Everyone, no matter where they are born, deserves to be healthy. Dr. Alyssa Shariff, two-year volunteer with World Partnership Walk in Regina, lives by this statement. Today, she is a General Internal Medicine Physician with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
During medical school, Alyssa pursued her interests in obstetric medicine, and now splits her time between teaching and practicing in this field. For her, patients in this area of medicine are the most complex but also the most fulfilling to help. As a volunteer with the Walk, Alyssa is also supporting maternal health overseas.
For women in developing countries, gaps in the health system often unfairly affect women, adolescents, and young children. These gaps are made worse by gender inequalities and other social barriers that prevent millions from getting prompt, quality care.
“I have been lucky enough to always be encouraged and supported, never singled out or held back because I am a woman,” says Alyssa. “I was encouraged to continue learning sciences and apply to medical school. Everyone deserves to pursue their passions and interests, academically or otherwise.”
Having grown up in Tanzania, Alyssa’s parents went to Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) schools, and her brother was born at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam. “I want to be able to help others to have those same opportunities,” says Alyssa. Volunteering has proven an excellent outlet for Alyssa to support AKDN initiatives that her own family has participated in.
Supporting the Walk team in Regina is inspired by her father’s own volunteering: “Over the years, my dad has become more involved in the Walk. He volunteers more as he gets older, which has made me realize that you can always find the time and energy to be involved.”