14th FUMSA General Assembly – A Recap

The popular notion that “curiosity killed the cat” is probably societies way of taming ravaging minds. My mind refuses to bow to the simplicity of accepting things as they come or ignoring those things that refuse to be ignored.

While I was MIA on the blog I happened to attend the 14th FUMSA General Assembly. FUMSA stands for the Federation of Uganda medical students association. In these General Assemblies Medical students from allover the country converge to actively take part in postulating the issues that directly affect them and those that affect the communities they represent.

This particular General Assembly was hosted by one of the eight medical schools in the country “Kampala International University -Western Campus ” Ishaka – Bushenyi. The General Assembly ran from 5th to 8th of October

I personally picked interest in this General Assembly because of the theme :

Globalization, Surveillance and Prioritization of women’s health and reproductivity”

This conversation couldn’t be more timely than at a time when women in Tanzania are being advised by President John Magufuli against contraceptive use and so many questions and queries are being tabled in regard to the health and reproductivity of the average Ugandan Woman.

So it is safe to say that what triggered me to join these great minds was curiosity and the need to add to the answer and steer conversation towards effecting positive change. Also since medical personnel usually interact with these women in more ordinary circumstances it’s important that they are informed and educated on the importance of dismantling some of the stereotypical ideas that are so popularly held in our communities.

In relation to the theme there were various Key note speakers that expounded on issues that included :

1. Rights of couples and reproductive rights
2. Comprehensive and appropriate interventional women health care
3. Justifiable and health care intervention for all women
4. Teenage sexuality and reproductivity
5. Consequences of early motherhood
6. Demonstration of women health and reproductivity
7. Affordable and quality health care for women

The Speakers ranged from Professors in different fields of study related to the theme, to experts in research, stake holders including a Representative from Reproductive Health Uganda and the Uganda Medical Association

I must admit that the President of the Uganda Medical Association, Dr Ekwaro obuku, also tackled issues (away from the theme) that I have been ranting about on twitter for all too long. He talked about the risks Medical interns are usually under due to un stipulated Salary scale and the importance of Medical interns coming up with an association through which they can address the issues that affect them.

This comes after the continued move by stake holders to lengthen the period for mandatory medical internship and several other policies that are directed towards exploitation of medical personnel. A case in point being the once proposed mandatory one year public service by Medicine graduates that was vehemently rebutted by FUMSA and other medical bodies in the country. It is sad that a country that barely takes part in educating it’s medical personnel would be this enthusiastic in exploiting them instead of allocating more resources to the health budget and improving medical services and increasing their pay.

Aside from key note speakers we also had standing committee sessions where the different standing committees would lead small group conversations on their different fields of interest. These included standing committees on Medical Education, Reproductive Health, Public Health, Peace and Human Rights etc.

I actively took part in the standing committee sessions on Medical Education where I picked a whole lot of take homes. This standing committee is concerned with Curriculum development, Advocacy, student involvement, Research and Social accountability which involves students giving back to communities around them.

It’s in these sessions that I brought forward the issue of mental health and psychosocial education as an aspect of social accountability. In societies where so many people affected by mental and psychological disorders are disregarded as mimicking the issues of the “white man” it’s important that people are educated on the topic and interventions created for those already suffering. (In writing this a part of me is hoping that a stake holder lands on my post and translates some of these ideas into action)

We also had student centered plenary sessions (which were probably my favorite sessions) and voting for the new leaders of the fraternity.

During the voting the host KIU -WC were able to scoop 8 out of the 24 available posts and the president of the Association of Medical students of Kampala International University- Western Campus, Ubongabasi Akpanumoh was crowned Official of the year by FUMSA for his outstanding performance.

Aside from the General Assembly FUMSA in conjunction with Uganda Network of Young People Living With HIV& AIDS(UNYPA) and Uganda Youth Coalition on Adolescent SRHR and HIV (CYSRA) Also held a workshop to educate students on their role in debunking the Stigma in HIV and creating safe spaces for Youth and people living with HIV.

I almost forgot to applaud the great team I was privileged to be a part of, the Organizing Committee that put together this General Assembly. Each one of you is a force to reckon with.

All in all it was three days of continuous learning and unlearning and students interacting with each other on issues that affect them professionally and their communities as a whole.

In my post I couldn’t expound on all the wisdom that was shared by the keynote speakers but I expect that FUMSA will share a more detailed report whose link I’ll share in the subsequent blog posts for everyone that may be interested in reading in depth on the theme

Otherwise thank you for reading and feel free to indulge me in the comment section. Also like comment and share.

I would also love to send my sincere apologies for going MIA without notice. I have wanted to break this silence for all too long (Those that follow this blog on instagram will testify) but a whole cluster of events are responsible for my late arrival. I will be doing a recap blog post for the months I was off the blog along with our October recap blog post as compensation.

Bellows of love

ยฉTales of a Curious Mind

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