Student Profile: Dental Surgery Student aims to be instrument of change in Mpigi District
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/01/student-profile-dental-surgery-student-aims-to-be-instrument-of-change-in-mpigi-district/
(NOTE: In September 2018, Uganda Christian University launched a School of Medicine with 60 students. To “put a face” on Uganda’s future doctors and dentists, some of these students, including this one, were interviewed after the completion of the first semester.)
By Brendah Ndagire
Uganda Christian University (UCU) School of Medicine student, 20-year-old Peter Kabuye from Kimbugu, Mpigi district, Uganda, hopes to fill the huge gap in his country’s dental needs. He hopes he can be an instrument of change through providing dental services, especially in rural areas where there is the greatest need. Even though he comes from a family where his parents are mostly interested in the arts and business careers, Kabuye is not shying away from his primary interest in sciences. Part of his story is shared here.
How did you get drawn to the dental surgery?
In high school, I had a dental appointment with Dr. Timothy Mawano, at his dental clinic. And the way he talked about dental surgery and his experience in the dental field, it made an impression on me. I asked more questions about it and he encouraged me to study dentistry. He essentially inspired me to study this program. But, I also am continually inspired by the owner of Jubilee Dental Clinic; his name is Dr. James Magala, a father of my colleague here at UCU. Going forward, the main reasons for being part of this program are to address the need of dentists in my community, and contribute something good to our country.
In your community, where have you identified the need for dentists?The main need is lack of financial resources to construct dental clinics in Kimbugu Village, Mpigi district. Secondly, there are some dentists in my village but there are not qualified professionals. They do not have resources to conduct dental services. Most people in my rural village if they, for instance, have a cavity, the only option they have is to extract their tooth. If the same people were living in Kampala, they would be exposed to more options such as dental cleaning and refilling the cavity.
Have you always wanted to be a dentist?
It has always been a combination of medicine and dentistry because when you study medicine, you can also decide to end up in dental surgery. But I was more drawn to understanding/studying the parts of the head, mouth, teeth, etc., and that’s what dental surgery is all about.
What challenges have you observed so far that contribute to a shortage of dentists in Uganda?
The main challenge is that it is expensive to study science programs in Uganda. For example, most Ugandans can only afford to study science programs at Makerere University, if they are sponsored by the government (since it is a public university). And there are only a few universities teaching dental surgery, namely, Kampala International University, Makerere University, and currently Uganda Christian University. The economic problem, coupled with limited universities teaching dentistry, contribute greatly to this shortage.
Why study at UCU?
I wanted to study at a university that embraces God. The second reason was that compared to other universities, UCU has smaller classes and I wanted to study at a university where I can study in small groups and get the best out of your lecturer.
What has been so far the most positive aspect of studying at UCU?Small classes which contribute to team building, relationship building and a better learning environment are a plus. Secondly, community worship is conducted on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It helps us to take time to get to know more about God. And lastly, professors are very engaging and love teaching us.
What classes do you find interesting so far?
Anatomy. It is so new to me, and gives me a new language. I derive my current happiness in the process of discussing different and new concepts in that class. I also like Bio Chemistry but currently it is getting harder to engage with.
So far what challenges have you experienced as a student at UCU?
My current and major challenge is commuting for a long time to get to school every day. I live far from Mengo Hospital where UCU School of Medicine is located. And I have observed that because I spend so much time commuting, I rarely get time to rest and concentrate on studying my books. That had a negative impact on my grades last semester. I hope to move soon to a closer neighborhood.
More information about the Uganda Christian University School of Medicine can be obtained at https://www.ugandapartners.org/priority-projects. To support science students, books and facilities at the medical school, contact Mark Bartels, executive director, UCU Partners, at email@example.com or donate directly at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/donate/