Harriet Akello is from northern Uganda and grew up in a family that valued education. Her mother was an accountant and her father a teacher. “I was the first to venture into the scientific field and this was quite a surprise, especially for a girl child,” she says.
Harriet completed a diploma in clinical medicine and community health. After following her Malawian husband to Zomba, she joined Dignitas in 2008. Her profession as a clinician has become her passion.
“I consider it a calling. I wholly give myself including my time, energy and enthusiasm. Our patients are the reason we are here and therefore they come first. Their needs are our deeds,” she explains.
Harriet appreciates the commitment demonstrated by her colleagues: “Apart from providing direct patient care, our team is helping to strengthen the health care system with ongoing training and mentorship and by ensuring that health centres have what they need to work effectively.”
Harriet attributes her happiness to the contribution she is making to other people’s lives. “Former patients turn up to say zikomo (thank you) and remind me of how very sick they were when they first learned they were HIV+. Their smiles are priceless,” she notes.