Ugandan Reverand Sister Bags A PhD In Sweden

Ugandan Reverand Sister Bags A PhD In Sweden

Ugandan Reverand Sister Bags A PhD In Sweden

By Gonzaga M Stephen

Reverand Sr. Dr. Mary Margaret Ajiko a paediatric surgeon from Uganda was on Tuesday 14th March 2023 handed a PhD Award for defending her doctoral thesis on babies born with intestinal defects, including Anorectal Malformations (a congenital defect in which the opening to the anus is missing or blocked at birth).

Sr. Ajiko belongs to the Little Sisters of Immaculate Mary congregation attached to Gulu Catholic Archdiocese.

The nun received the award from one of the top medical training schools in the world, The Karolinska Institute to become Uganda’s first female PhD paediatric surgeon.

Her public defense was witnessed by Sr. Lydia Apili Bwo who represented the Superior General, Dr. Joseph Epodoi a colleague who together with other Doctors successfully separated conjoined twins at The Soroti Regional Referal Hospital.

Sr. Ajiko says her journey to the PhD started at the end of 2010 when she was transferred from St Joseph’s Hospital Kitovu in Masaka District to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, where she realised there were many children with surgical problems.

“The number of children with different surgical conditions was overwhelming and they were dropping out of school. Some had colostomy, some children were without anus, others had hernia, cleft lips, and many were suffering quietly until we started holding medical camps,” she said.

She also revealed that the famous conjoined twins who were separated at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital in March 2021, were discovered in a village during a medical camp.

“Because of the numerous surgical cases among children in the sub-region, I decided that instead of carrying out medical camps, I needed to do more research and get scientific evidence for policy makers,” Sr Ajiko added.

The nun became particularly interested in the care of children after observing the enormous disease burden and care delivery challenges.

In recognition of her contributions, President Museveni honored her with a scholarship to pursue a PhD at Karolinska Institute and this is what the country is currently celebrating.

Sr. Ajiko says she became a nun after admiring the sisters’ commitment to teaching and care for the sick although her father was concerned that becoming a nun would interfere with her education.

 About Dr. Sr. Ajiko

Dr. Sr. Mary Margaret Ajiko was born in Soroti, Northeast of Uganda, as one of the seven daughters.

She attended Soroti Primary school, where she emerged as the best student and joined Sacred Heart Girls Secondary School on a scholarship.

She attended Makerere University School of Medicine, and then while working at Kitovu Hospital in Masaka, she was mentored by a committed surgeon and Irish nun Dr. Maura Lynch and this inspired Sr. Ajiko to complete her surgical training at Makerere.