Education: medical graduates from UKZN are mostly women

2008-12-12 00:00

IF you still think this is a man’s world, think again.

This year, female medical graduates at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson R. Mandela Medical School took most of the places — 23 out of 30.

Leading the pack is 22-year-old Durban-born Sandika Baboolall. With an aggregate of 77,5 %, she scooped five awards and was declared the top student for 2008.

“I am extremely grateful for my results. It is a blessing and a gift,” said a beaming Baboolall.

She said her dad, who was also a doctor, always reminds her that she spoke of being a doctor from the age of two.

However, it was a visit to a surgical ward in grade 12, as part of her work experience initiative, that sealed her ambition.

“After interacting with the patients, I was inspired to be a better me for their benefit as well as my own personal development,” she said.

But don’t be fooled into thinking it has been easy sailing for Baboolall. She says life was never handed to her on a platter and she has had to work hard for her dreams. When she was eight, her father died from a heart attack and when she was 12, she lost her mother to breast cancer.

Helping her through were her 21-year-old sister, a final-year Law student, and her aunt.

“My sister and I are very close. She is my rock. She has been instrumental in my success and the guiding light in my journey. My aunt and her family have supported us and have also played an important part in my success and I thank them all.”

Next year, Baboolall will be doing her internship at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. She hopes to specialise in ophthalmology, the branch of medicine that deals with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways, including the eye and brain. “I want to get actively involved in Vision 2020, which … is a global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness.”

But until then, she said she is “a work in progress and her faith ensures that this journey is beautiful”.

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