On Sunday, August 28, 2022, the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) graduated its seventh cohort of its Master of Science in Global Health Delivery (MGHD) class of 2022 in a ceremonious event held at the university’s campus in Butaro, Burera district, in northern Rwanda.
The global health sciences institution graduated 44 students hailing from 11 countries globally, including Burundi, Canada, Ethiopia, India, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, the United States of America, and Zambia. Each student specialised in one of the three tracks in the program, either Health Management (HM), One Health (OH) or Gender and Sexual Reproductive Health (GSRH) - a new track that was added to the program last year.
The ceremony was graced by Her Excellency, the First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda, Mrs Jeannette Kagame who is also the Co-chair of the UGHE Africa Advisory Board. Other guests included Ophelia Dahl, Board Chair of Partners In Health, Lesley King, UGHE Board Chair, Government officials, representatives from Partners in Health Rwanda, UGHE Partners and Supporters, MGHD graduands and their invited guests as well as UGHE Faculty, staff, students and contractors.
The MGHD Commencement is an annual event that wraps up a rigorous year that students spend at the university navigating the principles of global health, One Health, epidemiology, global health policy, sexual reproductive health, entrepreneurship, management, gender equity, health finance, anthropology, history, and leadership.
“What fascinated me about UGHE is the fact that the global health sciences university is based in Rwanda and how the One Health Program is developed with a perspective of the community it is meant to serve,” said MGHD’22 graduand, Dr Mahlet Tadesse Admasu from Ethiopia.
Leveraging on its unique location in the rural north of Rwanda, UGHE’s MGHD program offers hands-on learning experiences allowing students to witness and tackle health inequity challenges head-on by thoroughly analyzing all social determinants of health that hinder access to healthcare among disadvantaged communities.
“UGHE is proud today to congratulate 44 health professionals who will be joining the 175 UGHE alumni who are committed to delivering equitable quality health care to all leaving no one behind,” said UGHE’s Vice Chancellor Dr Agnes Binagwaho.
“I urge you to build on the diverse global networks that you have gained while at UGHE combined with the knowledge and skills impacted upon you by UGHE’s world class faculty to impact change not only in your home countries but globally,” she added.
UGHE’s community was thrilled to attend an in-person graduation ceremony since the past two similar events were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the loss of the University’s Chancellor and Founder, Dr Paul Farmer, who passed away in February this year, the students, staff and faculty of UGHE have been resilient in carrying out his legacy.
“I will be a global health professional who leads with intentionality, dignity and integrity”, echoed the MGHD graduands while they together recited their code of honour as their ultimate pledge to serving their communities.
In congratulating the graduands, UGHE’s Board Chair, Lesley King, thanked the UGHE faculty and staff for their commitment to achieving excellence as they trained the next generation of global health professionals.
In delivering her keynote speech, Partners in Health Board Chair, Ophelia Dahl, said that the success of UGHE is proof that long-term investment and a steadfast focus on equity in health care can lead to generational change.
“I hope and trust that today’s graduating class will treat, counsel, heal, and advocate for the most marginalized without discrimination. Your success will testify to the fact that UGHE is a scalable and replicable model of an education system intended to serve all," she added.
The ceremony concluded with Her Excellency First Lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame and Ophelia Dahl planting a tree as a tribute to the late Dr Paul Farmer. UGHE is an initiative of Partners in Health whose mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care.
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