in her care. Her struggle with a life-threatening disease inspired me as I realised that the health of the family matriarch has a much wider impact as she is regarded as nerve centre of the family in the subcontinent of India.
I then learnt that breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in India and there is a lack of awareness and absence of an organised screening programme. This left an indelible impact on me and inspired me to take up a career in medicine so that I can give back to the community and reach out to those who are less privileged than me.
This is one of the reasons why, during my gap year after high school, I shadowed a world-renowned breast specialist, and helped his charitable foundation design the world’s first mobile app on breast healthcare available in English and 11 regional Indian Languages.
Launched in 2017, this app provides the much-needed awareness about every aspect of breast health (including breast cancer) in a simple, easy to understand format. Most people in India have a mobile phone and therefore the content of the mobile app in 11 commonly spoken regional languages has ensured that the information relating to breast health is accessed by women in rural India, where 70% of the population reside. I intend to continue undertaking initiatives to help the community, and hopefully, make an even greater impact as a qualified doctor in future.
I initially got involved with British International Doctors’ Association (BIDA) soon after I arrived in the United Kingdom to study medicine at UCLan. It felt like a natural step, considering I was a medical student from India. We plan to address academic and cultural challenges international students experience in the UK.