Christian Mazimpaka is the president of the Medical Students’ Association of Rwanda (MEDSAR) who doubles as the National Representative of the International Federation of Students’ Associations (IFMSA) in Rwanda. He is also the focal person for the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) project of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
What is the Medical Students’ Association of Rwanda, and when was it formed?
MEDSAR is an independent, non-governmental and non-political organ of medical students of Rwanda .It was founded in 1997 and is run for and by medical students on a non-profit basis. It is officially recognised by what were The University of Rwanda, the District of Huye, and the district of Nyarugenge.
MEDSAR works with the WHO/Rwanda, the Ministry of Health, Rwanda Biomedical Center, LUCS/NUR, CHUB and CNLS in various health campaigns and projects. MEDSAR has been working in the regions of Butare and Kigali assisting and empowering the community services activities of the University such as health education, rural development etc. MEDSAR is a member of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), and the Federation of African Medical Students’ Association (FAMSA).
When did you join the association, and how did you rise to the top?
I have worked for MEDSAR since my admission to University. I participated in most of its activities and was elected by the general assembly in 2012 as president.
Currently, I am a medical student at the National University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, now at level 6 of the medical program. I’m doing my clinical practice at CHUK department of Surgery.
How does one join the association?
Every medical student is eligible for membership in MEDSAR after a one day seminar workshop on MEDSAR activities and structures.
What are some of your achievements so far?
Currently we have one project running in Butare named Stop Prostitution around the Campus (SPAC). We are starting a new health education project against major public health problems including non-communicable diseases in collaboration with the Danish Youth Council, this February.
One of the missions of MEDSAR is to initiate programs whose aim is to promote the standard of life for Rwandan citizens. This mission is achieved through education, advocacy and collaboration with other national and international organisations.
Some projects initiated since 2004 are: the Stop Prostitution around the Campus (SPAC) with Abiyemejeguhinduka Cooperative, and the Rwanda Health Education Project (RHEP).
RHEP is a project that is running in partnership with the International Medical Cooperation Committee (IMCC) Rwanda, a Danish Organisation. It comprises two parts: Youth Health Education, and Family Health Education Projects (YHEP and FHEP respectively). Our target group is young people of secondary schools and youth centers in Kigali and Southern Province. Amongst topics we teach there are: Reproductive health, maternal health and pre-natal care, HIV/AIDS prevention, and other infectious diseases such as malaria, TB, worms and other sexually transmitted infections.