“I think that one of the best ways that I can make a difference as a health worker, is tackle problems at the upstream level.”
This is what drives the passion and professional ambition of Abraham Openy, a fifth-year medical student at Gulu Univeristy in Uganda. And his dreams of having an impact go beyond treating individual patients.
“I have always wanted to make a different in my community, since I was young. And its why I decided to pursue medicine. But I want to have a greater impact by working at a policy level. I want to apply my passion for social justice and equity to health care.”
Abraham’s drive is evident when examining his growth as a leader in his community and school. He is currently part of the Federation of the Uganda Medical Students Association (FUMSA), a collaborative organization that brings together medical students across Uganda to help aspiring professionals to make an even greater difference in their institutions communities.
Earlier this year, Abraham was one of six medical students in the world – and the only from Africa – to represent the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA) at the World Health Organization’s 140th Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
With support from Seed Global Health, Abraham attended the meeting where he met global health stakeholders, shared knowledge with medical students from around the world, and built partnerships with new organizations.
“I learned so much,” said Abraham, “I learned from other presenters. I got to see how global health policy is developed. I experienced first-hand how policies that impact patients and individuals at the community level are generated.”
And to Abraham’s surprise and delight, he was fortunate to meet with Dr. Margaret Chan, current Director-General of the WHO. “She is a huge inspiration to me and it was such an honor to meet her,” says Abraham.
Most importantly, Abraham was able to see his dream in action. He presented two statements on behalf of IFMSA to the WHO Executive Board: Human resource for health and implementation of the outcome of the United Nations High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth; and Global strategy for Women’s, Children and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030).
“I feel like our policies are lacking, that patients aren’t getting the care they need,” says Abraham. “But when I was presenting these statements, I felt like I was truly making a different in the policy from a local, regional, and global level.”