Dr Faith Nabushawo’s Inspirational Journey of Impact and Resilience
In a world where adversity often stifles dreams, Dr. Faith Nabushawo emerges as a beacon of hope and resilience. At 30, she has already achieved a lot and is poised to attain even greater heights. Her journey is a compelling saga of a young woman who transformed adversity into opportunity.
It is late afternoon and the sun has reached its peak for the day. Nabushawo, clad in a flashy blue African-print dress and matching black high heels, sits under a tree in the well-kept gardens on King Caesar University’s main campus. She serves as a Teaching Assistant at this relatively new university located on Bbunga Hill, one of the several hills that make up Kampala City.
Despite having 45 minutes until her next class, she has no problem continuing the conversation. “My schedule rotates around this university, some hospitals I work in within the city, and my bed, with my other engagements falling in between,” she says with her characteristic warm embrace.
Talking about her preference for indoors, one wonders how she managed to garner over 20,000 followers on the X (formerly Twitter) platform. We all know how difficult it is to raise such a number, especially for someone who is not a mainstream celebrity. “My following skyrocketed during my tenure as Secretary General of Medical Interns not so long ago,” she notes. In addition, being an ardent Arsenal Football fan earned her a significant following. Besides her advocacy campaigns, she uses her platform to show love to her beloved football team and troll other ‘struggling’ football teams in the same league. She also posts comic content!
Dr. Nabushawo’s journey of leadership and advocacy was sparked by a defining moment in her early life. She recalls growing up in a community where limited healthcare access had devastating consequences. Witnessing firsthand the suffering and challenges individuals and families faced due to inadequate healthcare resources ignited a fire within her. In her own words: “I couldn’t stand by and watch my community suffer. I felt a profound desire to create positive change and improve healthcare outcomes for all.”
She vividly recalls her teenage years when her commitment to making a difference solidified. “I spent my free time visiting local hospitals and health centres,” she said. “I encountered patients, particularly children, who were in dire need of medical attention. The scarcity of resources and support was heart-wrenching.” These experiences fueled her resolve to be a voice for the voiceless.
Dr. Faith’s journey through high school was marked by her remarkable ascent to leadership roles. She reflects: “From being a nursery school class monitor to a high school discipline prefect, I demonstrated early signs of leadership and a knack for taking charge of situations.” Her transformation continued into university life, where she took on leadership roles.
“In my first year at Kampala International University, I was elected as a class representative, laying the foundation for my leadership journey.” This initial experience prepared her for her later triumphs, including securing the prestigious position of guild representative for the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.
One of her most significant roles in the medical field was as the Federation for Uganda Medical Interns’ Secretary General. She recalls her pivotal achievement: “We successfully advocated for a significant increase in the monthly allowance for medical interns all over the country. It was a long and challenging journey, but it demonstrated our unwavering determination and commitment to healthcare professionals’ welfare.”
A defining moment came when she and her colleagues presented their welfare concerns directly to Uganda’s President, HE Yoweri Museveni. “He directed that medical interns’ monthly pay be substantially increased.” However, this achievement was not without its challenges. “Implementing the pay increase required a mass sit-down strike,” she emphasizes. “Interns laid down their tools to underscore the demands. After a protracted struggle with the relevant authorities, our collective efforts finally paid off, leading to a significant improvement in their livelihoods.”
These experiences have fortified Dr. Nabushawo’s conviction in advocacy power. “My advocacy journey didn’t end with my role as Secretary General. I transitioned into the Uganda Medical Association, where I continued to contribute to shaping healthcare policies and advocating for medical professionals’ rights and welfare. I recognized the importance of engaging with government officials and policymakers to ensure healthcare professionals’ voices are heard.”
Leadership beyond medicine
Her leadership extends beyond the medical field. She has taken on significant roles in her local church and holds leadership responsibilities at King Caesar University. Her versatility and impact in diverse communities is evident. “I believe in excelling in leadership across various domains. It underscores my commitment to creating positive change.”
Indeed, she notes that leadership should not be looked at only from the perspective of positions. She encourages all young people to carry on the legacy, for the future is now. To her, leadership is a call to serve and give back to your community at the same time.
Her love for Arsenal Football Club found her partnering with a few of her colleagues—comprising both Arsenal supporters and non-supporters—in organizing a medical camp. Hundreds of community members in Ggaba, on the shores of Lake Victoria, received free health care and support during the Easter period of this year. To date, she continues to actively participate in medical camps and other charity events within her knowledge and reach.
Growing up as the eldest daughter in a large polygamous family profoundly influenced her leadership style. “These experiences taught me responsibility, communication, and unity even in challenging circumstances. I embraced the lessons of my upbringing and applied them to my leadership roles, becoming a compassionate and inclusive leader who values teamwork and collaboration.”
Resolute in her vision, Dr. Nabushawo looks to the future. “My commitment to this path reflects my deep passion for children and my desire to be their advocate,” she shares. “I aim to provide the highest quality of care to children, addressing their unique challenges, and improving their overall quality of life.”
Her comprehensive plan advocates for increased government investment, job creation, and doctor deployment. She envisions building a state-of-the-art health centre in her home district of Bududa, addressing the limited health facilities in the area, and creating a model for quality healthcare delivery in underserved regions.”
She notes that she fully understands the unique challenges her people in Bududa face regarding access to quality healthcare. She hopes to collaborate with other stakeholders to bring her vision to life. Her overarching goal is to “make a lasting impact on healthcare in my country and beyond.”
A bright future ahead
It has not been all rosy for Nabushawo. She has encountered several challenges so far as a young leader, but insists that they are almost the same problems older leaders encounter. “The only difference is that younger leaders are often despised and ridiculed,” she says.
Her journey is a testament to the transformative power of leadership, resilience, and advocacy. Her story inspires young leaders worldwide, demonstrating that age is not a barrier to creating lasting impact. As she contests for the Uganda Medical Association Secretary General position, she aims to reach new heights. She also aims to further her mission of creating a brighter and healthier future for all.
In a world that often questions youth leadership potential, her journey stands as a shining example of young leaders’ remarkable change. Her unwavering commitment to advocating for healthcare professionals’ rights and her dedication to providing quality healthcare have made a substantial impact. With her clear vision, unwavering purpose, and resilient spirit, Dr. Faith Nabushawo is poised to continue her transformation journey and lead the way to a brighter, healthier future for Uganda and beyond.