Why I became a member
Starting university can be daunting, and finding out about local healthcare services is just one of many things on the list for freshers.
That’s why staff from Medway Maritime Hospital took time to join welcome fairs in September, meeting students, signposting services, and letting them know how they can get involved.
Members of the hospital’s Engagement Team held an information stand and were joined by the Trust’s Lead Governor, Cllr David Brake, to give students a warm welcome. As well as helping young people find out more about accessing local health services, they also shared historical facts about the hospital, originally built to care for sailors from the Royal Navy.
Meet Foday Samura
During the Welcome Fair, we spoke to nearly 200 students and had meaningful conversations with 24 students. One was Foday Samura. After meeting us, Foday attended our Annual Members’ Meeting and during the public questions at the end, he took the opportunity to stand up and explain why he felt compelled to come along in person.
He said: “I met with Cllr David Brake at the Welcome Fair at the Medway Campus, University of Greenwich. He spoke to me about what the Trust is doing and trying to help students about what is going on. David gave me information and I signed up. But it’s not just about signing up, I asked myself the question, what else can I do?
“I decided to come here and meet the wonderful people who have been helping lives, to help me answer this question, so that at least I can contribute also to the lives of people, who are around my community. I am studying Pharmaceutical Science and I am in my final year. I am planning to do a lot of research to save lives."
Afterwards, the Engagement team approached Foday to find out more about his reasons for signing up as a Trust member. Foday explained: “I signed up to become a member of the Trust because I believe in their mission to promote health and a better life for everyone. I want to contribute to the Trust’s efforts and positively impact the lives of people around my community.
“I am a final year student at the University of Greenwich pursuing a bachelor's degree with Honours in Pharmaceutical Science. I have a Master of Business Administration degree from Amity University in Noida, India, and a Bachelor of Agricultural Science Education from Njala University in Sierra Leone.
From 2021 to 2023, I was the Founder and President of the Pharmaceutical Science Society at the University of Greenwich. My choice to study Pharmaceutical Science combines personal experience and my interest in healthcare.
“A few years ago, my younger brother was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and it was a life-changing experience for our entire family. None of us had prior experience dealing with diabetes or understood what it meant for a child to have diabetes. Our family had to provide emotional support and encouragement to help him cope with these challenges. I learned to monitor my brother's health closely and educated myself about high and low blood sugar signs and what to do in an emergency. It was crucial to be prepared for any situation. Unfortunately, he passed away in the hospital two years after his diagnosis. We later discovered that my brother was given the wrong medication, worsening his situation. I asked myself, what can I do to save others? When I came to the UK in 2019, I changed my career path to suit my desire to save lives. I decided to study pharmaceutical science because it is crucial in developing medications and therapies to save lives and alleviate suffering.”
During 2023, the Engagement Team is focusing on engaging with young people throughout Medway and Swale, building on partnerships with local schools, colleges and universities, in order to ensure that young people are represented and have a say.