I was born in a small village in current Oyam district called Atapara in 1968 and shortly after that my mother transferred to the current Lira Regional Referral Hospital where she was working as a midwife. I grew up in Lira up to the age of 5 years when I started Primary School in Amberland P.7 School. We were staying in a little hut, 3 of us little children with our parents.
I studied in Amberland P.7 School up to the beginning of the year of my Primary 3. My father was the transferred from where he was working as a teacher to Kampala. And this necessitated him to move with his family. So, my mother as well requested for transfer to Mulago Hospital. My father then started working in the current UMI. At that time, it was called Institute of Public Administration.
I and my brothers enrolled into Shimoni Demonstration School, where I completed my Primary School. They also completed from the same school. I had placed my first choice in St. Catherine Senior Secondary School, which is in Lira, but after second thought, my father opted for a school that was within Kampala City and that school happened to be Nabisunsa Girls’ School where I studied for 6 years. I had a very lovely Head Mistress who was very supportive. I was the only girl that year who got enough marks to take me for Medicine at Makerere University.
In 1987, that’s when I joined the medical school. Andrew Ocero joined at the same time as well. We were young people; we hadn’t noticed each other until maybe 1989 when we picked interest in one another. So, we studied at the Medical School together and we left the Medical School in 1993. By the time we left medical school, we had made up our mind that we are going to get married.
We were posted to Lacor Hospital in 1993, where we did our internship and we completed internship in 1994 after a short disagreement in Lacor Hospital. We had to come back to Kampala and complete our internship in the current Mulago, the current National Referral Hospital. We were then posted back to first, Kiryandongo Hospital as a General Hospital, but we preferred to go to Lira and we requested to be transferred to Lira. Upon arrival in Lira, we got a very warm welcome. I want to believe because Lira Hospital at that time was having a lot of challenges and here were two young hardworking doctors who were determined to change the status quo at the hospital and we were famously known as “otin” (young) doctors, you know, small in size but very active. And so, our journey in Lira Hospital started.
At that time, we had not yet completed our traditional marriage which we did in 1995. By the time we got married traditionally, we already had two sons we got along in medical school. In 1995, we got a daughter and we continued with our work at the hospital. In 1997, the hospital got a bit of challenge in its leadership and the then Medical Superintendent was requested to step down. Shortly after that the Chief Administrative Officer at that time, requested Andrew to take over leadership of the Hospital, but somehow out of his own wisdom and inspiration, he requested the Chief Administrative Officer to speak to me to take up that role as Medical Superintendent.
This happened and I was assigned that duty as Medical Superintendent of Lira Hospital, at that time District Hospital. So, I took care of the hospital until the year 2000, when I applied to go back to school to study Paediatrics. We had a long discussion about this with my husband because we had a flourishing business in Lira. We were doing very well in terms of our clinical work at the hospital but also at the same time running other businesses. He accepted to allow me to go to school first, because in his life, he always puts me first.
So, I went back to school, and he joined me in 2001. And he came to study Adult Medicine. I completed in 2003, however, at the time when I left to go and study Paediatrics, I had been confirmed as the Medical Superintendent Lira Hospital and at the same time a Senior Medical Officer, and I had that appointment while on Study Leave. So, in 2003, when I completed, I was not in interested in coming back to lira, I wanted to stay in Makerere and teach, I also wanted to work in Mulago. However, my husband Andrew was very determined to see me go back to Lira, he said, “Jane, Lira is the place where you must go, it is the place where you will develop and it is the place that needs you.”
I resisted for 2 weeks, finally, he pushed me and I went back to Lira and I took up my position which was waiting for me as a Medical Superintendent. But I was also practicing Paediatrics until I got my appointment as Medical Officer Special Grade. So you will realize that at this point in time, I was in Lira alone while Andrew was at school with the children. Andrew completed in 2004, and joined me immediately after that, but we preferred to leave the children in Kampala since they were well on the way with the education. It became very difficult to disturb that pattern and transfer them back to Lira.