Hello, I am Gaston Ndagijimana, a third-year medical student at the University of Rwanda, and an active member of MSFC Rwanda. MSFC stands for Medical Students For Choice, and I am part of the Huye Chapter. In this blogpost, I’ll share my experiences and insights from the MSFC East Africa Regional Meeting, held in Kigali, Rwanda, on the 26th of August 2023.
About the MSFC East Africa Regional Meeting
Every two years, medical students from the East African region come together at the MSFC East Africa Regional Meeting. This meeting serves as a platform for students to discuss critical topics related to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and exchange expertise. It equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to become future leaders in the field of comprehensive reproductive healthcare, including safe abortion care.
Activities at the Regional Meeting
- Panel Discussions: The meeting featured panel discussions where experts, healthcare providers, activists, and students shared their perspectives and knowledge on SRH. These discussions were invaluable for gaining diverse insights and ideas.
- MVA Safe Abortion Simulation Training: One of the highlights for me was the MVA Safe Abortion simulation training. It provided me with practical skills and knowledge in safe abortion care through interactive learning and hands-on activities.
- Networking and Collaboration: The event facilitated networking and collaboration opportunities with both international and local participants. Building professional relationships is vital for advancing our common goals.
- Keynote Presentations: We had the privilege of listening to representatives from MSFC chapters across different countries. They shared the achievements and operations of their chapters, which were both inspiring and enlightening.
Making a Difference in Reproductive Healthcare
These activities play a pivotal role in advancing reproductive healthcare rights and access. Panel discussions and training equip students with the knowledge and skills to be champions of comprehensive reproductive healthcare. Networking enhances collaboration, which is crucial in advocating for improved reproductive healthcare services.
Challenges are an integral part of such conferences. Language barriers and logistical issues were among the challenges. However, these challenges were overcome through teamwork, patience, and adaptability.
Impact on Healthcare Services
The knowledge and skills gained from the conference will undoubtedly have a positive impact on both patients and students. As future healthcare providers, we are better equipped to provide safe and comprehensive reproductive healthcare services.
Advice to Students Interested in establishing an MSFC Chapter at their Medical School
For students interested in starting an MSFC chapter at their medical school, my advice is simple: be passionate, persistent, and collaborative. These qualities are essential for driving positive change in the field of reproductive healthcare.
In conclusion, the MSFC East Africa Regional Meeting was a transformative experience. It equipped us with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to be advocates for reproductive healthcare rights and access. Together, we can shape a future with universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, comprehending safe abortion.
Thank you for joining me on this journey to empower medical students for reproductive healthcare.