It was cheers and ululations for Dr Faheema Abdoola when she graduated from the MBChB programme summa cum laude.

The 23-year-old from Umhlanga topped the final-year class of 2012, receiving a slew of awards in recognition of her outstanding academic achievements from first to final year at UKZN. 

A recipient of the L C Robinson Scholarship for being the top registered undergraduate student, Abdoola also scooped the College of Health Sciences Prize for being the top final-year MBChB student in 2012 as well as the Dr Y K Seedat prize, also awarded to the top student.

Her standards of excellence follow her from Danville Park Girls’ High School where she finished third among the KwaZulu-Natal public school matriculants in 2007.

‘It’s quite unbelievable. My family’s ecstatic! I could never thank them enough for the support and encouragement,’ she said.

Abdoola found her rotations through Paediatrics the most enjoyable part of her undergraduate training. She is currently doing her internship at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Phoenix, which she says is a great working environment with an exceptionally supportive team of healthcare workers.

But she also had high praise for UKZN: ‘The staff at UKZN, including senior lecturers and heads of departments, gave time to impart invaluable knowledge to undergraduate students from their wealth of experience – which today helps us in seeing to our own patients.’

The highlight of Abdoola’s studies was their rural rotation where the class was given the opportunity to work in a rural district hospital during the Family Medicine block of the MBChB programme.

‘I was based at Eshowe Hospital and learned an incredible amount from the doctors I worked with. They use innovative thinking and drive to continually improve standards of care with their limited available resources. This was truly inspiring.’

Abdoola now has her heart set on becoming an ophthalmologist, specialising in that branch of medicine which deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye.

author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za