UCU medical student: Incorporating faith with education will make me a better professional
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2023/02/ucu-medical-student-incorporating-faith-with-education-will-make-me-a-better-professional/
By Kefa Senoga
“Without faith, nothing is possible; with it, nothing is impossible” is a famous quote from the late educator and American civil rights activist, Mary McLeod Bethune.
Along that vein, Uganda Christian University (UCU) School of Medicine student, Kihumuro Peace Patricia, believes that education without faith is akin to building a house on sand. It is for this reason that Kihumuro says she sought to pursue her medical course at UCU. She hoped for a faith-based university education.
“Joining UCU was a family decision because the university is built on Christian principles,” she said during a recent interview with Uganda Partners.
And when she joined the university, she witnessed just what she expected. For instance, she got to learn that at UCU, there is lunchtime community worship twice a week — every Tuesday and Thursday.
“Even with the way we have studied, we have had a lot of incorporation of faith in other activities that take place in the university” Kihumuro explained, noting that their studies have been multi-dimensional, which she believes will make her and her student colleagues better doctors in the market.
And that is not all. Kihumuro says at UCU, within their first year of study, they were already having clinical exposure, where they would meet with doctors to discuss issues.
“Accessing the ward in year one gives a student the ability to make the connection between classroom knowledge and what they will practice,” she explained, adding that the smaller class sizes are an added advantage.
“We are 56 students per class, which helps us to network more, an advantage UCU has over other medical schools,” she said.
When UCU’s first Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Noll, assumed office in 2000, his main task was to set up a Christian university not just in name, but also in character. Indeed, when Noll addressed a gathering as a keynote speaker during a public lecture at the university on October 26, 2022, he said his task was to set up a university that “seeks to incorporate fully the Christian gospel in all its programs.”
Decades later, it is this system that is attracting people like Kihumuro, a year-four student of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at UCU’s School of Medicine in Mengo, Kampala.
She says the ideals of UCU make the institution almost an extension of the secondary school she attended — Uganda Martyrs Secondary School Namugongo in central Uganda — that also is built on strong Christian values, and the administrators do all they can to enforce the principles.
Kihumuro is positive that the grooming she has received thus far will play a pivotal role in making her a better professional. After her undergraduate course, Kihumuro hopes to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology.
“When patients trust you with their lives, you need to treat them with a lot of dignity in return,” she said, noting that if she combines her empathy towards patients and passion for solving a health challenge that is affecting someone, she will be of good use to many patients.
In fact, it is this empathy that attracted Kihumuro to the medical profession. “While growing up, I was in and out of hospital, especially during my childhood. Along the way, I met Dr. Christine, an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist, who I would go to for treatment; she was so caring and kind.”
Kihumuro emphasizes that a patient should be treated as a fellow human being and not just as a patient. To her, there is nothing as gratifying as sending a patient back home to their family in a better condition than how they came to the hospital.
Given a chance, Kihumuro says she will not think twice when an opportunity for greener pastures knocks on her door. She urges the Ugandan government to create better working conditions for the medical workers, to reduce chances of brain drain since the country still needs more personnel. Estimates indicate that the doctor-patient ratio in Uganda is at 1:25,000 and the nurse-to-patient ratio at 1:11,000. The World Health Organisation recommends a doctor-patient ratio of 1:1,000.
For now, before any chances of greener pastures present themselves, Kihumuro says she is eager to make a mark in the fight against non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, by preaching lifestyle changes and frequent health check-ups through an NGO called Health Torch Uganda.
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