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Monday, 3 August 2015


If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you should probably know that I made my first trip to Rwanda in February. You can read the piece here.

I had planned to travel to Rwanda only once this year but events occurring between February and June made it inevitable for me to make a second trip.

The purpose of this second trip to Rwanda was to attend the 4th IPSF African Pharmaceutical Symposium (AfPS) 2015. IPSF stands for International Pharmaceutical Students Federation. The symposium, which was held at the headquarters of University of Rwanda in Kigali from the 9th-13th July 2015 under the theme, “Idealizing Pharmacy Profession by Promoting Research and Practice”, attracted over 300 Pharmacy students and Pharmacy professionals from east, west, south, and central Africa.

In order to make the trip and my stay more interesting and exciting, I made sure I did a few things differently this time round.

The Journey
Unlike in February when I travelled in the night, this time I travelled during day, therefore I got to appreciate the beauty of western Uganda more. And I also used a different bus service, Trinity express, which even turned out to be more comfortable (I forgot to take pictures of the interior of the bus) and the fare was shs.40, 000 only. It’s one bus that I would recommend if you’re travelling from Kampala to Kigali. At the boarder I used my recently acquired national ID.

I was the only Ugandan at the symposium
It wasn’t my making, that I would be the only Ugandan at the symposium; the rest of my colleagues couldn’t make it for various reasons.

My proudest moment: When I received the Uganda national flag. On my right is Ms. Ange Marie Uwase (chairperson of the symposium). On my right is Prosper Maposa ( Chairperson of IPSF Afro Region)
However being the only one representing Uganda, I made sure my presence was felt. I engaged a few delegates to find out what they knew about Uganda by asking them to tell me anything they knew about Uganda. I found the responses quite interesting.

Alice from Rwanda felt in love with our beautiful national flag.

“I know Eddy Kenzo, the guy who sang sitya loss”, said Francis from Ivory Coast.

Alain from Democratic Republic of Congo gave a similar response. In case you ever doubted the popularity of our very own Eddy Kenzo (BET winner), there you have it.

Jacobs and Mgambi from Tanzania told me they know of Zari. For my readers who may not have knowledge of Zari, she is a socialite in Kampala who is currently dating a Tanzanian musician called Diamond Platinum.

The most shocking response was by a lady from Kenya who told me with confidence that Makerere University is in Tanzania. She told me to hide her identity in this blog. Are you wondering how she came to that conclusion? 

“Julius Nyerere (former President of Tanzania) studied at  Makerere University, so Makerere University should be in Tanzania”, she confidently told me.

I forgave her for her ‘incorrect’ knowledge and I hope students from Makerere University who are reading this can also do the same.

Scientific Symposium
Several sub topics were discussed including: Antimicrobial Resistance; Patient-centered care and follow up;  traditional medicine and Non- communicable diseases (NCDs); research development, an area for improvement in Africa, counterfeit drug and health care outcomes, generic manufacturers versus branded manufacturers, global health perspective towards NCDs and  Innovations in health.

Sharing a light moment with Mr. Samuel Opio. He is the secretary of Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda. He gave a very captivating talk on Innovation. 
I made my presentation under the subtopic of innovations in health. My presentation was entitled, “Use of Social Media to Promote Health; Case Study of the Medical Concierge Group (TMCG)”. You can download the presentation here.

Social events
The symposium had several social events among others, international night, auction night, cultural night and gala night. Each country represented at the symposium was required to make a show of something about their culture; music, dance, drama or a simple talk.

Despite the fact that I was the only one from Uganda, I wasn’t exempted from performing in the international night.  With my undergraduate gown as my costume, I showcased the culture at Makerere University to the rest of Africa.

You can always trust the sharpness of Makereans.

Who told you Pharmacy students aren't good at dancing?

A skit by our host about the Rwanda Genocide.

I forgot the name of this popular Kinyarwanda dance. It's one where you swing your hands around,

I was also given the opportunity to host the IPSF white coat dinner and gala night.

Special thanks
I would like to specially thank the following people; my dad for funding part of the trip; Dr. David Musinguzi (Managing Director TMCG) for guiding me in making the presentation and Reception Committee (RC) of 4th IPSF AfPS.
The RC that was chaired by Ms. Marie Ange Uwase did exceedingly well in organizing the symposium.
Meet the stunningly beautiful Ms. Marie Ange Uwase. 

In the second part, read about our post symposium tour in the South West of Rwanda in Nyungwe National Forest Park.