By Pauline Luba
UCU Martin Oluge’s father, Ignatius Okello, raised many of his children in a hospital setting because that is where he worked as a police officer. It is during that time that Oluge became fond of the medical profession; he could not think of any other career. However, things changed. Oluge is now eyeing a career as a priest of the Anglican Church in Uganda.
As he grew up, he was attracted by the way the doctors carried themselves at the hospital and how they conducted their work.
But there was a hurdle for Oluge to jump. Okello and his wife, Juliet, had 16 children, including Oluge, to look after.
By studying Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics in A’level at St. Joseph’s Senior Secondary School Naggalama in central Uganda, Oluge was more than sure that he was getting closer to his dream career. However, there was a hiccup. He did not get the required grades to get government sponsorship at Uganda’s public universities. He thus opted for a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine and Surgery at Kampala International University (KIU), a privately owned institution.
Table of Contents
“I enjoyed my time at KIU,” Oluge said. “It was great and the experience humbled me. I believe this is what pushed me to excel after my internship.”
Oluge said while in A’level, he had become too confident, and thinks it could have been one of the reasons he failed to meet the cut for a government sponsorship in medicine.
In 2019, Oluge did his mandatory one-year internship at Mengo Hospital, before securing employment at Ngora Freda Carr Hospital in eastern Uganda. For any newly qualified doctor to practice medicine in Uganda, they are required to undergo a year-long paid internship at a government health facility in the country.
Why Oluge Transitioned from Medicine to Theology at UCU
Ngora Freda Carr Hospital, where Oluge was employed, is a rural private not-for-profit facility affiliated with the Anglican Church in Uganda. After three years of employment at the facility, Oluge says he got a “calling from God.” He says he heard this call in his head over and over until he consulted the reverends in his church. He was advised to fulfill the call and study theology. This was in 2021.
However, there was another hurdle. Coming from a staunch Catholic family, Oluge knew that he would not get the full support to pursue a vocation as a priest in the Anglican Church. And he was right. When he broke the news to his extended family, it was a double disappointment for them – one, he was leaving the medicine job, and, two, he was joining another faith different from what his family raised him in.
“It was not easy,” he said. “I had to tell my parents I was leaving the Catholic faith, as well as medicine. Yet, they had paid my tuition for the course.”
Oluge says it took two months of battle and prayer before he could apply for a Masters in Divinity at Uganda Christian University. Eventually he did, and is now a student.
The father of three – 6, 3 and 2 years – and husband of Rael Cheptoek had to resign from his job in order to study full time at UCU, where he enrolled in May 2023. For his master’s course, Oluge got a sponsorship from the Lango diocese’s Anglican Aid. The sponsorship covers his tuition, accommodation and basic needs for his family. He also works at UCU’s University Hospital, the Allan Galpin Health Centre.
Oluge now eyes becoming a pastor. To those pondering a career change in life, Oluge’s advice hinges on what Jesus says in John 10:27-28: “My sheep, hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”