In November 2022, Jimmy Kosa took a massive step that brought him closer to achieving his dream of becoming a doctor and surgeon. That month, Jimmy received his Diploma in Nursing Science from Kampala International University, Uganda—a key component to being able to attend medical school.
“I could not have completed this course of study successfully without [Kapdia Education Foundation’s] financial support,” shares Jimmy, who has been a Kapadia Education Foundation (KEF) scholar since January 2020.
Even as a young boy, Jimmy knew he wanted to be a doctor: “Growing up, I wished there was a medical doctor coming from within my community. A medical doctor who would willingly offer advanced patient management [and] bring accessible, affordable, culturally responsive, and scientifically accurate methods of health care that the community can afford and sustain! This was the center of my motivation.”
But, Jimmy explains, the financial expenses associated with medical school are not something easily attainable for anyone in his community. In fact, much of Jimmy’s nursing education and first-hand experience has been possible due to the financial support of the KEF community. Various socioeconomic factors, which range from institutionalized poverty to generational trauma, have made higher education vastly inaccessible otherwise.
Jimmy shares that for a long time—and even still today—education was not viewed positively in his community and that where he lives in Northwestern Uganda is among the most illiterate regions in the country. In the eyes of many community members, school takes too long, leaving themselves—and their families—vulnerable to the iniquities associated with poverty.
And in addition to his community’s literacy rates, Jimmy shares that it’s also among the poorest in Uganda, resulting in additional inequities and societal difficulties.
Furthermore, there are the challenges of living in an intensely volatile region of the continent. At the South Sudan-Northern Uganda border, education was no stranger to violence, as rebels would often kidnap children from school and recruit them as soldiers.
But, while there are continuous tensions perpetuating the West Nile region, Jimmy has seen his community begin to embrace and reclaim education—though, it has been a slow process.
Growing up, I wished there was a medical doctor coming from within my community. This was the center of my motivation to become a medical doctor.
January 2020 was also a consequential moment, as it marked the moment in which COVID-19 cases were being globally documented and publicized. During this same time, Jimmy learned he would be able to resume his studies after a two-year hiatus thanks to a scholarship from Kapadia Education Foundation (KEF). This put him in a position in which he could apply what he was learning in a hands-on capacity—so he jumped into action.
Through KEF’s 2020 COVID-19 Emergency Funds grant program, Jimmy was provided personal protective equipment in order to safely volunteer at the Juba Teaching Hospital. As part of his volunteer program, Jimmy provided mental health and psychosocial support to COVID-19 patients and frontline workers.
This experience greatly inspired Jimmy, who started his own medical clinic in his community just over a year later, in July 2021. The clinic, which he named Pentium Health Care Clinic, is located in Yumbe, Uganda, and provides medical services to rural, typically impoverished people who have traditionally lacked access to quality medical care.
While juggling school, the clinic, and community volunteering is difficult, Jimmy credits being able to maintain a balance to his KEF mentor, Toby, who, as Jimmy puts it, “... [guided] my path during a time I needed it most.”
Despite the resources provided to Jimmy through KEF, though, it’s his determination that led to the successful building of Pentium Health Care Clinic.
In Pentium’s 2022 annual report, Jimmy shares the following: “With your support, we offered free medical consultations, reduced medicine prices and laboratory tests, [provided] family planning services, and raised Ebola disease awareness among students in Yumbe in 2022.”
KEF was able to provide a recreational grant to Pentium Health during the summer of 2022 in order to help the clinic increase its medicine stock, which includes antibiotics, antimalarials, antipyretics, antiemetics, antidiarrheals, antihistamines, and medicine for conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Additionally, the grant helped Jimmy and his team acquire rapid diagnostic test kits for the most common locally occurring diseases, including malaria, typhoid fever, HIV, syphilis, Hepatitis B, pregnancy tests, and Uristix.
Before Jimmy, his community did not have the proper access to universally treat these conditions—many of which are routinely treated with success in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Now, Jimmy is seeing his community’s quality of life begin to improve. In 2022 alone, the clinic served over 500 patients, supported 80 individuals in their family planning needs (including pregnancies), and visited 46 schools to provide young people with information on Ebola and COVID-19.
“I am super proud of the opportunity the clinic offers me to care for people who need care, comfort anxious people who need an ear to listen to them, and provide healing for diseased people,” Jimmy shares. “It is satisfying for me to see children, women, youths, and the elderly have their health fixed at Pentium Health Care Clinic.”
I am very happy about the warm, productive relationship I have with Toby. He helped me realize how important soft skills are in real life. Today, some of these soft skills are my strengths in my daily duties. There is a remarkable improvement in my leadership skills, communication skills, punctuality, trust, critical thinking, and empathy." - Jimmy when speaking about his KEF mentor, Toby B.
Ultimately, Jimmy shares that his journey to becoming a medical doctor is driven by his desire to help others: “I am who I am today because of acts of compassion shown to me by others. And I know how much little acts of kindness can impact someone's life or a community.”
Because of Jimmy’s inherent empathetic and caring nature, he answers the call to help whenever he gets the chance—just as he did during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, Jimmy hopes to pursue Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (BMS) degrees. In total, it will take five and half years (eleven semesters) of classes and an additional one-year internship. He’s not there yet, but he’s proven to accomplish what he can set his mind to.
In addition to his medical career, Jimmy shares that he also hopes to scale Pentium to be larger and serve even more people in need by becoming a hospital: “I look forward to partnering with government and nongovernmental organizations to help finance this hospital to render its services affordable or cost free, if possible. This way, the hospital becomes locally accessible and affordable to the local people. This would in turn improve the quality of lives of the people and increase their productivity.”
And while Jimmy is a superhero to us and his community, he ultimately wants what many of us desire: a family. He hopes to one day marry and raise kids who grow up to be “responsible global citizens.” Though, a complete dream for Jimmy would include twenty acres of farmland to practice his love of agriculture.
We hope to be alongside Jimmy as he turns this dream into reality.