Sajid Javid, a man to make the NHS work for Muslim communities; and my egg-versary

·3-min read
 (Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)
(Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)

At the weekend, the boy from Stapleton Road rejoined the Cabinet as Health Secretary. Immigrant children and their parents rejoiced. There is a soft spot for Sajid Javid in the hearts of immigrant parents and their first-generation children like me, because he is a man who has been able to use his background not to get where he is, but to inform what he does. Last week I spoke to him about his private member’s bill to raise the age of marriage in the UK, a move that will protect girls that could be his or my sister or niece. He knew why this needed to be done, because we had both grown up in Muslim communities where we saw girls lose the opportunities this country gave them due to early marriage. Javid has always made time for an issue many seem to look away from.

So when I saw he was appointed as the new Health Secretary, my mind jumped to the countless things he could do for so many who do not access the health care they need because of cultural issues that have long been ignored. The Government has just closed its call for evidence for its Women’s Health Strategy and one of the key issues the department will be looking at is how to tackle systemic biases contributing to unequal mortality outcomes in ethnic minority women. Black women are four times more likely than white to die in pregnancy or childbirth. This is now well known but the issue has lost its former urgency. The Department of Health has tried to get more women and girls from minority communities to come forward so they can get a better understanding of their needs. It’s been difficult. But with Javid heading up the department, I think things will change. Growing up in Bristol gives you an understanding of how hard you have to fight as a minority kid with dreams. I believe the man who fought to get where he is in a city that expects very little from children like him and me will fight too for those who work in and use the NHS — especially those of us who have not really been seen for years.

Freezing my eggs was the best decision for my mental health

This week marks my “egg-versary” — a year since I froze my eggs. It’s something I never thought I would be marking — let alone something I would have done — but finding myself single in my mid-thirties in a pandemic made me realise time was running out. I grew up being told that being an independent woman meant having control but that never extended to fertility. There is a massive taboo around young women talking about this but freezing my eggs was the best thing I did for my future and mental health. I don’t know if I will have kids but I now have options and I am thankful for that. The process was not as scary or demanding as I thought and now somewhere in a fridge there is the potential for the next generation of my family. I paid for my treatment but I think it’s a service all young women should have access to and something we need to talk about more.

I’m blocked by George Galloway — Lefty men like him can’t handle independent women

I have been blocked by many Lefty men who can’t deal with a black woman who is independent and speaks her mind. George Galloway is one. He and his kind can’t handle the fact that I embody the human rights women are afforded in a democracy. They would love me to live behind rules set by self-appointed male community leaders. It is scary to watch Galloway whip up division in Batley and Spen where he is a candidate in the by-election. Men on the hard Left like him are as bad as those on the Right and we have to call them out, or lose a generation of young UK Muslims.

What do you think of Sajid Javid as the new Health Secretary? Let us know in the comments below.

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