PRESIDENT SAYS EPIU’S ACHIEVEMENT IS A MAJOR MILESTONE IN THE HEALTH SECTOR
President Yoweri Museveni is smiling from ear to ear after one of his citizens has scooped a prestigious academic accolade in the health sector
Dr. Isabella Epiu, a dangerously beautiful gal from Teso’s Ngora district, has become the first female Anaesthesiologist with a PhD not only in the Banana republic, but also in the whole of East Africa.
Aged only 37 years, Epiu attained her PhD in Medicine focusing on Neuro-Respiratory Physiology and Health Economics from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
In practical terms according to our health experts, soupy Epiu is now a specialist in anaesthesia, critical care medicine, emergency care medicine, intensive care medicine and pain medicines!
So happy with her academic excellence, that Gen. Museveni had to deploy his Second-in-Command Maj. Jessica Alupo to represent him at Kololo ceremonial grounds where Dr. Isabella held her graduation thanksgiving attended by cream de la cream from all over the globe.
An equally jovial VP Alupo, ably delivered her boss’ message and said as a nation, we’re proud to celebrate with Epiu the fruits of her hard work, diligence and discipline.
“Uganda celebrates you today for your outstanding contribution in the health sector and for being the first female Anesthesiologist with a PhD in the whole of East Africa,” Museveni said.
The Head of State held a dancing heart with Epiu’s parents, guardians, sponsors and the people of Ngora district for their contribution towards her education, noting that without their support, she would not have come this far.
The president described Epiu’s achievement as a milestone, adding that due to her exceptional work in research, yummy Epiu has won several Awards. He named them as 2016 Media Award from a USA-based Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology, 2013 World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists (WFSA) research award, the 2014 award by the USA National Institutes of Health as a Postdoctoral Clinical Research Fellow and the most recent one being the 2018 PhD Scholarship!
Museveni borrowed the biblical teachings of Psalms 1I6:12-13 KJV, to congratulate East Africa’s best gal, Epiu for all the above achievements noting that her graduation was therefore a ceremony of giving thanks to God for the gift of wisdom to her.
“As government, we’re proud to have a resourceful person like you and I am looking forward to seeing you make a formidable contribution to the health sector from the wealth of the research experience that you have attained over the years” the NRA bush war commander said.
He urged young people to borrow a leaf from the example she has set. “As you all know education is the key to the Socio-economic development of any society,” he said.
Museveni didn’t forget to remind those in attendance that his government has over the years made major strategic decisions in the field of education and thanked all the people of Ngora district for the support they have continuously given to the NRM.
He said the vision of the NRM Government is to transform the society through industrialization adding that Government is committed to continuing with developmental efforts, with particular emphasis on increasing household incomes.
ENTER DR. ISABELLA EPIU
Dr. Isabella, who by this time was wearing a beaming face, attributed all her achievement to God.
“It has been a long journey to have all these achievements to my name at only 37 years. He’s a miracle God,” she declared.
She however, noted that her journey of education has been characterized by highs and lows especially since she’s a girl child. Isabella said her dad has been traveling a lot yet her mom passed away.
“Young people should not be limited by what they see, they should continue to push for a better future,” Dr. Isabella advised.
She appreciated the government of Uganda especially State House and the World Bank for all the scholarships she’s been offered throughout her education journey.
She thanked President Museveni for over the years improving surgical Anaesthesia in the country by ensuring intensive care units are established in all regional referral hospitals.
She said over the last 10 years, from her research conducted in several East African Hospitals since 2012, she presented several opportunities to improve surgical outcomes in the East African region.
“The presence of a strong Anaesthesiology and Critical Care team including access to an operational intensive care unit is vital in all referral hospitals to reduce the delays in care, but also to ensure that the great work by the surgeons is not lost by a death on table during an ongoing complex surgery, or during the immediate post-operative period,” Epiu said.
The lancet commission of surgery reports that 5 billion people worldwide lack access to safe surgery when needed leading to catastrophic losses of 3 trillion dollars.
She noted that through her research in East Africa, they identified significant shortages of both the personnel, equipment, and protocols needed to provide safe anesthetic care for obstetric surgical cases across East Africa.
The doctor emphasized that there is urgent need to strengthen health systems and improve surgical outcomes in developing countries through partnership with local and international Organizations, policy makers and governments, to provide solutions to this crisis.
She told the gathering that her dream with the support of government, is to set up a centre of excellence for groundbreaking research and training in collaboration with key universities in Uganda, across the East African region, and Africa at large.
Isabella believes this will be achieved through strong collaborations with local and international researchers and professors in USA, Australia, UK, China and Europe.
She said together with her team, she’s committed to advancing training and implementation of high-technology surgical and anaesthesia services including robotic surgery, through telemedicine.
Isabella explained that such advances in technology will address the current gaps in performing complex surgeries here in Uganda and prevent complications that may arise during surgical procedures.
She said with a budget of USD120m, she will able to provide latest technology for telemedicine and provide advanced equipment and essential training.
Isabella gave a sigh of relief to Ugandans that, with her current expertise and skills and the specialized doctors in the country, we now have capacity to reduce government expenditure on international travels for treatment to India, Nairobi, London or USA and in the long run we shall end medical tourism.
In another development, her dad, Dr. Pastor Richard Honorat Epiu told the president that the lure for greener pastures abroad by graduates has been a daunting problem for many decades.
“Brain drain from the African continent is a parasite that hampers development,” he noted.
Honorat, a pastor at a local church called Deliverance Church-Uganda, explained that he was onetime offered an opportunity to pastor a new church in the US but declined the offer saying, he wanted to return to and contribute to the development of Uganda, his country.