Anna Katysheva (AK) a reporter for Russia’s news portals on science and technologies, Indicator.Ru, interviewed Chase Bassingthwaighte (CB) a Namibian medical student at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, which is also known as RUDN University.
AK: Tell us about your studies and the scientific work you doing.
CB: I am in my fifth year of studying medicine at RUDN University. I have been involved in a number of public health research projects. I presented some of my projects in the university competitions. This year I took part in the inter-university contest, where a lot of departments were involved, about 67 participants and volunteers in total. For the first round they chose 30 people, for the second and final round, three people were chosen, so I got third place for that round. The topic of my presentation was “Сardio-vascular diseases in developing countries and developed countries” and the impact of alcohol and tobacco on these diseases. I got second prize for my research work. Also I got third place in competition against schools from Hungary and other universities in Russia: Kazan, St Petersburg, Tambov, and the Nizhny Novgorod.
AK: Tell us more about the research you are doing on cardio-vascular diseases?
CB: Basically, my research was about the analysis of statistical data from World Health Organization. I took statistics of Russia, Namibia and other developing and developed countries. I obtained my data from all available resources and from the internet, obviously. Then I compared the data. I chose people, between the age of 30 and 60 to 70, for my research. The medicine in Africa is very poor, they don’t have new technologies. The medicine in Russia is more modernized, so we can prevent these things. We analysed the incidents and then the death rates of people who had cardio-vascular diseases. We identified which age groups are at risk — perhaps older people who are above 50, who have hypertension, and smoke tobacco and eat unhealthy food. We’ve done questioning and interviews. Then different models were designed, such as exercise models, and also the predisposition of the young family member. So, if your grandfather has cardio-vascular disease, maybe, high blood-pressure, and then he died of heart attack, you can avoid it. As an example you implement a model that will prevent the younger family members from succumbing to this type of disease. You must change the eating habits, force you kids to exercise, and also educate them about this risk.
AK: Why did you choose this specific topic for research?
CB: Cardio-vascular diseases are the second largest problem we have in Africa, including Namibia. Our first one is HIV. I did two research projects: one was about cardio-vascular diseases, and the second about alcohol and tobacco. This is a big thing in Namibia: people drink a lot, people smoke a lot, and this all contributes to the rate of cardio-vascular diseases.
AK: And why did you choose to study medicine?
CB: First of all I chose medicine because it’s something that I wanted to do as a young boy. Second, I know that I have a passion to help people. In general, I’m interested about how the human body works. Medicine is a beautiful art. So, when I got the scholarship, I didn’t think twice. In Namibia I got my first diploma, I finished second best in my group, but I’ve studied computer sciences there. After graduation I started to work, and then I got a scholarship for medicine. I couldn’t pay it for myself before, that’s why I didn’t study.
AK: Was it hard to get a scholarship in Namibia to study in Russia?
CB: Yes, of course. In the beginning there was a competition between many students, and they were very few scholarships. That was a rare opportunity, and I guess I was lucky. I applied so many times, and it was always unsuccessful. This time it was successful, I guess, I’m blessed.
AK: Will you return to your home country after graduating from RUDN? How would you apply your knowledge there?
CB: After graduation I have to go home and work for a few years and then I will continue my education in Europe. I will apply for an MA program.