International Youth Day 2017

Daisy WinnerBlog, Medicine, Tanzania

International Youth Day appreciates the unique contributions of young people in building inclusive, sustainable peace throughout society. The young medical and nursing students around the world who are training to become our future health care providers and leaders are essential in improving health, a prerequisite for long term stability and peace.

This summer, Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, with support from Seed Global Health and the Global Health Service Partnership, hosted the first Medical Trainee Research Conference. Over two days more that 350 undergraduate and post graduate students from around Tanzania came together to present research and learn from one another. The conference proved to be an inspiration to students, galvanizing the importance of collaboration and participation as they go on to become leaders in their communities.

George Msengi, a third-year medical student, was the chair of the student organizing committee for the conference. Students like George, as a future health care provider, are essential to building and sustaining peace.

We recently spoke to George about what motivates him and what he learned from his role in organizing the conference.

Why did you want to study medicine?

I had always had a deep desire to help people. I had found so much more meaning in people than material things. I felt that medicine satisfied my passion to make an impact in my community and interact with people.

Why did you and your peers want to put on the conference?

The focus of the conference was not only for students to share their work but to also get  experience presenting in a conference. For many of them, they had never even attended an event like this, let alone present. We wanted to build a forum where students from all over our country could come together to learn from one another.

What was the most important outcome of the conference?

Well, often as medical and nursing students we focus only on the clinical part of our training and work. But another aspect is research. And the conference showed students this other essential part of medicine and nursing, and that there is a global arena of research where we can contribute. This event really opened opportunities for students to pursue careers in research.

Why are events like this important?

This was an opportunity for students to show their potential and what they are capable of achieving. I think it would have been a great loss had we not been able to have the conference.

And I think it was very inspiring for all the students that attended. From learning from each other to hearing the keynote speakers, it was motivating. For example, Dr. Esther Mwaikambo was very encouraging and especially for the young women that attended. They might have felt limited but being able to see her move up was very inspiring.

Furthermore, for myself and my peers here at HKMU, putting on the conference was a lot of hard work. There were times when it almost felt impossible, but through our team work, we were able to put it together. My team really sacrificed a lot and I think it really is the epitome of the entire event.