The South African Medical Students Association (SAMSA) recently held its national elections where three UKZN Medical students got elected into top positions in the associations’ National Executive Committee (NEC).

Mr Kapil Narain was elected Chairperson, Mr Lindokuhle Ntshangase was elected as Secretary while Mr Vikar Singh got elected as the Marketing Officer of SAMSA.

‘I am absolutely honoured to be the Chair of the National Executive Committee. I am excited to work with students, doctors and leaders across the globe. To be an effective leader one needs to have the vision. I believe my unwavering optimistic attitude and ambition driven by the vision of making the world a better place will invent innovative solutions to the problems of tomorrow and ultimately combat social injustices.   I will utilise this opportunity to galvanise all Medical students to unite on events that will ultimately improve healthcare and society’, proclaimed 21-year-old Kapil who happens to be youngest NEC chair in the history of the association. Kapil is a fourth-year Medical student at UKZN.

Ntshangase, the fourth-year Medical student who was elected as Secretary has held numerous leadership positions including serving on the Medical School SRC, serving as Media and Publicity Officer and was the Chairperson of Joint Chairpersons’ Council of Medical School in 2016/17.

‘I have been observing from a distance and I have learnt a lot from Local chapter Chairperson Kapil Narain. I am thrilled to have been elected as the Secretary of the SAMSA NEC. I have been taught to believe that the Secretary is the engine of the structure. It is more than just an appointment to me. To serve a vast community of Medical students across South Africa is a great endeavour that I feel honoured to pursue. The goal is to conquer the world and I’ve just touched the surface. I believe that true leadership is getting out of your comfort zone. The focus is on SAMSA for now, all my energy will be invested there to make sure that I do the most possible’ he said.

Singh, a fifth-year Medical student has previously served on the National Committee before as the Head of the Standing Committee on Sexual and Reproductive Health including HIV/AIDS (SCORA).

‘Having been the National Head of SCORA for two terms, I have personally witnessed students become active and passionate about Sexual and Reproductive Health topics and issues, and in a way, reignite the reason we have chosen to pursue a career in the medical field, the passion and compassion we have for helping people.

‘Before I exit the system and become an intern, it is my goal to market SAMSA and make it the household name it has the potential to be, and pave the way for future Medical students to hold the banner higher than we have,’ he said.

The South African Medical Students Association (SAMSA) is a nationally run non-profit organisation comprising of Medical students from various medical schools across the country.  All members have a passion for both Medicine and creating positive change in South African and Global communities at large. SAMSA also aims to create opportunities for professional development and acts as the official representative voice for all South African medical students. SAMSA affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students (IFMSA) which is recognised by the World Health Organization (IFMSA has voting power at the World Health Assembly) and United Nations and works with the World Medical Association (WMA).

Dr Chris Fourie, who founded SAMSA and is a current Director said, ‘SAMSA has been around for quite some time, however, we even hosted a IFMSA General Assembly in 1997 in Cape Town and I believe it was originally grounded in the 1960’s. Applicants for the National Executive Committee were Medical students from across the country and were selected based on their accomplishments in leadership positions and their ambition, and passion to make a difference in society. I am very pleased with the new NEC as a whole and glad to have members from a diverse variety of backgrounds.  I look forward to their term of office!’

Words: Lihle Sosibo and Chris Fourie