Faruk Sarkinfada, Nigeria
Doctorate in International Public Health University of Liverpool, United Kingdom 2004-2007
As a public health laboratory professional, Faruk Sarkinfada focuses on how his services can extend beyond the laboratory and hospital and have an impact on policy and social justice.During his IFP supported PhD program in International Public Health at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, Faruk published research on improving tuberculosis and malaria diagnostic services and provided guidance for public health policy makers in Kano State, Nigeria. Faruk’s research informed the design and implementation of the Community Diagnosis Project (CDP) that sought to improve diagnostic systems and outreach, impacting around 1,000,000 people throughout parts of Nigeria. This experience empowered him to serve as the national diagnostic consultant in both the tuberculosis and malarial control programmed of Nigeria in his post IFP career.
Because of his IFP experience, Faruk believes that equal access to educational resources is fundamental to sustainable development and social justice advocacy, particularly in parts of his home country of Nigeria. Despite having a “sound base for Islamic education” in Northern Nigeria, “the region is relatively disadvantaged in terms of basic education, contributing to a high number of out-of-school children” largely because of grossly inadequate support to the education system and the educational resources available to them are in English, rather than their local Hausa language. This dynamic has perpetuated many of the beliefs and harmful traditional practices that negatively affect public health issues, such as communicable disease burden, female genital mutilation (Yankan gishiri) and Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF). To curb this social injustice, Faruk has attempted to expand access to literature, science, and technology in the Hausa language.
“Language barriers pose a great challenge to the understanding of science and technology education, particularly among Hausa speaking communities in Northern Nigeria. There is an urgent need for agenda setting to actualize the goals of expanding access to science and technology in Hausa if we are to tap into the energy, entrepreneurship, creativity and intelligence of our people.”
Faruk has sought to improve access to public health knowledge and resources by authoring several books, songs, and poetry that are often featured on Nigerian TV, radio, and in educational programs. His most publicized book, The Other Way Round and its Hausa version, Zaton Wuta A Makera, challenges the beliefs surrounding female genital mutilation and clarifies the causes and preventative measures of VVF. Faruk has also written Bakandamiyar Sarkinfad, a collection of Hausapoetry used in Nigerian schools, and Wakar Cimar Abinci, a Hausa song describing the value of certain nutrition and classes of nutrition. His recently published book, Wani Abu A Kan Matar Sarki, is the first science fiction in Hausa depicting public health issues on the causes, and preventive measures of communicable diseases. In addition to these products, Faruk established the Foundation for the Development of Science and Technology in Hausa Language and has been honored by the Association of Nigerian Authors.
Faruk is currently Professor of Medical Microbiology in the College of Health Sciences at Bayero University in Nigeria and Associate Professor of Health Sciences at Khawarizmi International College, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He is also a member of the International Ford Foundation Programme Alumni of Nigeria where he previously served as President.
Photos courtesy of Faruk Sarkinfada. Information compiled by Hayden Murray, May 2019.