I was pleasantly surprised when the producer of Islam Channel contacted me on Twitter asking if I wanted to be involved with a health show. Islam channel caters for the Muslim community worldwide, and is the most popular channel within its category.
My initial thoughts were that I may be asked to answer some health-related questions with my pharmacist’s hat on for one of their programmes.
To my excitement, I later discovered that I was going to be given an opportunity to host and present a show on health. I was thrilled. This was my opportunity to emphasise the role of the pharmacist to the public, especially within my own community.
A total of 14 shows had to be written and filmed for the month of Ramadan. I hoped to cover a range of topics including using your medicines correctly in Ramadan, the role of the pharmacists, diabetes, diet and smoking cessation. This was a challenging task. With the long fasts and my role at UCL, I had to be efficient with my time.
I wanted to invite a variety of health care professionals including pharmacists from various sectors. My aim was to highlight the different types of pharmacists in primary and secondary care and highlight how we play an integral role in healthcare, in the hope to clear misconceptions within the community that we are mere tablet counters and pill pushers.
For four of the episodes, I had the pleasure of interviewing Aseem Malhotra, leading consultant cardiologist, who is renowned worldwide for his interest in lifestyle-related diseases. We discussed the sugar epidemic, which has now become a global priority in order to reduce the risk of obesity, as well as what makes a good healthy diet. His advice was insightful and the statistics he gave were shocking.
My second biggest challenge was learning my lines. I didn’t have access to a cue screen, so for each episode I had to learn my introduction and summary, and at times had to do it off the cuff. My lecturing and teaching skills definitely gave me the confidence to do this.
It has been a pleasure and an intensive experience presenting on television. It is something I never thought I would or could do. It has given me a new type of confidence, which I never believed I had. All the skills I have acquired during my 16 years as a pharmacist really facilitated in making my new challenge a success.