I am truly honored to have been selected as a recipient of the prestigious Team Tanzania Scholar Award 2012. I would like to thank Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College (KCMC) for recognizing my academic achievement, and above all, I am grateful to my family, the academic staff at KCMC, and my colleagues for their continued support. Everyday I am reminded why I am on my way to becoming a physician. In the wards and hallways of KCMC, I see crowds of patients desperately waiting for a physician. These are the patients who have waited too long before seeking medical attention. Moreover, malaria and other poverty-related diseases, all of which are preventable, continue to be the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Tanzania. There are many other reasons that motivate me, and this award is one of them. Receiving this award means a lot to me, as a medical student, and it will be immensely helpful as I continue to pursue an M.D. degree at KCMC.
Imagine being the only doctor in a district of 1 million people. Tanzania has a population of around 40 million, yet it has less than 2000 physicians. If Tanzania is to meet the Millennium Development Goals, it needs to increase, triple to be specific, the number of its doctors. As the saying goes, “haba na haba hujaza kibaba”. Little by little fills the measure. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Having said that, I hope this award will also inspire my fellow Tanzanian medical students to maximize and use their potential, and in the long run, help to create a new generation of physicians who will change the face of healthcare in our country, and become the physicians that our country needs.
Lastly, Maendeleo is to be commended for promoting excellence in medical education, as well as for reaching out and extending their support in the training of Tanzania’s future healthcare professionals.
Juma, A. et al. 2012. Brain Drain of Health Professionals in Tanzania. Case Study # 9-11 of the program: “Food Policy for Developing Countries: The Role of Government in the Global Food System” 2012. Ithaca: Cornell University.
Thank you Maendeleo group, thank you every one that in is involved in one way or the other. The award came to me as a surprise and to be frank to all the students because it’s the first time to be given at KCMUCO. Growing up in Arusha town, my childhood dream was to become ‘a great medical doctor’. This dream has become a passion that drives my purpose and pushed me to great heights, even once to be one of the best secondary student national wise in 2006 when I completed my O-level education.
Everyone who has been a medical student knows that the program is very tiresome, and due to its duration it’s sometimes become very discouraging. So the award came at the right time when I was a bit worn out, it has rejuvenated and motivated me to strive to do my best to acquire knowledge and skills that I believe will benefit the world. The award has also motivated other students to work hard to achieve their best.
So again, thank you all, and may GOD bless you and continue to touch peoples’ dreams.
The beginning of a patient encounter is a moment to cherish, that moment when they become YOUR patient. And it echoes within you. MY patient. And you know you will do your best for them, because human life is sacred, and this is someone’s father, mother, sister, brother, wife, husband, son or daughter.
A myriad of patient stories that I’ve come across, some with a happy ending, and some not. But through it all, they had one thing in common. What I’ve learnt with the passage of time, and through these journeys on a train to the abyss of the human soul and back, is that patients need someone that will listen to them, someone that they can talk to. That can comfort them even in the face of the worst suffering that a human soul can endure, even in the face of death. Just for the doctor to hold their hand and listen. And often, in our not so well equipped hospitals and heavy patient load, doctors often forget to take time to listen to their patients. Most doctors will let the patient utter a word or so, and then the patient gets interrupted. Thereafter, the doctor would briskly write some investigations and/ or a prescription, and before they know it, the doctor has vanished or the patient is whisked away so that the next one may enter. Such is the importance of listening in this profession, and not simply doing your job in a robotic manner while forgetting the wonderful human side of it. But it’s also been harrowing going through the pain of losing a patient, simply because the right medicine/treatment wasn’t available, or they couldn’t afford it.
Going through all these experiences has shaped me to become the person that I am today. They have inspired me to always do what I can to help my people. And that wherever life shall take me, that I shall never forget where I came from, and I shall never forget what my patients taught me. This is a promise I have made to myself. And that is why I feel honored to have received the Tanzania Scholar Award. Because here are a people, very far from home, and yet they haven’t forgotten where they came from. For this reason, I can’t put into words what this award means to me. I am so very proud of the Maendeleo group, and happy that we share those common values in doing what we can, to change the world for the better. In our own small, but very significant ways.
I did reflect on what I will do with the prize money. I thought long and hard, and during those moments of reflection, I remembered Martin Luther King Junior, when he gave the “I Have A Dream…” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington D.C, on 28 August 1963. I also have a dream that one day, our people will not live in abject poverty, and equality shall prevail in opportunities to education and good health care. The road to achieving this dream is long, steep and arduous. But we must persevere, for the sake of the future generations Henceforth; I have decided to put this award money to good use by giving back to my community. For a cause and a purpose that is dear to my heart. My fellow classmates and I founded a charity group called shine a light in 2010.Every year we raise money to sponsor street children for primary school education at the Msamaria center in Moshi .I have decided to use my prize money to sponsor the children for the year 2013.
This award is a great impetus for students to excel in the medical field and I hope it shall endure the passage of time for future generations, so that we can continue to inspire more students in the pursuit of excellence for many years to come.
The words of Mahatma Gandhi resonate within me as I continue learning in the classroom of life “Be the change you want to see in the world. The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”