By Shamilla Kara
FRANK Matovuâ€™s story of revising his career goals in different stages of his life is a currency that resonates with many a Ugandanâ€™s life. His first desire when he was about 10 years old was to become a driver of an 18-wheeler truck from Mombasa to Kigali, Bukavu or Bujumbura.
â€œWhat I admired about those truck drivers was the stacks of different currencies they carried,â€ says the retired physician from Macon, Georgia, in the US.
He had aspired to become an orthopaedic surgeon when he graduated from Makerere University Medical School with a Bachelorâ€™s Degree in Medicine & Surgery in 1979.
But destiny had other plans for him when his supervisor, who was going to give him a recommendation to his alma mater, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in Scotland, died in a car accident.
He then joined the Uganda Trypanosomiasis Research Organisation in Tororo and thereafter, went to the UK and the US where he trained and received a diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Tropical Medicine, a part of the University of London, in 1982.
He then went to Boston, Massachusetts in the US and studied for a masters degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.
From 1983 until 1986, he attended a residency programme in family medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.
â€œWhile no formal degree was awarded, this training is equivalent to the training for the Master of Medicine at Makerere University,â€ Matovu says.
His final medical qualification was a one-year Fellowship in Correctional Health, from 1986, which involved the study of health delivery to incarcerated populations.
Man of many hats
Having grown up in a large family, Matovu says it has always been a desire of his to own a family business. â€œHowever, it turns out to have its own challenges. But it is a privilege to do what I am doing at this stage in my life,â€ he says.
Matovu, who was an urgent care physician from 1989 until he retired in 2004, is a man of many hats.
He is the chairman, board of trustees of the Ugandan North American Medical Society, a charitable organisation which brings together physicians, surgeons and dentists who have an interest in Uganda.
As well as being the general manager of Hillside Investments, a private investment consulting firm in Macon, Matovu is also the president of United Investments and Holding Group, a firm owned by Ugandans in North America and Uganda, which invests in American and Ugandan firms.
Furthermore, he is the president of the Ugandan American Development Coalition, an American charitable organisation that strives to improve the living conditions of selected Ugandan communities.
How he started
After his internship at Mulago Hospital in 1980, Matovu worked as a medical research officer at the then Uganda Trypanosomiasis Research Organisation at Tororo for two years.
Following the end of his post-graduate training in 1987, Matovu worked as an emergency room physician in various hospitals in Georgia, US.
From 1989 to 2004, he worked as an urgent care physician for the Medical Centre of Central Georgia, a tertiary care and teaching medical facility in Macon. When he retired from clinical medicine in 2004, Matovu started Hillside Investments, which takes up most of his time nowadays.
Something he worked towards?
Matovu says while his original plan was to practice medicine until his 60s, â€œbeing an investor, businessman, community leader and philanthropist gives me great pleasure and satisfaction in observing the changes that I am able to influence in the lives of those with whom I interact.â€
Who is your inspiration?
My mentor was my eldest brother, the late Lieutenant Colonel Aloysius Katabalwa Matovu, who died in 1997. He inspired me to strive for a better life and to become a leader.
Plans in Uganda
Matovu, who recently visited home after 28 years away, says there are projects he is involved in currently, â€œwhich aim at sharing my experiences with young people in Uganda who would like to benefit from my experience.â€
He sparingly discloses the progress, saying more information will unfold as resources and willing partners are identified.
Advice to fellow Ugandans from a man who describes his work ethic as â€˜intenseâ€™( he hates to do things half-heartedly), centres of focusing on a goal.
â€œSelect a goal and identify the resources that are needed to achieve your goal. Pursue your objective with a passion. Identify and select a â€œmentorâ€ to guide you along the way.â€
He adds that one should periodically evaluate their progress and adjust the course accordingly.
Matovu, the retired doctor who wears many hats