Eight UP medical students has set out on a 10 000km journey through seven African countries to raise funds for medical supplies. The group left Pretoria on Friday 14 June on what is set to be a 21-day journey; they are due back in South Africa on 6 July.
“As a student doctor, engaging on this kind of medical outreach programme gives me a sense of purpose. Going to a village in Kenya where there is only one nurse brings more meaning to my life and my studies,” said UP medical student Mulisa Nkhumeleni.
The group met with UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe before they hit the road. Prof Kupe says the University has supported the students with some of their needs for the trip, including providing UP clothing and encouraging the public to make donations. “It is gratifying that our students have the conscience, empathy and commitment beyond their own concerns to go out there to support those who are less fortunate. Such selflessness is an outcome of both their own characters and the well-rounded education that the University of Pretoria nurtures among its students. They will develop into people who are sensitive to other people’s needs,” Prof Kupe said.
Team leader Pastor Immanuel Landman says he’s proud of the students and their commitment to helping others. “Last year we took educational supplies to an area where there was not even a pencil. This year we will take medical assistance to an area in the North East of Kenya desert, where there is only one nurse with no medical supplies”.
This African medical outreach programme will play a vital role in boosting access to medical care in the Ahadaama village in Kenya. “As budding medical practitioners, I think this trip will expose us to a different setting and disease burden, as well as our fellow African brothers and sisters,” says UP medical student Babalwa Bango. “I am hoping to gain experience and growth, not just in my career, but personally as well. I cannot wait to see the diverse culture in Africa, and engage with different mind-sets and perspectives that will challenge me.”
UP medical students with Prof Tawana Kupe and Pastor Immanuel Landman