I am Mary Namukisa, I was born on 13 Mar 1986. I finished my primary level in 1999 and in 2000 I joined a vocational institute known as Sseggayi Memorial that was started by Action Aid Uganda. This was because there was no money for me to have formal education so I trained in tailoring and completed with a certificate. I then started to vend home agricultural produce and later worked both as a tailor and cook in Mityana Secondary School (MSS) from Jan 2005 to Jun 2006 just to get money for a sewing machine.
In Jul 2006 I was given an opportunity by MSS to start form one and I accepted. I did not look back and in 2012 I completed advanced secondary education from the same school. I joined Mbarara University of Science and technology (MUST) for a bachelors degree in nursing on a government sponsorship. I competed my nursing training in 20216 and became the first member of the family and the community to have a university degree.
During my training I did a project on quality improvement for Mbarara regional referral hospital to ease the work of health workers and prevent accidents. With the help of SEEED Global Health Peace Corps Volunteers, I helped destitute patients to provide them with food, drugs and daily wound dressing. I did an one year Internship training from Kisiizi church of Uganda hospital that is Oct 2016-Oct 2017. I launched a physical fitness class for patients, caretakers and hospital staff. I taught in Kisiizi School of Nursing and Midwifery, participated in organizing continuous professional developments for staff and preparing departmental monthly audits.
From Dec 2017- Jun 2018 I started working with Uganda Virus Research Institute/International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (UVRI/IAVI) as a Nurse Counsellor on a project that focussed on having couples test and receive HIV results together. I participated in outreaches, organising entry community meetings for new studies, did back translations of informed consent documents and other medical related procedures.
From Sep 2018 to date I have been working with Medical Research Council /Uganda Virus Research Institute and London School OF Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as A Nursing Officer. I am working on adolescent studies focussing on HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young women at high risk of HIV. I also provide family planning to these girls to prevent unwanted pregnancies, treat them for sexually transmitted infections and other medical illnesses and assess for gender based violence.
Working with adolescent girls has given me a chance to interact with them, share my story, guide and advise them to quit risky behaviours that put their lives in danger. Many of them have positively changed and that feels like an award worn for me.