Source: groundWork (page 20)

Luqman Yesufu Alegebema is the Junior Environmental Health Campaigner for HCWH’s Partner Organization in South Africa, groundWork.

In this role, which he assumed in March 2014, he is tasked with leading an outreach effort that will engage the healthcare fraternity to promote the global green and healthy hospitals (GGHH) concept through the provision of encouragement and support, thereby encouraging them to join and actively participate in the GGHH campaign.

Originally from Nigeria himself, Luqman grew up in an army barrack in Lagos. However, his was one of the few families in the barrack whose father was a nurse in the army. He remembers thinking that he didn’t really like the military aspect of his dad’s life, but he admired the patience and care his dad had for his patients.

Luqman went into high school with the desire to read medicine or nursing, but things changed quickly because he had an inner fear of needles, so, after graduating with a degree in microbiology, he decided to obtain his masters in environmental health. During his graduate study, he received a scholarship from the International Prevention Research Institute (IPRI) to undergo a certifi cate training course in Epidemiology and Global Health at the University of Dundee in Scotland.

Luqman describes his experience during the program as “life changing”. He says he began to develop a global perspective of the health challenges facing the world; especially the environmental health challenges, and this motivated him to carry out his postgraduate research on “Work environment noise levels and auditory status of generator users in Nigeria”.

He has presented papers in 2012 from his research work at the third ASPHA AGM and fourth Global Summit of Schools of Public Health, held in Accra, Ghana and the Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit held in Ibadan, Nigeria. He currently has four publications in international peer-reviewed journals.

When asked about his career success, Luqman advises that he has never shied away from responsibilities or challenges and he has developed the ability to learn on his own and share knowledge, which he believes has worked to his advantage. He stresses that the best way to stand out in any organization is to be hardworking and sincere.

He states that he has striven to be very effective and result-driven in all the organizations he has worked with. One defining moment of Luqman’s career was when he began his fi rst job as assistant team leader, oil spill remediation, in Zenith Energy Nigeria Limited.

It was then he realized that it was not about him and what he could do to remediate the oil-polluted land and water, but it was about the environmental situation these people were living in and what it meant to their health. Today, Luqman says, these people are his inspiration.

He has never looked back and thus, when the opportunity to work for an environmental justice organization came around, he grabbed it with both hands. Luqman maintains that it’s important to keep the right perspective and to remain humble, and he often reminds himself of the humble and disciplined upbringing he had while growing up in the military barracks.

Without doubt, it was this discipline, hard work and desire that got Luqman to where he is today as he looks forward to a great experience in groundWork South Africa.