It's Tandem Tuesday - Meet Debora and Edward!

Aktualisiert: 12. Nov. 2019

For Debora and Edward, two devoted health sector professionals, the Global Match journey is helpful to pursue their dream of creating a positive difference in people’s lives by improving health care systems as well as education in the health sector. Both very patient, empathetic and open-minded individuals, they started their journey with a vision:

Debora from Karlsruhe just finished her studies in medical software engineering this year and applied to Global Match because she valued the idea of connecting like-minded people from the Global North and South on an eye-level basis, and also because she already had a certain link to Uganda, where she is now headed for an internship until the end of the year. Edward is a practicing pathologist in Kampala, Uganda, also working in laboratory medicine and as a lecturer at the university. He was introduced to the platform by a friend who had participated as a tandem in the first generation and was attracted by the idea to meet and interact with people from the Global North, creating something sustainable together.

Having reached mid-way of their journey, they have so far enjoyed their honest exchange not only about the different medical systems in their countries, but also about postcolonial power imbalances giving them a lot of input to process together and opportunities to learn from each other. In doing so, they discovered valued similarities such as them both being catholic or their common interest in the medical sector. One of the most striking findings for them was the fact that both their countries’ medical systems are facing comparable struggles such as the rising lack of (well-trained) health workers – with the only difference, that according to them, the German government seems to be more engaged to improve this situation through political measures.

Facing this and other issues, they quickly agreed on a project idea radiating around these issues and more specifically focusing on quality education as one of the Sustainable Development Goals: One part of the project would be to support and improve courses at the medical school Edward is teaching at – where adequate training equipment is often missing – for example by gathering sorted out first aid packages from Germany. However here, Debora put special emphasis on the risk of a continued power imbalance with materials being thrown away on the one side of the world and then used in medical services on the other. Aware of this issue, they therefore strive to limit material donations to teaching and always make sure only high quality, unexpired products are being used in patient care. At the same time on a positive outlook, Debora hopes to change the mindset in Germany regarding consumption and waste, advocating recycling as a worthy alternative.

Another aspect of their project is one especially close to Edward’s heart: He wishes for Ugandan medical students – after their improved training – to be able to go to Germany in the context of one-year internship programs, both enlarging their professional opportunities and also tackling the German lack of health workers. In exchange, German students should also be able to participate, for example on study trips to Uganda to learn more practically about infectious diseases and tropical medicine, all the while pushing forward research in this field, which is still too underrepresented, if not neglected in the Global North. With these ideas in mind, Debora and Edward are currently contacting health sector officials in Uganda and also think of reaching out all the same in Germany. Besides, they are enjoying their time in Kampala while Debora is visiting, continuing to learn from each other but also leaving on trips and going to church together. So far, their expectations of the exchange have been met and even surpassed. Together, they hope to build something sustainable that is going to last and improve people’s lives in the long term, through better medical services in both countries and – on a bigger picture – through reduced unemployment.

We as the Global Match team wish them success in their endeavors, continuous progress in the project work and a splendid time in Uganda!

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