Humans of the Wheatbelt – ​Babu Sajjad

Humans of the Wheatbelt is an initiative run by the Wheatbelt Health Network.
Humans of the Wheatbelt is an initiative run by the Wheatbelt Health Network.

I came from India to pursue my Masters in Health Economics and Policy. I'm a dentist by trade but I really wanted to pursue a career in public health.

I moved to WA from Adelaide after finishing my studies.

The first time I was in Northam it was the start of winter - it looked so dry and I was worried about what I had got myself into. But then came the rain and all the fields looked so green and beautiful. I love working here and the people I work with.

People here have been welcoming and made me feel so comfortable. It now feels like home.

I manage a program called ITC and it's aim is to assist Aboriginal and Torres Straight islanders diagnosed with a chronic disease. Chronic disease is defined as anything that likely to last more than 6 months such as diabetes, hypertension, heart issues or renal problems.

There are so many medical and social barriers that prevent country clients from accessing services. Usually one issue can lead to another one and ultimately leads to poor health outcomes. ITC aims to address these barriers by working alongside patients and providing some financial support, transporting people, and linking patients to other services such as NDIS, My Aged Care etc. Our ultimate goal is for clients to self-manage.

I moved into public health because, you can make more impact by formulating good policies than working on patient by patient basis.

We need progressive policies to be formulated that works together with our clinicians & non-clinicians.

In 5 years I want to manage more public health programs, take up more responsibility, work with funding bodies, and create a positive impact on policies.

On personal front, I would like to add a member to the growing world population and focus on getting fitter/healthy.

"Be good to yourself, be good to others, and be good to the environment"

Human - Babu Sajjad

Interviewer & Photographer - Sam Connor