Dr. Louis Paluku Sabuni is an LSTM alumnus having achieved his MSc IN 1996 and his PhD in 2004 from LSTM. He is currently The Leprosy Mission’s (TLM) country leader in DR Congo and affiliated to the Universite Officielle de Rwenzori (Public University of Rwenzori, Butembo, North Kivu/DRC. TLM’s projects in the country have two underlying goals: that persons affected by leprosy and other neglected tropical diseases should have access to an integrated quality service in each district; and that the way TLM works with communities affected by leprosy should result in long-term sustainable improvements in their lives. In October 2019, Dr Sabuni returned to LSTM to give a seminar on 'Leprosy and NTDs: Complex Care Seeking behaviour in poor settings – the Democratic Republic of Congo experience'. After the seminar, we asked him about his time at LSTM:
Q. Why did you choose to study at LSTM?
I chose to study at LSTM because my line manager at the time had a link with the school. Her work the in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in helping those most in need was inspirational to me. The transformation I saw her making in local communities was so visible that I wanted to study where she studied, hoping that I will be able to work like her. In brief, it was because of her class performance and knowledge she gained from LSTM that inspired me to study at LSTM.
Q. How you feel your time here shaped your future?
My time at LSTM has shaped my future in two ways: I became pragmatic: although I like theorising, but sharing and learning from experiences (own and others’) are key for the change and development I want to see. I learned to think and reflect, and evaluate.
Q. What are you most proud of among your achievements?
I have a number of achievements I have been involved with in DRC, which include:
- Developing a contextual and adapted training curriculum for diploma courses for midwives and community health nurses and workers at national level;
- Introducing gender training curricula in academic institutions and working toward gender and disability policies and practices in the health system;
- Advocating for the ratification of the Convention of the Right of People with Disabilities (CRPD), and passed first at the national parliament and then by the President;
- Supporting the National Leprosy Programme toward working to reach zero transmission, zero discrimination and zero disability in leprosy in DRC in 2035.
Q. What advice would you give to our current students?
Work hard to bring about innovation and change unjust structures that perpetuate poverty in our complex society today.
Read an exclusive interview with Dr. Sabuni on page 22 of LSTM's latest edition of Lead Magaine