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Exploring tales and adventures in medical school

Ashiq Pramchand
Ashiq Pramchand

A final-year medical student with a passion for medical writing has just published his first book, titled: 'The Great Medical Student Odyssey – Tales and Adventures in Medical School'. A biography of Ashiq Pramchand’s journey at UKZN’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, the 194-page book illustrates the incredible adventure and harsh realities of medical students in South Africa.

Having matriculated from Crawford College La Lucia, 23 -year-old Pramchand ranked third in the KwaZulu-Natal Grade 12 NSC examinations among students from independent schools, scooping distinctions for all his subjects. Inspired by his parents, both in the medical profession, the adventurous Pramchand joined UKZN’s medical school and developed a passion for medical writing while serving as a research placement at the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) laboratories. His passion resulted in three publications (two with Pulse magazine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and one with the Harvard Medical Student Review Journal).

As one of the top medial students at UKZN, Pramchand has been instrumental, together with his twin brother, Ishq, in the creation of a student organisation on campus that aims to improve the speaking and writing skills of healthcare professionals through the development of lectures and study resources for students. The club, BROCA, also produces a student magazine, called the BROCA Times, which is distributed to students.

Pramchand has also played an active role in UKZN’s South African Medical Students Association (SAMSA) for five years, during which time he served as its Vice-President, treasurer and research director. Through SAMSA, he formed a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, an NGO, which builds homes for disadvantage rural communities. While working in rural Umgababa, Pramchand was instrumental in tuberculosis education and awareness as well as arranging free HIV testing for community members.

Pramchand, a keen pianist with over 17 years of classical training and a student of Northern and Southern Kung Fu styles at the Chinese Martial Arts and Health Centre in Durban, also manages a small technology company called ZavourIT, which creates apps to help South Africans find solutions to unemployment. An avid sportsman, Pramchand completed the Midmar Mile twice and represented KZN at the South African table-tennis championships in Bloemfontein. In his spare time, he enjoys playing tennis, practising swordsmanship, meeting friends, watching good movies, playing video games, exercising, writing, travelling, learning new languages and reading. He is also a television presenter and voice actor for a local show, called African Essence, which raises awareness about important human interest stories in South Africa.

Pramchand said: "Thousands of hours are spent at the bedside and in the operating theatre. Blood will be drawn. Tutorials will be attended. Friendships will be forged in the wards – those democracies of appearance. You will see patient gowns, devastated and relieved complexions, tubes and IV lines. In this crucible, where life is renewed and taken away, we witness some of life's most beautiful and crushing moments. These places are autoclaves for the soul, where pressure, high patient caseloads, and low resources purify us – they force us to abandon or challenge our vices, to help others. These experiences are life-changing and profound. In my anecdotes, I try to capture this profoundness… the clinical years are where the real adventure begins."

Pramchand’s book is available on Amazon and in bookstores worldwide. 

Editorial contacts
Nkosinathi Bhekani Dlamini [email protected]