Take care of your borders and then expand them

doctor dentist

(Amauri Acosta Montiel, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Natália Federle, a 23 year old and third-year medical student from Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

There is an ideal thought as to what we might consider as a good health professional: one who helps as many people as possible with excellence in their work and thinks loudly, and who participates in humanitarian projects, which gives up the comfort of your home to help the next in very distant regions of your home.

This professional nowadays exists, and we have thousands of them scattered around the world. One of them, Zilda Arns Neumann (1934-2010), was an example of this type of professional. A Brazilian physician, pediatrician and sanitarian, this brilliant woman formulated a plan to reduce infant mortality with the use of home serum. In addition, she created a volunteer group that began to work in the needy and remote areas of Brazil, teaching the mothers of these regions how to fight preventable diseases in childhood. She, then, expanded her work to other countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Its significance as a collaborator to improve the lives of countless people was so great that she received numerous awards and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

What should we conclude as an inspiration in the history of this great professional in the field of health? It is not to think that we will only be good health professionals if we operate far from home, but rather, if we start by looking at our own country, state, city, neighbourhood, then expand care to other regions. Brazil, the country where I live, has many sanitary problems, areas in which there is no medical care and places in risky situations, such as Brumadinho and Mariana, regions in which the disruption of mineral dams occurred, as well as lack of education regarding health. You only have to look a little deeper to see any country has problems as well.

This does not mean that we should only act locally, but rather, that to be a good professional one must begin to act within our borders and then expand them. No need to go far to help, problems may be located by your side. Its neighbouring city may be undergoing a dengue endemic disease, requiring health professionals who can treat the affected population and teach ways to prevent the illness. The good health professional is the one who has vision and begins to act within his region, to later expand the performance.


1-BRAZIL. PASTORAL DA CRIANÇA. Available at: <https://www.pastoraldacrianca.org.br/biografia-dra-zilda > Accessed on: 24 Jun. 2019.

About the author

Natália Federle is 23 years old and a third-year medical student. She works as a local coordinator in IFMSA Brazil Unicesumar. She is part of two academic leagues: gastroenterology and respiratory diseases. She is interested in how to make a medicine more humanized and focused on the individual as a unique being.

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