Rwanda: The dream has always been to be my own boss, says medical entrepreneur


The truth about goals is that if you don’t take the initiative to start the process, achievement won’t magically come on a silver plate.  Like many people with dreams who toil to accomplish them, 31-year-old Gisele Uwera who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy at former National University of Rwanda, now University of Rwanda, yearned to not just practice her course, but be her own boss too. 

With savings from her first job, zeal and determination, she opened her own pharmacy, Gipharma, in 2017 located in Gisementi, Remera, Gasabo District. 

“My dream of starting a pharmacy originated in the first year, when I had just joined university. I recall having an interview with the English lecturer, who asked me a question that triggered my mind. He asked what I wanted to do after graduation and I responded that I wanted to open my own pharmacy. That is something easy to say out loud, however, I had no idea how I would accomplish it, but I was sure I never wanted to search for a job,” she says.

She says that as a child, she wanted to be a medical doctor, to use her knowledge and expertise to help people get the necessary medical care and help.  That is why she opted for a pharmaceutical course at the university.

The pharmacist notes that she realised that this would put her in a direct position to interact with patients, and prescribe the necessary medical treatment to ease their pain, and heal their sicknesses.

Immediately after graduation, Uwera got a job at a local hospital, and with her savings, she was able to start her own business in four years. 

One of her earliest challenges, she says, was difficulty in getting clients as the pharmacy’s location wasn’t easily accessible, but she kept the hope anyway.

Eventually, her business started picking up, but sadly, she experienced a financial setback when Covid-19 hit Rwanda. She was, however, able to continue paying her four workers, and cater for her diverse expenses.

Her dream is to expand her business and open up other branches in different parts of the country.

In her daily tasks, she dispenses pharmaceutical products or medicines, assists in resolving different worries or problems of patients, ensures that the medicines prescribed to patients are suitable, advises patients about medicines, and how to take them, what reactions may occur, and manages other different duties required in the pharmacy.

Uwera’s advice to the youth hoping to pursue a similar career is to believe in themselves, be consistent, work hard and understand that patience is key.

She believes that every goal can be achieved if you have passion and focus—do all it takes to attain your goals.  

“My field requires excessive studying and reading, even after acquiring a degree, we need to keep updating ourselves, since the profession may exhibit changes and updates about medicines, new discoveries, and so forth. Therefore, we have to be in the know to provide the right medicine or medical services and counselling to the patients,” Uwera says.

Source: The New Times