Leading up to the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11), Alive Medical Services is recognizing one of our own: Saudah Asiimwe Kiganda, head of the laboratory. Saudah has been at Alive since 2008, joining the team at the clinic’s beginnings. Today, she manages nine other laboratory professionals and oversees over 5,100 laboratory tests every month.
“In the lab, we uncover the root causes of why someone is sick, and give doctors the information they need to help the clients get better,” Saudah said.
Around the world, women are highly underrepresented in the field of science. The probability of female students graduating with a master’s degree in a science-related field is just 8% – compared to the probability of male students, which is more than double the female ratio.
“If women are given a chance, they can achieve scientific breakthroughs,” Saudah said. “When a woman puts effort into something, she goes all the way.”
When Saudah was just 17, she was recognized as the best in biology throughout the entire region of Western Uganda. Though Saudah was first interested in marine biology, she gradually became more interested in working with people – and investigating the reasons behind illness in evidence-based ways.
She left her hometown of Kabale to start her diploma in biological sciences after finishing secondary school. Soon after, she began her degree in medical laboratory science at Makerere University, and gained laboratory experience working at three clinics in Kampala.
In 2008, Saudah joined Alive’s three-person laboratory team. Since then, she’s watched the team triple in size as the clinic’s client-base has expanded: in 11 years, AMS has gone from having six clients to over 13,500. Since joining the laboratory, Saudah has spearheaded a number of improvements throughout the years, including but not limited to contributing to increasing the variety of tests provided, improving laboratory safety, and increasing the number of certificates the team has received.
“Seeing the progress our team has made pushes me to achieve more,” Saudah said. “It’s exciting to keep improving.”
Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science to all our female colleagues, friends, family, and supporters!