First Cohort of Medical Doctors Trained by Uganda’s Anglican Church In 140 Years Graduates

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MUKONO, Uganda — The first cohort of 44 medical doctors trained by the Anglican Church of Uganda in its history spanning over 140 years has graduated, marking a milestone in the church’s history of training medical experts in the country.  

The doctors trained by Uganda Christian University graduated on July 28 at a colorful ceremony graced by Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu. 

Kaziimba is also the school’s chancellor. The university was established in 1997 to boost Christian education on the continent. 

The 44 medical doctors graduated with bachelor’s degrees in medicine and surgery. Another cohort of nine pioneer students graduated at the same time with a bachelor’s in dentistry. 

Many expectant mothers and their unborn babies in Uganda die during labor before accessing services of health experts. Uganda’s maternal mortality ratio is estimated at 336 deaths per 100,000 live births, one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. The infant mortality rate for Uganda, standing at 40.564 deaths per 1,000 live births, is also one of the highest in the region.

Among other things, Uganda needs more well-trained professional medical doctors to deal with the challenges of high maternal and infant mortality rates. But step by step, the move taken by the Anglican Church of Uganda in training medical doctors could help address the challenge.

Speaking at the event with, over 1,000 graduates spanning multiple disciplines, Kaziimba noted that this year’s ceremony was more significant because it included students who had majored in medicine and dentistry.

“This is a landmark achievement as it marks a significant step forward in our pursuit of excellence in healthcare education,” Kaziimba said. “I encourage you to go forth and make a positive impact in your communities and the world at large. I pray that you continue to embrace the University’s values of servanthood, Christ-centeredness, stewardship.”  

Whereas the Anglican Church of Uganda has for decades played a pivotal role in educating Ugandans through its hundreds of primary and secondary schools plus a university, this was the first time the church produced medical doctors at this level trained from its own university.

In his speech, the university’s Vice Chancellor Aaron Mushengyezi also described the graduation ceremony as a special one.

“This is exciting news for us as we send our first crop of doctors in the medical field. We congratulate them and their parents/guardians and sponsors,” Mushengyezi said.

Mushengyezi also commended the Church of Uganda Medical Hospital, Mengo in Kampala, which is the university’s medical training partner, for supporting the UCU School of Medicine in training the medical doctors.

The UCU School of Medicine was established in 2018 to train doctors to bridge the gap of shortage of holistic medical professionals in the country. In Uganda, the doctor-to-patient ratio is one per every 25,725 patients, compared to the United States, for example, where the ratio is one doctor for every 340 persons. This shortage of medical doctors in Uganda leaves many Ugandans with health problems unattended to during times of need, and as a result, many die prematurely.

The dean of the UCU School of Medicine, Dr. Gerald Tumusiime, noted that UCU medical and dental graduates are set apart since they are highly trained professionals and compassionate caregivers. 

“Through their training, the medical students learn to prioritize patient well-being and exhibit genuine care for those they serve,” Tumusiime said. “Their interaction with Christian doctors during the training enables them to integrate faith in medical practice.”

Dr. Davis Ampumuza, one of the students who graduated with a degree in medicine and surgery promised to bring strong work ethic and enthusiasm in the medical field to curb the rate at which pregnant mothers lose their lives and babies due to negligence and unavailability of medical officers. 

“The short answer to making health care better in Uganda is a well-developed infrastructure,” he said, adding, “The longer answer relates to the fact that women in particular stay in very hard to reach areas where the distance between their homes and health units is long and the roads are very poor.”





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