Each year over 600 of Australia’s sickest newborns receive lifesaving treatment from the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
Prof Nadia Badawi is the woman in charge of ensuring that over 96% of these babies survive and go home to their families.
Growing up in Egypt, Nadia always knew that she wanted to help children, but she never planned to go into medicine. She loved literature and thought she’d study it at university, but when it came to submitting her preferences, Nadia found herself ticking the box for medicine instead.
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“I grew up with a really feminist father and I think subconsciously he was pushing me towards helping women and children,” she told Mamamia.
“I believe if you help children and educate them, everything else falls into place.”
Badawi has been working at the Centre for 19 years, and in that time she’s helped thousands of babies overcome complex medical conditions, serious cardiac or surgical disorders, and go on to lead full lives.
One of the highlights of her career has been witnessing some of these babies returning to the Centre to complete their Year 10 work experience.
“It’s wonderful to see them grown up and about to enter their adult years.”
The newborns come to the Centre from all over Australia and the Pacific Islands, and often their families are scared, overwhelmed, and just holding out hope that their little baby is going to beat the odds.