October 25, 2023

Back to blogs

Status Quo: Education of a Medical Student in Uganda

Author:
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Status Quo: Education of a Medical Student in Uganda

Overview:

Medical students face financial challenges pursuing their dreams.
Passion for medicine driven by urgent need for doctors.
Lack of access to proper care underscores the need for more healthcare professionals.
This campaign empowers rural women with mentorship and products.

Financial Challenges

Staring at the daunting pile of books before me, I couldn’t escape the looming reality that my medical school exams were just a week away. I’m sure many of you can relate to the immense pressure that examinations bring, but in the context of medical school, that pressure felt tenfold.

A medical student’s life was a relentless cycle of lectures, tutorials, ward rounds, patient care, discussion groups, night shifts, surprise assessments, and never-ending coursework. However, these upcoming exams were different; they held the power to define the culmination of all my hard work.

What added to my mounting stress was the unsettling thought that I might not even be allowed to sit for the exams due to unpaid tuition fees. Despite this financial hurdle, I was determined to prepare to the best of my abilities.

This was not my first encounter with this predicament, but every time I faced it, my heart ached at the possibility of my dreams being shattered. You see, my lifelong aspiration was to become a doctor, driven by a deep-seated desire to make a positive impact on the world. However, my journey to obtain my medical degree had been plagued by financial constraints.

The road through medical school had been a challenging one, marked by moments of panic and uncertainty. Yet, my belief in the transformative power of healthcare in my country, Uganda, kept me going. In a nation where there is just one doctor for every 30,000 patients and the average lifespan is only 64 years, becoming a doctor was not just a dream but a necessity.

Entering medical school had been a thrilling milestone, but the disappointment set in when we didn’t immediately dive into medical studies. Despite all the hardships, my determination to become a doctor and make a difference in the lives of countless people remains unwavering. My journey is a testament to the resilience required to pursue a dream against all odds.

team-of-doctors
Image Credits: Girl Power Talk

Empowering Women in Rural Areas

Having watched multiple medical TV series after high school, I had presumed an idea of what medicine; as a perusal, is supposed to be like. My mental agenda was to dive right into practicing medicine. When I had just joined medical school, I started a campaign that empowers young women in rural areas of Uganda through mentorship and provision of menstrual products and it is truly heartwarming seeing it grow into a campaign housing several initiatives that aim to help and empower people across different demographics.

person-speaking
Image Credits: Girl Power Talk

When I heard that we will officially start going to hospitals during the course of our 3rd year, I was set into an emotion of frustration blended with excitement for what was to come. I wanted to jump into “the whole doctor thing,” which was to save lives.

In medical school, you have to utilize each and every minute of the semester. More often than not, when we begin a new semester, our mid-semester examinations are conducted in 6 weeks, so you have to utilize time judiciously. One has to come up with ways of marking their studying effectively and efficiently. Study diligently; lives depend on it, not just understanding medicine but mastering the craft of saving lives.

The Passion for Medicine

I know my dream can save thousands of lives. Uganda has a very low life expectancy and one of the reasons for this is the lack of proper medical care, shortage of doctors, and a crumbling health system. A number of lives can be saved just by having more health professionals attend to the patients. We all wish to have a long, healthy, and prosperous life and we do and understand to the fullest the impact that doctors have on our lives.

Self-medication is another problem prevalent in Uganda. There are countless pharmacies and dispensaries that have been licensed. People prescribe themselves drugs or get prescriptions from an unprofessional whenever they are faced with illnesses. All this self-medication can result in antimicrobial resistance; which has now been declared by the World Health Organisation as one of the top 10 threats against humanity.

The Urgent Need of Healthcare Professionals

In some villages, pregnant women resort to unsafe home birth methods because professional help is not accessible. This has led to many of them losing their lives in their attempts to bring another. These are just a few of the devastating cases. Clearly, the lack of doctors is causing many obstacles that could perhaps be controlled if we had more of them. Small steps, like helping a medical student stay in school, can hence have a big impact.

When I think back to the exciting practical sessions we have, using the ECG, different biochemical tests on blood samples, a rush goes through my body. I definitely love and enjoy what I do in medical school. If there is one thing that fuels me, it is knowing that I will be able to help people through medicine.

In my eyes, a medical career is magical and intriguing. I see myself integrating what I have learnt and I am still learning about social causes and the impact I can have in them with medicine.

 

audience-in-conference
Image Credits: Girl Power Talk

After all, what are we without our dreams? These steps add value eventually to the “butterfly effect” – which is when consistent, dedicated efforts pave the way for the future and improve the quality of living. I believe we can all be conduits and ambassadors assisting in changing the world positively; making the most of what we have, to make the world a better place for all.

Conclusion:

I invite you to join hands with me in this endeavor to make a meaningful difference in Uganda’s healthcare system. With your valuable financial support, we can work together to ensure that every aspiring doctor has the opportunity to pursue their dreams, ultimately improving the quality of healthcare and making the world a better place for all. Together, we can be the agents of change that our world so desperately needs. Let’s join hands and with your financial support, we can make a difference in the healthcare system of Uganda.

“Concern should drive us into action and not into depression.” – Pythagoras 

Kauthar Wangi

Kauthar Wangi is a Young Leader and Marketing & PR Associate at Girl Power Talk. She is very passionate about social impact and is currently running a non-profit that empowers women and youth in Uganda. She is focused on growth and development of both herself and other people, so she is always reading books that cover different subject matters relating to growth. She takes an approach of no conviction as she reads and comprehends these books. In her free time, she is trying out food recipes or working on jewellery.