UKZN Alumnus made Ambassador of World Peace
Dr Nirvadha Singh - UKZN alumnus, public health scientist, columnist, motivational speaker and poet - recently received the title of Ambassador of World Peace (Shantidoot) in Rajasthan, India, during the International World Peace Conference.
Singh, who was awarded the title for introducing peace education into health care and community activities for the first time, presented a paper titled: “Peace: A Public Health Genesis”.
‘Inner-peace is important for a holistic functioning individual as it allows one to think positively and focus clearer on the internal self and external environment,’ said Singh. ‘The numerous factors which affect a peaceful environment are physical, socio-economic, biological and political which impact positively or negatively on both the individual and the economy.’
Singh said physical factors included disasters either man-made or natural which exhibited a cataclysmic impact upon the environment thereby disrupting peace completely. The demographics of a country were evident by its socio-economic and psycho-social factors which generated divisions within race, religion and ethnic communities.
She said there was also a strong association between violence, poverty and unemployment with an increase in the incidence of women and child rape and abuse.
‘Health must be perceived as not only a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being but also a state of spiritual well-being. The body is congruent with the mind and cannot be dissociated if peace is to be attained.’
Singh is involved in a variety of campaigns including raising awareness against drug abuse, HIV, TB, teenage pregnancy, woman and child abuse, violence, cancer and disasters. She has incorporated the concept of peace within these activities.
Singh is a columnist for the newspaper Satyagraha (Gandhi Development Trust), where she writes on world and health issues raising awareness within the communities. She was also a Public Health Advisor to the Department of Health in the Strategic and Operational Planning of the healthcare system in preparedness for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer in Durban.
- MaryAnn Francis