Dr. Isabella Epiu has achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first female anesthesiologist with a Ph.D. in East Africa. Epiu, specializing in anesthesia, critical care medicine, emergency care medicine, intensive care, and pain medicine, earned her Ph.D. in medicine with a focus on neuro-respiratory physiology and health economics from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
President Yoweri Museveni, in a speech delivered by Vice-President Jessica Alupo, expressed the nation’s pride in celebrating Epiu’s outstanding contribution to the health sector and her groundbreaking achievement as the first female anesthesiologist with a Ph.D. in East Africa. The President commended her hard work, diligence, and discipline, describing her accomplishment as a milestone.
Acknowledging the support of Epiu’s parents, guardians, sponsors, and the people of Ngora district, Museveni highlighted the importance of education as a key driver of socioeconomic development. He praised Epiu’s exceptional work in research, noting her multiple awards, including the 2016 Media Award from a U.S.-based society of obstetric anesthesia and perinatology, the 2013 World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists (WFSA) research award, the 2014 award by the USA National Institutes of Health, and the 2018 Ph.D. scholarship.
The President underscored the government’s pride in having Epiu as a resourceful individual and expressed anticipation of her formidable contribution to the health sector. He encouraged young people to draw inspiration from Epiu’s achievements, emphasizing the government’s commitment to advancing education and socioeconomic development.
Epiu’s father, Pastor Richard Epiu Honorat, addressed the issue of brain drain, noting that graduates seeking opportunities abroad have been a longstanding challenge. Epiu herself attributed her achievements to God and expressed gratitude to the Ugandan government, particularly State House and the World Bank, for the scholarships she received.
In her remarks, Dr. Isabella Epiu highlighted the importance of strengthening health systems and improving surgical outcomes in developing countries. She emphasized the need for partnerships with local and international organizations, policymakers, and governments to address significant shortages in personnel, equipment, and protocols for safe anesthetic care in obstetric surgical cases across East Africa.