When I was accepted to go and study at the university I wasn’t sure of what I was going to study even though at secondary school I always says I will do medicine. When going my father told me that when “you come back I won’t expect anything from your other than you becoming a doctor”. So sometimes I wonder if I became a doctor because that’s what I wanted or that’s what my father wanted.
Esther: Hello our viewer, we cross over our borders all the way to Zambia. Meet Dr Tuma and let’s get to know more about her and her medical journey!
Thank you Dr Tuma for this opportunity to have this interview. Please tell us more about yourself.
Dr Tuma: Thank you Esther. My name is Dr Tuma Kasole. I was born and raised in a mining town called Mufulira in the northern part of the country Zambia. I did my primary and secondary school in the
same town. For tertiary education, I went to the university of Zambia in the capital city.
Early journey in medical career
I graduated in 2007 with an MBChB degree, worked for about 5 years in different parts of the country before I went back to the university of Zambia to specialise in anaesthesia.
Post specialisation, I worked in the rural area for 3 years before I left and joined a hospital which is run by the mining company on the Copperbelt.
Esther: Wow, amazing. That’s quite an interesting journey in your medical career.
My motivation to practise medicine
Dr Tuma: When I was accepted to go and study at the university I wasn’t sure of what I was going to study even though at secondary school I always says I will do medicine. When going my father told me that when “you come back I won’t expect anything from your other than you becoming a doctor”. So sometimes I wonder if I became a doctor because that’s what I wanted or that’s what my father wanted.
Esther: That is interesting and I hope that you do actually enjoy practising medicine.
Why did you choose Medicine and not other fields such as Public Health or Nursing?
Dr Tuma: During my training, I enjoyed physiology during pre-clinical years. And when we started clinical practice, internal medicine was my passion, such that when I eventually went for specialisation I actually started with internal medicine. But I found the work environment hostile and I decided to quit.
After deciding to quit I sat down and asked myself what I was going to do because surgery, any type of surgery was not an option. I didn’t enjoy paediatrics either. Then I remembered that the university had just started offering anaesthesia. That’s how I ended up on anaesthesia.
Esther: I am loving this interview Dr Tuma. Moving on, what do you like most about practising medicine and why?
Dr Tuma: I found anaesthesia to be everything and more of what I thought of internal medicine. The specialty trains you to always think ahead and plan for what might go wrong.
Esther: What is the major thing you would want to accomplish in your medical career?
Dr Tuma: My major accomplishment is to be able to conduct succesful researches and clinical trials and publish them frequently.
How I visualise my Anaesthetic Education
Dr Tuma: My vision is to teach everyone I work with on how to approach and manage a seriously ill patient to improve their outcome as well as provide better management medical solutions.
My next medical field
Dr Tuma: I think my next field should be in the field of medical research and clinical trials. I wish to engage in medical research, especially from a practicing clinician view.
Esther: All the best in your future endeavours. How do you collaborate with other primary healthcare providers in your line of duty to ensure the patient gets the best medical attention?
Dr Tuma: At the end of it all, the end result is focused on improving better treatment and management outcome to the patient. We hold clinical meetings, what would be termed as CMEs to discuss with colleagues. I have also taken it upon myself to train my juniors whenever there is an opportunity.
Esther: That’s great. How do you approach diagnoses and treatments for patients?
Dr Tuma: In medicine, a certain protocol has to be followed. I always follow the basics: that is taking the patients history, conducting examinations and lab investigations etcetera. And in the case where I am not sure with my approach, I will always consult my seniors.
Esther: What is your philosophy with medicine and treating patients?
Dr Tuma: My philosophy is do the best I can and always ask when I am not sure I consult.
Esther: That is resourceful. How have you been able to handle work-related stress and time management considering that you’re balancing between family/individual and work?
My family’s my support system
Dr Tuma: For family support I have a very supportive husband and family. When I was doing my anaesthesia training, I was already married and had one child before I joined. I had my second child during the training. The extended family type of arrangement in our African culture is what helped me as I had a niece to help me with taking care of my children whilst I read books, went of work even being on call. I left my child at six weeks to go back to work.
What works the best is to plan how the day will be. How I balance family/individual and work, I am not sure how I do it, but we are managing.
Esther: Wow, that’s a very supportive family you have there. And what do you do for fun?
Dr Tuma: I mostly spend the time with my family, we go out visit places (see physical features like my daughter calls the outings) or visit extended family.
Medicine, practise and it’s challenges
Esther: That’s a lovely family. What aspects of practising medicine do you find challenging and why? Have you been able to solve them?
Dr Tuma: I find paediatric anaesthesia challenging for me. So, I try to read a lot on paediatric
Esther: What have you achieved in your career course?
Dr Tuma: I really can’t point at one thing. But I feel that I have grown in my practice and I have, and I
am contributing to the health standards of the country.
Esther: Congratulations on your achievements. What are the experiences working with sick people?
Dr Tuma: Being a doctor is working with sick people, however in anaesthesia most of my patients are stable but I do get very sick patients, and this puts me at extra alert as I am always thinking of the worst that can happen.
The best of medicine
Esther: What excites you about medicine in general?
Dr Tuma: The career of medicine is unique from any other career. The exciting thing about it is how we are able to identify what’s wrong with a patient and being able to treat the condition successfully. That makes me feel special.
Esther: So far, so good. I’m loving this conversation. Do you keep yourself updated with current trends Dr Tuma?
Dr Tuma: Yes, I do. I always try my best to be up to date by reading journals and getting involved in teaching where I can.
Esther: That’s good to hear. What challenges do you feel doctors are facing today?
Dr Tuma: There are many challenges that doctors face. Just to mention a few:
a. With internet freely accessible patients are diagnosing and treating themselves such that when they
come to seek professional help complications would have set it.
b. Medical training has been commercialised so much that the training of doctors has been compromised so much.
c. There is too much political polarisation in medicine now such that scientific debates are based on what one believes in and not on what science says.
Esther: Thank you for those few mentions, and how do you think these challenges should be addressed?
Dr Tuma: This is what I feel should be done:
a. There is need to sensitise people the importance of always seeking professional medical help.
b. There is need to set and abide by the standards for training
c. Scientist need to be scientist and leave politics to the politician though it was be easy. What is needed is for associations to set the rules and abide by them.
The future of Healthcare
Esther: Where do you see Zambia in terms of Healthcare in years to come?
Dr Tuma: In terms of health care as a country we are making a lot of stride with the government investing in state of the arts hospital and sending doctors abroad to go and acquire those specialties we lack. There is still work to be done though but I thinking we are making progress.
Esther: Where do you see Africa in terms of Healthcare in years to come
Dr Tuma: First, I want to believe that we are heading the right way in healthcare system as a continent. And of course with more collaborations, I think we have the potential to join the rest of the world in
providing quality health care all over the continent.
Esther: Thank you for your time Dr Tuma.
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