Meet Mr. Lemayian Saaman- Chairperson MKU Pharmacy Students Association (MKUPSA)

Tell us about yourself

My name is Lemayian Saaman from Kajiado County. A finalist pursuing a Bachelor of Pharmacy ( 5th year, final semester).  I am an avid reader. In addition, I am a music and photography enthusiast. I am a Maasai, hailing from Kajiado county- born and bred.

Tell us about your club

I currently sit as the chair of the Mount Kenya University Pharmacy Students’ Association (MKUPSA) on the last quarter of my tenure.

MKUPSA acts as a home-base for not only all pharmacy students in campus, but also as a link between pharmacy students and their alumni, as well as other health students’ associations. It (MKUPSA) is also the bridge that connects MKU pharmacy students to pharmacy students countrywide; under the Pharmacy Students’ Association of Kenya (KEPhSA) umbrella, which also happens to be a member of the International Pharmacy Students’ Federation (IPSF).

MKUPSA therefore works to enlighten the student society at large, to appreciate that pharmacists have a more clinical and regulatory role in the delivery of healthcare services alongside other healthcare professionals.

Leadership Structure

The MKU Pharmacy Students’ Association has eight (8) offices in the executive team; the President, the Vice President, the Secretary General, the Organizing Secretary, the Treasurer, the Media and Publishing Officer, the Diploma Representative and the KEPhSA & IPSF contact person. The patron, a faculty member at the School of Pharmacy, is crucial to the association as an ex-officio executive member.

Club Achievements

The activities that MKUPSA has held in the past includes but are not limited to; Career Talks, Alumni Day talks, Global Health Campaigns for instance, World TB Day, World Hypertension Day, World No Tobacco Day, ecetra.

Walks: World Pharmacists Day Walk, Team Building Events e.g. hikes, intervarsity competitions (among the seven pharmacy chapters in Kenya)

Health Drives: Blood Donation Drives, Health Camps; Academic forums e.g., Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Forums, Health-Related Webinars and Seminars; and Workshops & Trainings e.g. First Aid Training, Patient Counselling Training; among others.

What are your duties?

Apart from the normal activities that chairpersons are called to answer, I also sit in the non-governing council (NGC committee) of the Pharmacy Students Association of Kenya (KEPhSA); which is majorly composed of the different heads of pharmacy students’ associations of the seven universities that offer the Bachelor of Pharmacy program in Kenya, the KEPhSA President and his secretary general.

As the association chair, it is my duty to represent the MKU pharmacy students in various settings including meetings, forums, seminars and trainings, consultative meetings and forums among others. The chair also acts as a point of convergence for all the class representatives under the School of Pharmacy and acts as the final mediator between the representatives and the school faculty.

What are the challenges that come with your office?

The major challenge faced as a leader in pharmacy school is time. Due to how characteristically demanding the course is, there is very limited time that an individual may count as extra time. This time factor influences the availability for meetings by the executive and also the participation of pharmacy students in co curricular activities.

What are the requirements & benefits of joining MKUPSA?

All pharmacy students regardless of level ( Diploma, Bachelor ) are eligible for membership in MKUPSA. The membership, which is renewed annually at a fee of Ksh.100 ( $ 0.92) allows a pharmacy student to get MKUPSA membership card that confirms their membership.

What are your hopes during your term?

It is my greatest hope that MKUPSA becomes this umbrella that embraces cohesion among pharmacy students. Bridging the gap between freshmen and the final years, and also between the bachelors and diploma programs. I also wish for the association to be a data resource point for anyone who wishes to pursue the pharmacy profession and wants a glimpse into the pharmacy university life before making that big step. It is my hope that, in the foreseeable future, medical students will be working together as a team despite their tight schedules and varying goals.

What do you want to get done during your term?

I am working towards bridging the gap; among pharmacy students in Mount Kenya University, between MKU pharmacy alumni and pharmacy undergraduates, and between pharmacy school and other schools under College of Health Sciences.

So far, my team has seen this come to life by presenting opportunities to pharmacy students to interact and engage with each other outside the normal class setting. This has been accomplished by working hand in hand with other medical students’ associations and the MKU pharmacy alumni to bring forth functions and activities that enlighten pharmacy undergrads on what being in the profession is like.

I would also wish to strengthen the association’s core such that all pharmacy students are readily captured in the association despite their program modes and schedules.

What are you reading currently?

Apart from blogs and pharma literature, I am currently stealing glances at George Clanson’s The Richest Man in Babylon. This 1920 book, has great financial insights that incredibly work in the 21st century! I have been putting off this book for a while now until a friend of mine recently sent it to me, which was definitely a sign to get my financial act together.

Do I recommend this text? Absolutely! 

I’ve also just finished Edward Snowden’s autobiography, Permanent Record. This has been the most interesting piece I have read in a while. Permanent Record takes us through Snowden’s childhood and his fascination with Nintendo at such a young age. It highlights his massive interest in tech and explores his growth as a young tech guru (massively influenced by the 9/11 attacks on the U.S) before securing his famous title at the CIA.

This memoir has made me conscious of my digital footprint, how I choose to store my data and rather sparked my fascination in tech and most importantly artificial intelligence. Permanent Record is a great read and I would definitely recommend to anyone who consumes the internet on a daily, a 5/5.