For the media

Providing care in San Diego and Africa

By The Health News Team | July 7, 2021
Jalil Dakissaga with local health care workers in Africa

Through his nonprofit organization, Sharp Mesa Vista nurse Jalil Dakissaga (left) works with local health care workers in Africa to provide services such as health screenings.

Jalil Dakissaga’s father was only 50 years old when he died of meningitis. Today, Jalil, a clinical nurse at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, honors his father’s memory by caring for others who need help — in the United States and in Africa, where he was born and raised.

“Whether it’s due to lack of access, financial constraints or social stigma that declares it’s unmanly to receive health care, many people in Africa don’t go to the doctor,” says Jalil, who works in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Sharp Mesa Vista.

Jalil’s father, Ahmed Souley, was one of many civilians who brushed off going to the hospital, insisting he was fine. With his father’s story in mind and wishing to provide preventive care and general health care to communities in Africa, Jalil established a nonprofit organization named after his father in 2020.

Each year, Jalil collects donated medical supplies and provides primary care to numerous patients in Africa. This summer, he will be visiting Burkina Faso and Ghana.

“My dad was all about giving back,” Jalil says. “Growing up, when our neighbor didn’t have enough water, my dad would give some from our house.”

Jalil decided to pursue a career in mental health after working at a psychiatric hospital while attending college in the U.S. Like his father, Jalil embodies a generous and caring spirit, which he relies on for his current position caring for patients experiencing severe mental health disorders.

He is also dedicated to providing more efficient, high-quality care at Sharp Mesa Vista. Teaming up with a recent ICU grad nurse, Jalil recently developed an alcohol and drug screening admission process to better assist with withdrawal treatment and improve patient-centered interventions.

“Working at Sharp, I get to learn something every day. I appreciate all of the staff members and doctors who want to help our patients,” he says.

One of Jalil’s collaborators and mentors is Steve Molina, a lead clinical nurse in Sharp Mesa Vista’s ICU.

“Psychiatry can be a challenging specialty, but Jalil has an intuitive approach that helps him respond to every situation ideally,” says Steve. “As a nurse who helps admit new patients to our unit, Jalil consistently makes meaningful first impressions to many patients.”

In the future, Jalil hopes he and his nonprofit can provide more mental health care services for people in Africa, with the ultimate goal of building a psychiatric hospital with an outpatient program. According to Jalil, in many areas of Africa there is a cultural belief that paranormal phenomenon cause mental health issues. This belief, along with general stigma about mental health care, results in a lack of mental health services across the continent.

“Providing help to people in both America and Africa keeps me motivated,” Jalil says. “I hope my dad is proud of me.”

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