Interview with Ms. Rose Adjei-Bempah
For our student interview section this month, we’ve been talking with some wonderful people who manage to pursue their interests even outside the spheres of the medical education that were all getting. Today, we bring to you our discourse with Ms. Rose Adjei – Bempah a member of the UGSMD Class of 2021. A lady who embodies the ‘Never Give Up’ spirit and who proves that when you have a passion for something, you must go for it, and strive to excel at it!
UGMSA Editorial Board (UEB): Hello Rose, we’re glad to meet up with you today! To begin, tell us about yourself: Who is Rose Adjei – Bempah?
Ms. Rose Adjei- Bempah (RAB): I describe myself as a passionate Go Getter, someone with ‘The Gift of the GAB’. Someone who is confident and manages to convince people too. It doesn’t work every time, but I consider even 50% a success!
UEB: So what motivated you to pursue Medicine? Have you always wanted to be doctor?
RAB: I have always wanted this, and I have been confident in myself, especially academically. In school I was what we call a ‘shark’ and after the BECE, I was awarded the President’s Award. I entered Achimota Senior High School and had aspirations to apply for medical school after WASSCE. I entered KNUST where my interest in Medicine pushed me to do Medical Physics. After school I did my National Service at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Oncology Department, where I worked with the radiotherapy team, to treat cancer patients. While there, I noticed that many of the patients that we treated didn’t do so well, and were usually managed on palliative care. This sparked my interest in preventive medicine and I was motivated to pursue health promotion and public health.
Now I have two loves: Medicine and Public Health.
I first applied for GEMP after National Service but I was not selected for the program, so I left to Paris, France where I did a Masters in Public health for 2 years. I worked a bit and heard again that GEMP was taking in students. I applied again, and at a greater cost, because I moved totally from Paris; I even sold some stuff and moved back to Ghana for this!
I entered in January 2017 and I’m here today J
UEB: We know that you’re involved in other activities aside Medical School: what are they? And what is your motivation to keep pursuing and sustaining these interests?
RAB: My interests border on my two loves again, and GEMP is actually hard, but pursuing public health activities even here keeps me going.
Since I came here, I’ve had an interest in the IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students Association) and I’m currently the working with SCORA (Standing Committee on Sexual and Reproductive Health including HIV/AIDS). I had the opportunity to organize the Paris World Health Organization simulation during my studies in France, and from my exposure I applied for the World Health Assembly (WHA). It was an opportunity to discuss pertinent Global health issues that interest me very much, with delegates from the world over.
I recently had the opportunity do to an internship at the World Health Organization. I gave the keynote address at the annual international meeting, where I shared my perspectives as a future health care professional. It was a memorable experience.
I am constantly motivated by my passion and love for what I do, knowing that I will impact many lives.
My strong support team keeps me motivated as well: friends, family, and SCORA team members, who are constantly behind me in all I do.
UEB: What are the challenges that you have faced in combining studies and these interests?
RAB: There is a lot of sacrifice involved in all that I have done, honestly. Lectures missed and even people misunderstanding my interests, among many other hurdles. Nonetheless, I believe that Public health and Medicine must go together. We must look at the access and quality of care, socioeconomic factors, and management of resources in addition to the delivery of healthcare in hospital. In the bigger picture, these two fields are not entirely different…they must go hand in hand.
UEB: Wow, so how do you cope?
RAB: God is in control! Even if I had a referral, it would still be okay, because it’s another opportunity to relearn. I try to do my best at all the things that I set before me. I must say that my GEMP classmates have been so helpful! They text me reminders, and take pictures of their notes to share with me even when I am away on conferences, and I’m grateful to them.
UEB: So how has your experience of Medical School been so far?
RAB: It’s been Amazing, Honestly. Recently at a conference, I was given a name tag with ‘student’ written under my name. Initially I was not very pleased with it (lol) considering that I have worked for quite a while before coming back to school. Thinking back however, I realized that being a student is actually great! In school, aside the exams and the sleepless nights trying to learn, it’s like the best thing ever. It’s an opportunity to learn and meet so many wonderful people. Right now, the world is interested in the African youth; what they have to say and what they plan to do, and it’s the best time to be a student.
UEB: What is your favorite memory in Medical School?
RAB: This will probably be how I finally entered Medical School. It was my second application, so I tried to get all my documents and transcripts together and prepared to deliver during the exam and the interview. However I felt the interview didn’t go so well, I even told some friends that I probably would not enter. Surprisingly that evening, one of the lecturers who interviewed me called my dad, that they were actually considering taking me in the program. I was so elated and I’m glad it all worked out.
UEB: What do you do for fun aside what we know you for?
RAB: Well, I like to go out; hang out with friends, chit chat and hear what others have to say. I like to meet new people and I do this often when I have the time.
UEB: What’s your advice to current and future medical students?
RAB: For current medical students: Have a love for what you’re doing, even if it is on IFMSA or UGMSA level. Life is more than Medical school, and although medical school is tough, don’t allow it to bring you down! The world is itching to see the youth on the forefront. Find other interests and pursue them… be it in the field of music, of art or whatever. Even if it’s solely Medicine, still do it with all your might!
For future medical students: Don’t just come to Medical school because people want you to do it. From my experience going round all these years, I know this is actually what I want for myself. Don’t just come for money, prestige or to please people. Do your research on exactly what you want. With my public health interest in mind, even on the ward, I still think of all the implications and impact of what I learn and encounter.
UEB: Any final remarks for us?
RAB: Yes, I would say that it’s okay to fail. In my pursuits, I cannot count the number of times I have been turned down, even for things or jobs I knew I was good for. There have been times they bounce me and I don’t even understand: even for SCORA and FGMSA applications. But sometimes you need to fail, maybe that’s not the best for you. There are times I’m devastated, but I learn eventually that it’s been God preparing me for better things. Even when you fail, work hard toward what you want and try again.
Don’t be Afraid to fail. Just enter, and when you fail, know that it is a learning experience. Build yourself and come back stronger!
UEB: Thank you Very much Rose J