‘I will be an extension of God’s healing hand in this world’

By Irene Best Nyapendi
Syringe in one hand and Bible in the other. God is at the center as Celicia Rwankore studies medicine at Uganda Christian University (UCU). Rwankore, who is in her penultimate year (fourth year) as a student of a Bachelor of Medicine, says titles such as a doctor add weight to the gospel one preaches.

 “When people see a doctor preaching, they are inspired and believe,” she says, adding that people then understand that the doctor’s achievements were made possible by his or her belief in God. 

As a Christian, Rwankore is convinced every believer must preach the gospel in their respective professions. She cites Jesus’ great commission to the disciples in the gospel of Mark 16:15: ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation…’

Rwankore regularly shares the teachings of the Bible with her colleagues in her free time after her lectures and practical classes in medicine.

She understands that Christianity, which asserts divine intervention, does not conflict with the science of healing, but rather works together. 

She references the book of Ephesians 2:10 and explains that Christians have the mandate to extend God’s creative and restorative power on earth. 

“As a Christian doctor, I believe that I will be an extension of God’s healing hand in this world,” she says. 

According to Rwankore, being a doctor does not negate the fact that she can pray for her patients – something she says they are constantly reminded of at the UCU School of Medicine. The lecturers encourage them to ‘do their best to treat patients, but the healing comes from God.’

Spending late nights in hospital wards
The demands of the profession are relentless. 

“We are basically expected to know enough material for our level (undergraduate) but that is a lot!,” she says. “This course is what I would describe as prestigious, but it comes with many high expectations from relatives and friends which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it causes stress from time to time.”

Rwankore enjoys her stay at UCU regardless of the tight schedule which includes sometimes having to spend long hours in the wards at Mengo Hospital which could go on until late in the night. Nevertheless, all that is part of the memorable moments regardless of how hectic it may seem because she loves what she does.

 “We were usually tired, surviving on snacks, giving medication, waiting for mothers to deliver, following the doctors and nurses around, making write-ups, having the most random conversations and sleeping at desks at 3 a.m. yet we expected to be in lectures at 7 a.m.,” she says about the roller coaster schedule.

She loves medical camps because she interacts with many folks whose lives she impacts positively through teaching them how to keep healthy as she checks their vitals such as measuring blood pressure.

“I am so happy to take part in the medical camps because it is an opportunity for me to help my community even before I can become a fully-fledged doctor,” she says.

Rwankore never despairs amidst or after the daunting tasks. She believes challenges are everywhere and part of life.

“I am proud to say that I have always been determined to be a medical doctor regardless of the challenges that come my way. I find solutions and move on,” she said. “I think that’s because I really enjoy what I am doing.”

As part of staying on course, Rwankore seeks out experienced doctors who share with her their first-hand accounts of the job.  Such moments revitalize her quest and offer the much-needed courage to soldier on.

Rwankore chose being a doctor to save lives. “You can understand the difference doctors make. Remember when you felt like death was calling you, but then you walked into a hospital only to leave feeling much better after what the doctor said or did,” she says.

The 23-year-old already has plans for studying a masters in Orthopedics. But for now, she looks forward to completing her senior clerkship (which is in their fifth and final year) and internship. 

In the meantime, Rwankore is very busy with classes and assignments, and understandably hard to get because of her tight schedule. She is not complaining about anything because she is in the company of a close-knit UCU community, where people care about one another.