Tell us about your story, how was life growing up?
I am called Arielle Ahouansou, a young girl in her twenties and a Medical Doctor from Benin. I grew up in a masculine environment. I had only brothers and that kind of environment conditioned my way of thinking and my way of doing things.
While growing I moved from one place to the other because of the nature of my dad’s work, we moved from city to city. This lifestyle taught me how to adapt to change.
At a point in time, people called me a ‘tomboy’ because I was always in the company of male friends, and I, therefore, developed the character of being agitated. It created in me a certain determination for everything I do.
I also have a dad that has been a great support to me in terms of encouragement, and inspiration. He is one of the first people to have believed in me, therefore I think I don’t have the right to give up.
Why did you go into medicine?
Since I grew in a masculine environment you wouldn’t see me playing with Barbie dolls because I didn’t have any girlfriend or sister to play with. But rather I played with toys, you would find me dismounting radio parts, I had a passion for dismounting electronics, I wanted to find out how it was constructed because of my spirit of curiosity which pushed me to question everything in my environment.
At a time in life, I lived with my grandmother, I was very close to her, but one day she passed away when I was still young, at the age of 7. So we went to the mortuary house, that day I saw her lying motionless and I started asking myself questions. Why can’t she move? why can’t she play with me?
Since I was used to dismounting objects, I thought that if I could touch her and search her I would find out the reason she is not moving and bring her back to life. As I grew older I reaIised that she was dead and everything changed around.
Immediately it developed in me the quest to learn more about intuitive science, that is was triggered my interest for Medicine and becoming a Doctor.
So far what motivates you?
First of all, my dad has been a great support for me, he is always pushing me to work with an unconditional support, to bring out the best in me. So whenever I want to give up I remember him.
Another person that came into my life and that is being a great pusher, is my fiancé, with him we make a team. There is a proverb that says when you walk alone you go fast, but when you walk as a team you go far. Click To Tweet
As human beings, we all have moments of weaknesses, and in those times it is good to have someone by you that can encourage you and vice versa, this helps us to keep up with our personal projects.
Aside that I love doing sports. It helps me to keep fit and to keep my head on my shoulders, in doing that I feel my body in activity and I am fired up for exploits.
At this very young age is there anything in your life you are proud of?
I have a lot to be proud of but my answer to this question has always been So far as there is work to do, nothing is done. Click To Tweet Because resting in the comfort of my past achievement does not challenge me to greater things.
The Africa I am aspiring for is not yet the Africa I see, there is work to do, there are unexploited resources and when I see all the work that must be done I think I have not done anything yet.
But you participated in Africa Peace Builders Awards 2016, wasn’t it to win the award?
Africa Peace Builders Awards 2016 at the begin the aim was not to win an award, the award is like a meat in the soup. Because I am very active in my social life, my team and I are on the grounds trying to solve the issue of difficult living conditions in our communities.
I am the President of an NGO called Women Leaders Network for Benin (REFELD), our mission is to identify a community and their social issues and try to solve that issue. So one of the aims was to restore a climate of peace in this communities.
Peace is the foundation for the development of any community, we organized multiple events for the youth and the women across the nation on how to develop the culture of interior peace. That was the project that won us the award.
You are currently working on Universal Medical Identity -IDU – how did this project come forth?
I had that idea since my university days, I was doing medicine with passion and emotion, I had lots of challenges and difficulties, that are due to the insufficiencies of the African system in which we are living, the touching events I experienced in the medical world pushed me to give birth to this project.
It is the story of a woman who just gave birth but had a blood loss and was referred to the health center in which I was on duty, she was rushed in, her minutes to live were counted, in 10 minutes the time to get her health statement for the exam she passed away. I pondered over it for a long time, but she was just one of the numerous daily victims.
I started working towards a solution on how to reduce the time of patient care in our health centers so that patients that must be looked at urgently don’t have to waste time doing formalities and lose their lives.
That is how the project was born. Universal Medical Identity is about a computerized database of patient information that will be accessible to hospitals. The database contains the general health information of the population, which doctors can have access to in any hospital so as to reduce the cases of premature death due to lack of patient information.
The advantages are the following:
– It will help in naturally accelerating the time of patient care.
– Help doctors to avoid medical errors even when the patients are unconscious.
– It is a health economy, the numerical database will help conserve patient information and reduce the loss of medical papers.
-Interconnect all the hospitals in Benin.
We are in the testing phase. We have 3 major phases. The Institutional phase, getting the government on board, the health sectors and actors phase, and the population phase. So we are going step by step to succeed in sensitizing and informing all the sectors and the benefit of the project for everyone.
The health challenges faced in various African countries are identical, and with time we hope it will expand to other African countries.
What is your dream for Africa?
I have always been shocked and surprised when I hear African presidents go to European countries to get treated when they are ill. Why? Is it a lack of quality service, equipment or incompetent doctors? My dream is to see a system whereby health is a priority.
Where the population is satisfied because the health system is adequate. I want to see our presidents treated in our hospitals. I want to see the rural woman receive adequate health service in her village.
If you learned something from her story, please share it with the world. It could inspire somebody somewhere not to give up on their dreams.