10 November 2020
I decided to become a doctor firstly because I am passionate about helping people so I decided to join medical school. I think that decentralising care through NCD training is a good way to extend health care to the community because producing excess human power like medical doctors, for example, can take six years, but NCD training takes around two weeks.
While I was working at the out patient department I would see between 40-50 patients per day. NCDs are the main reason that people come to the hospital, many patients are referred here for treatment from the health centres because they don’t have the same resources; they cannot do a renal function test, they do not have emergency services for diabetes and some of them do not have insulin, so we treat them here. We diagnose theme, give them medication and send them back to the health centres.
There is limited understanding of NCDs in the community and they have limited knowledge and experience of taking long term medication, and this is also the case in changing habits. For example, if you tell someone to stop consuming so much salt, they will ask ‘for how long?’, so I think we have to work on raising awareness.
For those of us working on NCDs, the main challenge is workloads. For now, we have three internists and one family senior, sometimes the physicians and GPs work here, so while it is good to have a specific follow up date for NCD patients, it is not always possible due to workloads. Sometimes when you are providing a service to many patients you can compromise on quality. We always try to meet the standard but patient load is a major challenge.
I enjoy seeing patients and I enjoy solving problems. As a physician your official role is to see patients and prescribe medicines, if you take your job as only this you can’t work here. I believe as a physician, leadership is not optional, it is mandatory because everywhere you go, responsibility is awaiting you. Through the NCD training I developed skills that will help me to lead the health sector.
“There is poor health coverage in our country, especially in the district area and there is a disparity between urban and rural areas. In the rural areas, there is a gap in the provision of specialist services.”
Lamessa Kumera - GP and Quality Officer