International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) would like to introduce the newest members of the ILCA Board of Directors, Sabeen Adil, Nor Kamariah Mohamad Alwi, and Iona Macnab, whose terms began in July 2017. The following interview with Sabeen Adil is the first in a series of interviews with each of our new Board members.
Lactation Matters (LM): Tell us about what professional role you play in the lactation community.
Sabeen Adil (SA): I am a physician and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®), and, also, a trailing spouse. We have lived in five different countries in the last ten years, so the whole world is my community. As one of the first IBCLCs hailing from Pakistan, I was able to establish a private lactation practice in Karachi, which is one of the most populous cities of the world. I have moved out since, but continue to help mothers and families in my country through social media and other online platforms. Now, being based in Lagos, Nigeria, I again explore the options of working as the only lactation consultant in a developing mega-city. At the same time, I feel it is my work as a board member with ILCA that forms the base of my professional role in the lactation community.
LM: What brought you to the lactation field?
SA: I will have to give the cliched answer that most of us in our field do—my own experience with my babies. Being a doctor, I thought I knew everything, until that little bundle was in my arms, and I was left clueless. As a physician who had worked extensively in pediatrics, I was surprised that I knew so little about breastfeeding. I wanted to explore more. I was lucky to find the right guidance and professional support when I was living in Dubai and eventually realized this is my true calling. I feel so grateful to have found both passion and profession in the same field.
LM: What is your role on the ILCA Board of Directors?
SA: I am the newbie. Me, along with two other members, were elected to the board this year. Our tenure with the board started in July, 2017, at the ILCA conference in Toronto. I was, unfortunately, unable to attend that because of visa issues. So, I have been working with my colleagues for about six months now, without having met anyone [in person]. Yet, I feel so connected with them while doing such important tasks for our profession. I am a board liaison for two committees within ILCA: Equity Committee, which is close to my heart, and the Global Collaboration Committee, which is an exciting new mission for all of us.
LM: What are the greatest opportunities you see for the board and the Global Collaboration and Equity Committees?
SA: Oh the places we’ll go!
Development of skilled lactation care is the answer to so many global issues. The Board is committed to working for the promotion of IBCLCs and to transforming world health through breastfeeding.
Global Collaboration Committee is a step in the right direction, to take our association truly global. We all come together from various regions and make sure that underrepresented populations are being catered to. The Global Partners Program is working to help new and emerging lactation organizations in all regions of the world.
Equity is a very broad term, and it is one of our three core values. Our committee is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the association are culturally inclusive. We have to take this work earnestly and seriously in today’s changing world to make sure that all ILCA members feel welcome and encouraged to work for the profession.
LM: ILCA board members are unpaid volunteers that spend countless hours on all aspects of the organization. What inspires you to make this commitment to your profession?
SA: Instead of helping one mother and one child in an hour long consultation, I spend one hour in our board meeting and discuss issues which have such broad results. It is time well spent, I’d say.
I take immense pride in my profession. And I feel a sense of responsibility to do everything I can to promote it. Being a part of ILCA gives me the perfect opportunity to be a part of the big picture and to be able to do something on a global scale, not just in my city, not just in my country, but something whose impact is felt all over the world.
Sabeen Adil, MD, IBCLC currently lives in Lagos, Nigeria and is originally from Islamabad, Pakistan. She has experience working in lactation, pediatric, and maternity clinics and hospitals in United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pakistan, and Nigeria. Sabeen established the first lactation clinic in Pakistan, and worked to achieve recognition of lactation consultants as medical professionals in that country. She is currently a private practice lactation consultant in Nigeria. (Read more about Sabeen in her ILCA Board of Directors nominee profile.)