M.Sc Food and Nutrition, RD, PNDS, Consultant Dietitian, Vice President, Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetic Society(PNDS)
Women & Child Health
She has done MSc (Foods and Nutrition) with over 15 years of Clinical Experience and has worked in Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology as Senior Clinical Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She has also worked at Park Lane Heart Center for 4 years. She is presently the Vice president & Registered Dietitian of Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetics Society (PNDS) and is currently working as a Consultant Dietitian at National Medical Center.
She has done Research Work participated in International Workshops and Conferences as well as National workshops and courses. During the course of her career she has done numerous Presentations and Lectures including delivering talks related to Public Awareness regarding Nutrition at DAWN News Channel, Indus TV, FM 100 and FM 91 and also in Schools.
“Success is readily achieved if you are born with a golden spoon [in your mouth] but it’s more rewarding when you achieve it in adverse [circumstances],” says Saima Rasheed, a consultant dietitian at the National Medical Centre in Karachi. Rasheed suffers from a genetic eye disease called retinal pigmentosa, an eye condition that slowly leads to loss of vision. “I was good [in] studies and cycling but my vision started to [deteriorate after I turned 11],” she recalls. But this didn’t stop Rasheed from being far-sighted and devoting her life to encouraging smart eating habits among others.
Rasheed always performed well in school. She was blessed with a high IQ and her siblings would often read books out loud to her. “I could have been severely depressed had it not been for the support I received from my family and friends. I never felt alone,” says Rasheed. “I always thought I can do everything. May be I will take a little more time to achieve my dreams as [compared to others, but I will eventually reach my goal]. I never let my confidence [get] shattered,” she adds.
Although Rasheed did not secure a high matriculation score due to her impaired vision — which gets worse in the daylight and improves slightly when indoors — she did not let this discourage her and went on to complete her Masters in Food and Nutrition from the College of Home Economics in Karachi. “I never [considered weak] eyesight a barrier in life [or an excuse to sit idle at home]. I even travelled using public transport during college,” says Rasheed, currently serving as the vice president of the Pakistan Nutrition and Dietetic Society. After gaining valuable work experience at Baqai Hospital diabetic department and later from Park Lane Heart Centre, Rasheed is now busy with her own practice. She also delivers lectures on nutrition to senior doctors and consultants and aspires to earn a specialisation in her subject.
Rasheed has set a precedent that one can achieve anything with diligence and determination. “Despite [the challenges], I never lived life like a robot. I gave time to myself and learnt how to cook, bake and design jewelry and clothes during summer vacations,” she says. “I enjoy evening walks and also recommend it to my patients.” Although she fears complete loss of vision in her old age, she hasn’t allowed this to cast a shadow on her present. Doctors have even claimed that there is a possibility her vision might improve as she ages. This is true for those who suffer from poor eyesight at a very young age. “If it is destined to happen, it will, and I am prepared for everything either good or bad,” she shares.
Today, the 37-year-old Rasheed is not only helping others make a positive change in their lives but is also hoping “to find the right man to start a family with”. “I proved myself in education and excelled in [my] career. I now wish to get married and prove to be a good wife and a mother as well,” she says with a smile.