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DOCTOR’S PROFILE: Dr Fred Akumu

Hell dear Subscriber! We are back again with another interesting doctor’s story.

Esther: Thank you so much Dr Fred for giving us this opportunity to share your story. With no further ado, please tell us more about yourself.

Who is Dr Fred?

Dr Fred: Thank you Esther for this opportunity as well, I’m glad to be here. My name is Akumu.F. Odhiambo, and I am in my late 20s. I’m the first born among 3 siblings. My father is a retired police officer and mother a teacher. We were raised in Mombasa and partly in Kisii.

I must say I had an active childhood and adolescent stage: I was a cricket captain in my final year of
secondary school and grew to love and play football in campus. I also did my KCPE and KCSE in Rehema Academy(Kisii) and Lenana Secondary School.

I am a MBCHB with IT graduant from Maseno University class of 2020 with my internship done in St.Francis Community Hospital, Kasarani. First worked as a Medical Officer Incharge at Kikoko Mission
Hospital in Makueni then a Medical Officer at Gertrudes Childrens Hospital where I’m currently working as a Pediatric Critical Care Unit(PCCU) Medical Officer.

Greatest motivation towards Medicine and it’s Practise

Dr Fred: My greatest motivation was from my love for Science is on another level. Additionally, my parents enthusiasm towards medicine pushed me even more. Not to sound like my parents forced me into medicine, but just to know that they totally supported me.

Esther: Great. Why did you choose Medicine and not other field such as Nursing or Radiography?

Dr Fred: It was my childhood dream to become a doctor when I grow up. To add on that, my academic performance provided me with the opportunity to pursue medicine. I was a bright student!

Esther: What do you like most about practising medicine and why?

Dr Fred: Medicine provides me with a platform to study and build more on my knowledge. It can be quite addictive and I always get the best feeling when I’m surrounded by scholars especially when handling challenging cases.

Accomplishments and vision in Medicine

Esther: Impressive. What is the major thing you would want to accomplish in your medical career?

Dr Fred: I would wish to solve one of the major health problems in our society: Especially towards cost of medical intervention and accessibility to healthcare. Healthcare is still expensive to a bigger percentage of our community and it should be made on of the most affordable basic needs.

I’m also striving to become a professor of medicine in the future.

Esther: All the best Dr Fred. Moving on, how do you visualize using your Medical education?

Dr Fred: Creating awareness, I must say. It all starts with me and my immediate social circle: raising awareness on health and health seeking behavior. We have to reach out to the most remote individuals in the community and make healthcare accessible to all.

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

Dr Fred: I developed an interest in Critical Care Medicine during my internship and my occupational history is in line with the field so far. I believe an intensivist is placed at the core of medical care in most
medical fields.

Through my training as an advanced life support practitioner, I noted the importance in emergency care of patients. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic did act as an eye opener.

Esther: How do you collaborate with other primary healthcare providers in your line of duty to ensure the patient gets the best medical attention?

Dr Fred: First of all, it’s quite impossible to work aloe, we always play as a team. I’m actively participating in listening and sharing experiences to my colleagues(despite cadre) in case
discussions.

Handling patients

Esther: How do you approach diagnoses and treatments for patients?

Dr Fred: Medicine is Science and Science is always evolving hence need for frequent researches. I always research around my patients conditions. I always compare condition specific guidelines to fit my patient needs.

Esther: What is your philosophy with medicine and treating patients?

Dr Fred: Always take time to hear out the patient, examine/touch them, be honest with my findings and impressions. Afterwards discuss and advice them on the management options available.

Have the patient participate in their care.

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

Balancing between social life and work

Dr Fred: Work related stress: Am fortunate to work in a motivating and enabling work environment. This is the gist when it comes to handling. Spanning from my team-mates and the management.

Time management: I form a habit to schedule my days and give time to work, learning, personal care, family and friends. I consider my life as an investment too.

Esther: What do you do for fun?

Dr Fred: I love watching movies and films. I am a huge fan of animation movies. I also enjoy cooking and playing video games.

Esther: That’s a fun life. What aspects of practising medicine do you find challenging and why? Have you been able to solve them?

Dr Fred: My greatest challenge was the art of Medicine especially because of my social phobia earlier
on. However, I did overcome this with practice, always showing up. The diversity of personas(personality and background) we interact with offers the best platform.

Medical Achievements

Dr Fred: I boast of been a Graduate in Medicine and surgery with IT, Accredited in BLS, ACLS,
ATLS, PILS, PALS and the ongoing experience in both outpatient care and critical care medicine. There’s still more to come.

Esther: What excites you about medicine in general?

Dr Fred: I am always excited by the fact that Medicine is multidisciplinary, united with a common purpose in mind: help the patient.

Esther: Do you keep yourself updated with current trends?

Dr Fred: Yes, I do. To me this is a habit. One of the reasons why I am participating in POCUS training.

Challenges facing the Healthcare System and how to address them

Dr Fred: Just to mention a few:

  1. Lack of adequate backing to maintenance measures for health policies laid in place.
  2. Political influences in healthcare, whereby health systems put in place by the government halt or change with each government. This leads to lack of growth in the ministry as a whole.
  3. Demotivation and disabling work environment in the public sector. Reason for the rapid increase in emigration of medical practitioners and loss of potential locally developed great minds.

Esther: And how do you think these challenges should be addressed?

Dr Fred: Having an active monitoring entity that ensures progression of executed policies in both the central and community level.
2. The political entity should be educated on the importance of maintaining critical and basic health systems.
3. Provide an ideal work space, tools and training for the medical practitioners.

Healthcare in Kenya and Africa in years to come

Dr Fred: I’d say: Worrying. Growth in private sector and fall of the public sector will raise the cost of healthcare for the Kenyan citizens.

Esther: Where do you see Africa in terms of Healthcare in years to come

Dr Fred: Positive: Through research and teleconferencing we have been able to unite resources and minds. Through this collaboration we have been able to formulate healthcare guidelines, perform complex surgical interventions and create scholarship and educational/development opportunities within the fraternity and our communities.

Esther: All the best and thank you for your time Dr Fred.

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