He steps on The Platform and we discussed his plans as the first Black African Pharmacy Student President.
ThankGod: Welcome on The Platform and Congratulations on your new appointment.
Isreal: Thank you, it's a pleasure to be here.
ThankGod: You have just been elected as the first black president of Pharmacy Students all over the world, an organization that has existed for over 62 years, how does that make you feel?
Isreal: It is such an honor to carry the Black African Pride up high, I mean, it's just the Rwandan spirit, all the way up is how we do everything. This is a huge responsibility for me; it requires a great amount of time and energy. All eyes are on me with mixed expectations, yet I have the passion for it and convinced the General Assembly of my capacity to do it. I now look forward to what all the Executive Committee I lead will be able to achieve.
ThankGod: Being elected as the first black president of Pharmacy Student all over the world, what is significant for you as an individual, and for Africa as a continent?
Isreal: More significant is the capacity that we have without considering the background, where a student from a prestigious University can lead, I can too, even better.
For Africa, this goes more to younger generations who look up to us, it’s to say that it's very possible and there is no mystery at all.
ThankGod: Can you tell us about yourself, who's Isreal Bimpe?
Isreal: Israel Bimpe is Rwandan, a recent graduate in Pharmacy, passionate about Global Health but keen to learn about anything, engaged in various initiatives since a very young age, mostly started with writing and blogging, then youth empowerment initiatives and now in mostly Global Health related initiative. Member of Global Shapers Community of the Kigali Hub.
ThankGod: No doubt you are well grounded with global health issues. What do you think is one of Africa's biggest health challenges and what ways do you think it can be addressed.
Isreal: It is health systems. I mean the root cause is the systems. If we could be able to establish and build a systematic, well organized health system in each country, everything else would be automatic. Universal Health Coverage is the way to go. It is a shame to have countries where mothers can't give birth in a hospital or health center that is in less than an hour travel. Very shameful that simple gastro intestinal infection takes days of travel for people to access treatment.
ThankGod: Hmmmm I feel your pain Bro. For clarification, Can you explain in simple terms what you mean by systems?
Isreal: Systems is simply putting the health facility where it is needed with health practitioners and materials & products ... Then Universal Health Coverage is making sure each individual can access this at convenience, very nearby.
ThankGod: What do you intend doing differently as the newly elected president, and any plans of promoting the SDGs using your office to make it work?
Isreal: On SDGs, I intend to tap into the untapped opportunity of collaborating with the UN through ECOSOC, I have a goal to achieve this by obtaining a consultative status of ECOSOC; we would then be able to attend events, panels and work on joint initiatives. We also have to further improve our engagement with WHO in this regard. ECOSOC stands for the Economic and Social Committee of the UN
ThankGod: Going by what you've achieved so far as a young person, what has been your motivation, what would you say facilitated your success to this point?
Isreal: I think it's the vision of being leading in global health. I see myself making policies at a global level. All I need then are learning experiences and platforms to influence.
ThankGod: What advice will you give to African governments towards advancing the health sector?
Isreal: It is really ridiculous how Health is so unrepresented in Most Budgets on the continent. Governments need to invest necessary resources to tighten up the Health Sector, educate and retain Health Professionals, build facilities and necessary equipment. It's all about will and prioritizing; everything else would be pretty much straightforward.
ThankGod: On a final note, what will be your advice to young people like you out there?
Isreal: Acquire knowledge, persevere, and increase your capacity as much as you can, do not settle for any private and small victories, aim higher. The Struggle is Constant and Success is guaranteed.
ThankGod: Thank you Isreal for stepping on The Platform.
Isreal: It's a pleasure doing this with you, thank you.
This interview was conducted by ThankGod Okorisha, All rights reserved, 5th September, 2016.