PROJECT SUCCESS: Worodria’s triumph from a ruined life

In Part XV of Project Success, which resumes after a break enforced by extensive coverage of recent breaking stories like the Bududa landslides and the Kasubi fire, we track down Dr William Ofuti Worodria, Uganda’s third best O-Level student of 1985. He tells his story to Tabu Butagira

Monday April 5 2010



By Tabu Butagira

Parents in Kampala rushed their children to Ombaci and some of the children landed in the football pitch by helicopters. Neighbours gathered sightseeing the power and wonders of formal education. It was a slim chance, and glowing one, for local students to get a slot at the college that set prohibitive cut-off mark and charged high tuition.

Comeback king
Worodria made a comeback to Ombaci for his A-level studies and took a Physics, Chemistry and Biology subjects’ combination; eying to become doctor.
He was bodily fit. But if wars that chained him home annoyed, the distress of resulting physical ruins was yet to confront the tested student.

The science laboratories had been vandalised. The Biology teacher quit for a better-paying job and Chemistry lessons were “sporadic”. General Paper was never taught and only Mr Nelson Ozimati endured to handle Physics.

“We had to go in the villages and dig and trap the rats and catch frogs in valleys and bring them to the lab to use for Biology practicals,” says Mr Worodria, “Yet in the end, all Biology students in our set scored principal passes.”

The determination among that breed of students may be an uncommon virtue today but Dr Worodria, inspired by his predecessors and late father Edward Bajole Ofuti, is straight on how students can get it right.

“Where there is a will, there is a way...if students put in extra effort through team work and make the most use of available facilities, they can succeed,” counsels Dr Worodria now pursuing a PhD degree in Medicine (HIV/TB Care), at Antwerp University in Belgium.

The teamwork thing after all enabled him press the buttons of success in A-level and after years. He scored As in Physics and Biology and scored a B in Chemistry (with a D1 in Subsidiary Mathematic and C5 in GP), gathering in excess of points required to enlist for his treasured Bachelor of Medicine/Surgery course at Makerere University in October 1998. Having lived in Kampala only as an infant, a return to the city was both exciting and challenging. Dr Worodria began his education at Kitante Primary School and at the time, his father Ofuti had worked as a Laboratory Technologist at Mulago Hospital.

He was a strict disciplinarian and the tight control brought Dr Worodria some lessons and dividends in adult life. As a high-flying A-level performer, then Mr Worodria each term pocketed a special stipend – a government bonus for A scores - from the Dean’s office; healing his financial blues. There was, however, an odd that erupted on another front.

“Makerere was pretty tough, new environment; my course mates came from better endowed schools and were more exposed,” he says thoughtfully, “We had a group of students who preferred to speak in Luganda during dissection sessions in our First Year lessons on Human Anatomy and I was completely lost and felt like an outsider.”
But a man who sailed through the rough waters of wars, debilitating sickness and biting poverty had sufficient resilience to withstand discrimination. In the end, Dr Worodria, by sticking to the virtuous of “honesty, truthfulness and hard work” managed to placate and network with some of the indifferent characters.
After leaving university in 1993, he worked as an intern at Nsambya Hospital that same year before he joined Maracha Missionary Hospital as a medical officer between 1994 and 1997.

Others’ take
His simplicity, professionalism and affable nature have impressed his supervisors and juniors alike.
“What I know is that he (Dr Worodria) has been a disciplined student, obedient, ethical and a time-keeper,” says Dr Okot Nwang, a mentor.

Dr Worodria, who holds a Masters degree in Internal Medicine (Makerere), says he’s professionally more fulfilled by grooming health workers through teaching medical students, supervising interns and mentoring young doctors.
Ms Evelyn Candiru is the woman in his life and the couple has three children.

**Editor’s Note: Project Success will run every Monday

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