Student Profile: Deaths of infant, grandmother drove Mwesigwa to study medicine
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/01/student-profile-deaths-of-infant-grandmother-drove-mwesigwa-to-study-medicine/
(In 2017, the World Health Organization reported Uganda’s doctor-to-patient ratio to be one doctor per every 25,725 patients. This story represents one Uganda Christian University School of Medicine student example of how that gap might be filled.)
By Douglas Olum
In 2015, Ronnie Mwesigwa lost his grandmother – a death he believes was caused by negligent doctors. Her final note urged her grandson to “study medicine and become a doctor.” He is.
“The doctor who was serving her postponed her treatment many times even when she needed immediate attention,” said Mwesigwa, who is among 50 students pursuing Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees at the Uganda Christian University School of Medicine (UCUSoM). The 20-year-old Ugandan born to a statistician dad, John Bosco Asiimwe, and a civil engineer mom, Priscilla Kobusinge, believes if he had been a doctor, he could have saved his grandmother’s life.
He is the first born to both parents and the only child in their broken marriage. He is the only boy among his mother’s three children and one of the four boys among his father’s eight children. A step-father was a doctor. He urges his siblings to pursue sciences and come to the rescue of Uganda, especially in the ailing health sector.
“My first inspiration to study medicine was when I traveled to visit my step-dad in Botswana where he worked in 2012 during my senior one vacation,” Mwesigwa said. “He was called around 1 O’clock in the night to attend to an emergency. I saw him pace up and down, trying to figure out a solution for the patient, a child that unfortunately passed on. I saw him sit down, hold his head at his palm and weep.”
Loss of Mwesigwa’s maternal grandmother to cancer occurred while he sat for his final Ordinary Level examinations (Uganda Certificate of Education).
After those two losses, Mwesigwa was determined to change that story for others. He said that he cares about people and wants to help them live happy lives by keeping them healthy.
Before his admission to the UCU School of Medicine, Mwesigwa was looking at studies in bio-medical Science at Makerere University, the oldest and most popular university in the country. But he knew that would not bring him to his career goal.
Unlike many students facing financial challenges as they pursue their dream course, Mwesigwa says his only challenge this semester has been keeping pace with the course work that accumulates every day. A lover of challenges because of their push to make him a better person, he is up to it.
Even amidst the demanding course requirements and lectures, Mwesigwa says he finds his solace in listening to inspirational music, watching football and studying the UCU Christian-related foundation courses. These include: Old Testament, New Testament, Ethics, Christian World Views, among others.
Before joining the school, his greatest motivation has been his mother who believed in his dream and continuously encouraged him to chase it. He said she was the one who brought home to him a copy of the newspaper that contained the UCUSoM call for applications.
Desire to serve
After finishing his five-year course, Mwesigwa wants to work in Uganda and contribute towards healing the ailing health sector. He says while money is a big factor when it comes to health care, he also is concerned about the huge patient-to-doctor ratio in Uganda, a thing that he thinks partially contributes to the poor health service delivery in the country.
More information about the Uganda Christian University School of Medicine can be obtained at https://www.ugandapartners.org/priority-projects. To support students, books and facilities at the medical school, contact Mark Bartels, executive director, UCU Partners, at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.ugandapartners.org/donate/.