After months of discussions, inspections and negotiations, the Burundian Ministry of Higher Education has finally approved the HAU medical education program. Various doctors, administrators and government officials have been involved in this process. It is a testimony to their hard work and perseverance that this day has finally arrived.
Graduates Able to Take Next Steps Now
The almost 30 students who have finished their medical studies at HAU and the Frank Ogden School of Medicine are also celebrating this week. When the paperwork is finished, they will receive their diplomas. More than a piece of paper to frame on the wall, these diplomas will allow our students to continue their journey to serve the healthcare needs of Burundians and others across the region. For some of these students, their next step will be looking for employment as a general medical officer while others will be applying for further educational opportunities. We are thankful that our students can go forward with confidence that their hard work will result in recognition from local and regional authorities.
“Dr. Miller, can you help me?”
This is a common question from medical students these days. The high cost of education, especially during the clinical years, is a constant challenge for our students. HAU is required to pay high fees to local hospitals so that our students can rotate in their departments. These costs are passed on to students who are struggling to find funds even as the Burundian economy continues to decline. The cost for a year of school fees in the clinical years is from $1500 to $3500 USD depending on the year and whether the student lives on campus. When you give toward medical student scholarships through Friends of Hope Africa University, we are able to at least offer some help to some students. Every week I meet with students in my office who have exhausted their family’s resources and are asking for help so that they can continue.
On Friday, Larissa told me that after three years of medical school, she is going to have to drop out as her family can no longer pay the full amount. Earlier in the week, I received Leocadie, another student who is balancing family with the demands of medical school. Her husband had been supporting her studies but recently lost his job. She is in her next to last year of medical school. Will she have to drop out of school this close to the end? I don’t know the answer yet.
Thank you for praying with us for the many HAU medical students. Pray that they are able to focus on their studies despite the distractions of finances and turmoil in the country. And if you would like to sponsor one of these students or give toward the scholarship fund, please don’t delay. (You can give electronically or send your gift the old-fashioned way to:
Friends of Hope Africa University
PO Box 580
Spring Arbor, MI 49283