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The UCL Square Alumni Foundation realised my childhood dream to study pharmacy in Botswana

The views expressed in this letter are those of the author’s. If you would like to submit a letter to The Pharmaceutical Journal, please click here.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa have a shortage of pharmacists, and this is because of a lack for funding for pharmacy education. We need intervention in this situation if we are going to meet the pharmaceutical and healthcare needs of this region, and I am part of this effort.

I am currently enrolled in the pharmacy programme at the University of Botswana, and here’s how the Square Alumni Foundation — founded by alumni of the University College London School of Pharmacy — financially helped me in this endeavour.

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a healthcare professional, and my journey towards becoming one started in 2014, when I enrolled for a diploma in pharmacy technology at the Institute of Health Sciences in Gaborone, Botswana.

From the very beginning of the programme, I was enamoured with my pharmaceutical studies, and my interest only increased. It was during a practical rotation in one of the hospitals that I became even more challenged by and fascinated with the profession; this was when I knew that, after my diploma, a degree in pharmacy was my destiny. I worked with a team of pharmacists, whose dedication and diligence cemented my desire to pursue my studies further.

I spent eight months in a community pharmacy after completing my diploma. The pharmacist in charge and my mentor motivated me to apply to the University of Botswana for a Bachelor’s degree programme in pharmacy. I took their advice, despite knowing financial challenges could block my path to study.

I was accepted! And I applied for a scholarship from the Square Alumni Foundation, which I was offered too. The foundation’s scholarship allowed me to enrol in the school of pharmacy and I have not looked back since then.

I thank the foundation; I am to not only be a brilliant pharmacist, but also inspire the youth and spark hope for the disadvantaged.

The foundation is doing great work; it has also helped students in other countries, such as Malawi, Namibia and Ethiopia, with tuition and other learning materials, including books, computers and iPads.

For more information about the foundation, contact philip.harrison@squarealumni.org or visit www.squarealumni.org

Mompati Letsweletse, pharmacy student, University of Botswana

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2021.20208691

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