Her love for children has motivated Nabushawo to become a pediatrician

Faith Nabushawo is doing her medical internship at Mulago National Referral Hospital where she has been for a year now, having graduated with a Bachelors degree in Medicine and Surgery from Kampala International University (KIU).

Throughout her life, Nabushawo has had passion and love for young children that she says saw her choose the difficult but fulfilling path of becoming a pediatrician.

“I have always loved children. I play with them. I have been in a children’s church as their Sunday school teacher for as long as I can remember. I think children are innocent, they cannot advocate for themselves.  I therefore wanted to be their advocate especially on health issues,” Nabushawo says. 

“There’s something about kids that draws me to them. Children don’t pretend and what you see about them is what you get. When they are sick, they won’t pretend to be strong, when they’re fine you will see them playing. It’s easy to deal with them. I just love kids.”


A child of Mbale, she went to Nabuyonga Primary School, a UPE school in Mbale where she says she performed so well before joining Hamdan Girls’ High School in the same area for her O-level.

“I was put in day section because the boarding fees were too high that my dad couldn’t afford them. I had to walk a long distance to and from school,” she says.

According to Nabushawo, this resilience and discipline paid off when the school offered her a bursary and in the UCE exams she was the second-best performer in the school.

She says that whereas she didn’t want, she was forced to return to the same school for her A-level studies because they had offered her another bursary and her father could not afford paying for her fees.

Record breaker

According to Nabushawo, before she joined the school, no student doing sciences at Hamdan Girls’ High School had ever passed A-level but this was about to change with her.

“My parents were contacted and warned against taking me back to this school because as a brilliant girl, many thought I was only wasting two years in the school and in the end I would fail just like everyone else.  My parents were asked to take me to a better school and indeed, I also wanted to join what I thought was a better school,” she says.

She explains that whereas she wanted a better school, her parents could not pay for her and the only way out was accepting the bursary offered to her at Hamdan Girls Secondary School.

“Finally, I told my parents I would go back to the school. I remember telling my dad that I would give books my best and focus on changing the history of the school in sciences. I was determined to change things at the school.”

Indeed, Nabushawo changed things becoming the overall best student. She did Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Subsidiary Math.

She paralysed the school when she went to pick her results and every student wanted to catch a glimpse of the record breaker.

Tough journey

Nabushawo applied to several universities for a Bachelors degree in Medicine and Surgery but at the same time for a diploma in clinical medicine.

This was her fallback position that in case she could not afford tuition for a bachelor’s degree, she would at least not fail to get money for a diploma in Clinical Medicine and that she would upgrade later.

In 2014, she was admitted to Kampala International University but she also tried her luck with the Higher Education Student Financing Board for a higher education student loan.

As luck would have it, when she submitted her request for the loan, she was successful.

“Despite my tuition being paid for by government, I almost dropped out in my third year because other utilities like rent and upkeep were becoming too hard to access since the scholarship I had didn’t cater for these. At that point I was being chased by landlords and felt had nowhere to go to,” she says.

Nabushawo says at one time she had to work as a caretake for some family and her work entailed cleaning and looking for tenants to occupy the houses whereas her pay for this work was free accommodation.

“Time came when this job was no more and I had to look for where to stay. Because I had nowhere to stay, I decided to quit school.”

She says that one time she spoke to one of the professors at university and because she was known to be humble and obedient, support was offered to her and consequently she got a lifeline to stay in school.

Pediatrician dream kept alive

Nabushawo says in all this, her pediatrician dream was still alive but was further fueled by one Dr. Damalie Nabukeera , a pediatrician who not only taught her but made her fall in more love with the profession.

“She taught me for one semester but she was kind. I liked how she handled the children in ward. She was so gentle on them and I decided I wanted to be like her, “she says.

She noted that as time went by her love and passion for children through being a pediatrician continued to grow until now when she is left with just a few weeks to complete her internship.

“I have already secured a scholarship and admission to do my Masters in Pediatrics. I was asked by close friends if I was sure I wanted to do pediatrics but I told them I had long made that decision and I wouldn’t change it. From the word go, I wanted to identify with the kids. I didn’t want anyone to encourage me or convince me to do pediatrics,” she says.

She says whereas some of her friends discouraged her from following her passion to becoming a pediatrician saying the job is not well paying, she ignored the naysayers.

“Money is not my motivation.  It is the children, not anything or anyone else.”

The future

She says in future she has dreams of standing for a political office, specifically as Bududa District Woman MP to continue advocating for children.

“That is the reason I am going back to school for masters immediately after internship so that by 2026, I am a Pediatrician and can enter the political race too,” she says.

She also has some advice for girls whom she says ought to follow their dreams.

“All things are possible. We are responsible for what we become. You can take advice from people but at the end of it all, what you do is entirely your decision.  Make the right decisions. Stop comparing your life with anyone else’s.”

Nabushawo says comparing herself to others almost made her quit sciences for arts subjects and she almost missed out on her dream of becoming a pediatrician.

“Never forget being disciplined. Have a plan and stick to it. Humility and persistence cannot be over emphasized.”

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