Kapil Narain wants to build a community of medical professionals who comprehend their patients’ struggles beyond a biomedical vacuum. He hopes to contribute to improving the level of healthcare in South African through research and advocacy, and to this end he is chairperson of the Covid-19 Technical Working Group at Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations (Famsa).
Narain was one of four recipients of the inaugural World Health Organisation’s Change-Maker Scholarship, funded by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. It enabled him to attend the World Health Assembly, where he joined universal health coverage and digital health advocacy groups and was involved in drafting the statements made during the assembly.
In 2017, Kapil Narain launched a campaign aimed at addressing the stigma surrounding TB infection. It was coupled with a mini-symposium of specialists and was free for all students and staff at the University of Kwazulu-Natal to attend.
“In the years that followed, I made sure that the event improved and reached more people; we had a march planned for this year, but had to cancel due to the pandemic,” he said.
With the many challenges we face in this country and the world, Narain wants to seize every opportunity to de-stigmatise the ailments that affect us. “I want to be able to use my skill and passion to generate critical medical research that may improve our understanding of HIV, TB, Covid-19, mental health and the many diseases with stigmas attached. I also want to assist with the globally concerted efforts to improve health,” he adds. For him, medicine is not just a science but an art as well, where empathy, compassion and perspective play a critical role in making a positive contribution.