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Dennis: Right after completing my fourth form (secondary school level), I was doing photography back in the countryside. I would later bump into the medical imaging sciences course option from a career booklet, so I got curious and applied for the program.

Name: Dennis Odhiambo

Occupation: Radio-Sonographer 

Place of work: Kenyatta National Hospital

Years of Practise: 11 years

Esther: Briefly tell us about yourself.

Dennis: I’m Dennis Odhiambo Agolah, a Kenyan Radio-Sonographer aged 36 years practising at the Kenyatta National Hospital. I completed my BSc in Radiography in 2015 at JKUAT; Dip. In  Medical Imaging Sciences in 2011 at KMTC, Nairobi; POCUS TOT certificate coursework, JICA in 2021. I am also publisher and editor at Radiopaedia since January 2022 having 42+ published cases; 6+ articles edited and also I run (as the  founder) an active online Facebook ultrasound page “Ultrasound Precision”.

Esther: Wow, that’s quite a profile. What motivated you to practice Radio-Sonography?

Dennis: Right after completing my fourth form (secondary school level), I was doing photography back in the countryside. I would later bump into the medical imaging sciences course option from a career booklet, so I got curious and applied for the program.

Esther: That’s amazing. Why did you choose Radio-Sonography and not other fields such as Public Health or General Medicine?

Dennis: The choice of choosing radiography then, was mostly pegged on the interest to explore more on imaging work as I had thought then. 

Esther:  Have you tested your motivation? Explain.

Dennis: Yeah, I have tested my motivation but on a higher level from now understanding the human body; anatomy, physiology and the imaging modalities that helps visualise the internal structures of the body.

Esther: If you were not accepted at medical school, would you have an alternative career plan and still pursue your motivation?

Dennis: Initially I had hoped also to pursue journalism (news anchoring). I would still have tried to pursue in this direction.

Esther: How do you visualise using your Radio-Sonography education?

Dennis: Helping in the provision of quality, timely images and reports of diagnostic value.

Already highly mentoring students and colleagues and is involved in research works as well as publishing of articles and journals in order to advance the practice of Radiography and Sonography both locally, regionally, continentally and globally.

Dennis with his colleagues

Esther: Which other field would you want to pursue and why?

Dennis: I’m keenly observing on being versatile and is looking into the publication field. So far I have authored two books of different genres and am working on the third book.

Esther: How have you been able to handle work-related stress and time management considering that you’re balancing between family/individual and work?

Dennis: Having a Christian background (A Seventh Day Adventist) have played a key role in this regard where values such as honesty, trustworthy, patience, accountability, being a good steward, empathy, etc have helped me in managing work-related stress and issues.

Esther: What do you do for fun?

Dennis: I’m a gospel singer (composes and records Christian songs). I’m also an artist and during free time, draw portraits at a price. As mentioned earlier, I also like writing and use free time in publications.

Esther: What role has your family played to influence your decision in pursuing medicine?

Dennis: Coming from a poor family background, one of my sister’s siblings (the only one working as a P1 teacher) contributed to my college fees. However, during my dad’s illness, staying with him at a district hospital for almost a month, helped me admire doctors and clinicians and this also pushed my desire to work in a hospital environment.

Esther: What have you achieved in your career course?

Dennis: I’ve been able to advance in my education paper-wise, and have also published a technical medical book in sonography “The Doppler Ultrasound Ladder”

Esther: Congratulations! What are the experiences working with sick people?

Dennis: Working with sick people is a greatly humbling experience. Knowing that your reports and imaging are required to help in critical clinical decision making including deciding on whether the patients will be put on conservative medical regiments, or whether the patients will surgically be explored, etcetera, makes me take my work prayerfully seriously and to continue improving daily to give the best!

Dennis in his line of duty

Esther: What excites you about Radio-Sonography in general?

Dennis: Being able to inter-relate the physiological, pathological and the anatomical processes and give a diagnosis.

Esther: Do you keep yourself updated with current medical trends?

Dennis: Yea, I keep myself abreast with current news and happenings.

Esther: What do you see as challenges in the Kenyan health sector?

Dennis: Many people (especially in the counties) are not able to access certain services and specialist care and are referred to the national level 5,6 hospitals.

– Also healthcare costs have skyrocketed over the years and many patients end up dying due to lack of money for hospital bills, or money for medication and tests ordered by the clinicians.

Esther: How do you think these challenges should be addressed?

Dennis: Both the county and the national government to elevate most levels 3, 4 hospitals to levels 5, 6.  

-Proper/adequate staffing in county and referral hospitals plus necessary equipment done. 

Esther: What is the vision of healthcare in Kenya?

Dennis: The vision of healthcare in Kenya is to make healthcare free for all and highly specialised.

Esther: What is the vision of healthcare in East Africa?

Dennis: Healthcare in the various East African countries to match so that patients from either countries are not referred for specialised care to the regional countries.

Esther: Thank you for your time Dennis.

Written by Esther Mugo.

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