Orotta College of Medicine and Health Sciences, a merger of Orotta School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Asmara College of Health Science, held a virtual graduation ceremony on December 19 at Asmara University in compliance with all the safety measures against covid-19. It was a cold and windy morning, but the unpleasant weather was filled with the warmth of the college’s students hurrying to classes staring enviously and uttering ‘congratulations’ to the stunningly formally dressed graduates. The quadrangle was decorated with slogans that emphasize the importance of health in society. The most eye catching part was the stand-up banner with all the graduates’ photos, especially the one with the seven outstanding graduates.
The ceremony began with a moment of silence in honor of our martyrs. Dr. Yemane Seyoum, dean of the college, started his opening address by congratulating the graduating class of 2020. He said, “Due to covid-19 and its fatal consequences we have been obliged to celebrate the graduation ceremony in a different circumstance. The government of Eritrea has been working so hard to create a platform to develop human resources, and our college has been striving to students into productive citizens.”
Until the merger, Asmara College of Health Science graduated 4,200 students in total, 42.7% with Bachelor’s degree and 57.3% with diploma, while Orotta School of Medicine and Dentistry graduated 408 students in total. Out of these graduates, 28 doctors are postgraduates who specialized in pediatrics, surgery, pregnancy and child birth, 329 are general medical doctors and 51 are dentists.
This year’s graduation is the 12th commencement of Asmara College of Health Science and it graduated 359 students, 168 with degree and 191 with diploma, while it’s the 10th commencement of Orotta School of Medicine and Dentistry which graduated 112 medical doctors.
Highlighting the efforts the college is making to develop its human resources, Dr. Yemane said, “Apart from those who are attending postgraduate schools in the country, we have sent 23 teachers abroad to attend post-graduate programs of nursing, general health, pharmacy, public health, and clinical laboratory science.”
He closed his speech by calling on the graduates of 2020 to work and serve the public with love, honesty and responsibility. The ceremony continued by handing out medals to seven outstanding students and it ended with prof. Tsegereda Gebrehiwet reciting the Hippocratic Oath with the graduates.
We have asked some of the graduates about the ceremony and their journey in college.
“My name is Meron Tesfagaber. I graduated with great distinction, 3.95, in pharmacy. Today is a special day for all of us. It’s unfortunate that we did not get to celebrate it with all our fellow students. The main reason that made me successful is my parents. They are the ones who showed me the greatness of school and always supported me in my choices. Besides my parents I think good time management, determination, patience and passion for the things I study is what made me achieve what I call ‘the beginning step into my bigger picture of attaining my master’s degree’. As a woman, I believe we are as equal as anyone, even better especially these days. With the government’s effort and our effort we are going to flourish the health community.”
“My name is Jerson Betwon. I graduated from Asmara College of Health Science, with diploma in midwifery. College was a nice experience. Even the small obstacles associated with my living in Asmara gave me a great lesson in life. You know I was born in Barentu and went to elementary and junior schools there. I have a lot of plans for the future because I firmly believe there is no limit to education, and that’s because of my mother. As the head of our family, she has motivated me to the maximum.”
“My name is Omar Osman; I am from Zoba Anseba, Habero. I did all my pre-college schooling in my home town and then joined Orotta School of Medicine and Dentistry. Since I’ve graduated today I am
Lidia Abudnow officially a dentist. College was a long and exhausting process. I was home sick a lot of times. Beside my parents and my wife I thank my teachers for guiding me and pushing me to be better.”
“My name is Lidia Alizegie. I graduated from the department of medicine. I am so happy that I finally finished what I have dreamt since I was a kid. I am highly indebted to my parents for this, especially my dad. A lot of people have doubted my choice of wanting to be a doctor, especially because I am a woman. I like to prove them wrong by helping them when they are in need.”