Mesale Solomon is a surgical resident at Black Lion Hospital in Ethiopia. She received training from the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa health partnership.
My name is Mesale Solomon and I am a 2nd year surgical resident at Black Lion Hospital. As a surgical resident we do many different rotations in different fields of medicine. We spend two months in each area such as anaesthesia, orthopaedics and other general surgeries in order to learn these specialisms.
I received anastomosis training, which was a very interesting opportunity. Anastomosis is one of the toughest things that I expect to do as a surgeon. As a 2nd year surgical resident you are expected to carry out at least one procedure before the end of the year which is difficult because there aren’t many cases in this hospital. Anastomosis is a very difficult procedure and you have to practice to get it right, so having the opportunity to practice on a mannequin was so interesting, and to have input from experienced professionals was invaluable. Now I feel confident enough to carry out this procedure on a patient.
The number one challenge of being a surgical resident is exposure to surgical procedures. There aren’t a lot of cases but there are a lot of residents so you have to fight to be involved. It is really tough. Especially emergency surgery. You have to fight for surgery rather than it being presented to you. The anastomosis training I received was important because it means I can practice procedures.
The other difficulty is that there is limited equipment and resources but we have to make do with what is available. For example I have really small hands so the gloves do not fit me; we do not have different sizes, but that is my job. You have to adjust, it makes you creative.
I was inspired to become a doctor when I was a child. I always knew it made sense to deal with human beings and help human beings. Understanding the physiology of humans inspires me, it is really interesting to understand how you swallow and why you have pain. I joined medical school to learn these things. As a surgeon you are with the patient throughout the whole process. You are there to diagnose them, treat them and care for them. You form a relationship with them which is very rewarding for me. Medicine is more than just books; you need skills so you can follow patients through the whole journey until they are cured.
I am excited for the future because I am going back to Aksum to work as a general surgeon. They are building a new hospital there and I am looking forward to working in a brand new environment. It will be good to treat patients who do not have to travel 100 kilometres to Addis to be treated. We will really be able to make a difference. There is only one surgeon there at the moment so I am excited to go there, and there are medical schools so more surgeons will come through. I am excited to be part of a brand new organised surgical department.