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DOCTOR’S PROFILE: George Kariuki

I felt a natural liking towards the field of medicine. Even though I had relatives who were practising different fields of medicine, I could feel that I wanted to take that route. Maybe it’s in the family blood! I am very sympathetic and passionate towards humanity.

Occupation: Clinical Officer

Place of work: Kimbimbii Sub-County Hospital

Years of practice: 5 Years

ESTHER: Kindly give us a short history of yourself.

George: My name is George Kariuki, a clinical officer  working in Kimbimbi Sub-County Hospital in Kirinyaga .I pursued clinical medicine at the Kenya Medical Training College in Embu. I have been practising my craft for 5 years now. Passionate about healthcare in Kenya.

ESTHER: What motivated you to practise medicine?

George: I felt a natural liking towards the field of medicine. Even though I had relatives who were practising different fields of medicine, I could feel that I wanted to take that route. Maybe it’s in the family blood! I am very sympathetic and passionate towards humanity. Being in the medical field has helped me practise this act everyday, I have always found a way to help the sick and the vulnerable groups of people in the community and also help them overcome any problem they may be going through in any means I can.

ESTHER: Wow, that is amazing. So, why did you choose clinical medicine and not any other field?

George: I interacted with people at the community level just to understand what their major concerns are. One of the issues I realised is that not many people can not afford better healthcare services, especially those living in rural and remote regions. Clinical medicine would then help me directly attend to these patients’ medical needs and that is how I decided to pursue it.
Additionally, there is an obvious overlap between all these fields of medicine but I really wanted to be making the first decision on patients’ treatment.

ESTHER: Beautiful. And have you tested your motivation so far?

George: Yes, I test my motivation everyday and every time I’m at the consultation office! Diagnosing and treating my patients and seeing them get better than they came in has been my greatest motivation; restoring some little hope.

ESTHER: That is great. If you were not accepted at medical school, would you still pursue your motivation?

George: If I wasn’t accepted in a medical school, I would definitely try my hand in farming and solve food insecurity around me. Our country has been facing a severe food insecurity problem with millions of people living on relief food.
I would have worked to develop agricultural skills in drought-stricken regions and use of natural resources especially water for irrigation, encourage diversification of eating habits, improve conditions under which relief food organizations operate so it can reach many people among others.

ESTHER: Interesting! How do you see the future using your medical education?
George: My passion on practising medicine is on improving the quality of living standards in people living in rural and remote areas facing challenges on quality of healthcare.
I’m working on setting up a mobile clinic and working with well wishers or other medical organizations where vulnerable persons can come to seek medical attention with no or very low cost incurred.

ESTHER: Wow, that’s so passionate of you. Which other medical field are you interested in?
George: I would like to pursue obs/gyn as another interesting field. I had a great mentor whom I looked up to and I enjoyed working closely with him during my internship. I loved how passionate he was in his field of practise.
I would like to give comprehensive care for pregnant mothers and their potential babies down the road. And generally solve women’s health.ESTHER: How has it been for you handling work and personal life considering medical course can be quite demanding?

George: It can be quite difficult to juggle work related stress and personal life. But what has worked for me is establishing boundaries between work and family. I try as much as I can not to bring work home. I have also learnt that my personal life is as important as my work. I also take regular breaks when overwhelmed with work and even seek support when need be.
Medical course would require one to be alert and active as well.

ESTHER: True. And with that, what do you do for fun?
George: I love watching movies, they help me relate with many things happening around me. I also enjoy gardening. I have a small kitchen garden where I do vegetables and herbs. I also enjoy taking walks with my family in the evening, it is really healthy! 

ESTHER: What role has your family played in motivating you?

George: My family has been my biggest support even before I went to medical school. And all through my practise, they have remained to be my fans. They appreciate my  career and my passion for helping the community. I have seen them support me in other projects I have had going on.

ESTHER: That’s a lovely family there. What have you achieved as a clinical officer?

George: In my career course and practise, I have been able to reach out and mentor youths in the youth friendly community to be a better version of themselves.
We have had different projects on helping the community together with the youth: clean-ups, medical camps. We have also conducted successful career seminars and I have seen positive outcomes from them.

ESTHER: Good work there. What are some of the experiences you have had working with sick people?

George: Working with sick people is tasking and will require patience and compassion. Although demanding, but at the end of it all, it is fulfilling to know that you have impacted someone’s life and made them better than they were before, full of life and hope.

ESTHER: What really excites you about clinical medicine in general?

George: Achieving patient’s satisfaction! That is all I can say.

ESTHER: Oh great! Do you keep yourself updated with current medical trends?

George: Yes, I do. Science is evolving day by day. I make sure to create time to keep myself updated by attending CMEs, webinars and medical research programs and seminars organized by various medical organizations and even my local hospital.

ESTHER: That is wonderful. What do you see as the challenges in the Kenyan healthcare system?

George: Healthcare is quite expensive in Kenya for a larger population to afford. Healthcare providers have been subjected to poor working systems.

ESTHER: How can these challenges be overcome?

George: We can adopt the formation of a health service commission to work on patients’ needs as well as improve the working conditions of the healthcare providers. A commission that can address challenges facing both the patient and the doctor.

ESTHER: And what is the vision of healthcare in Kenya?

George: Universal Healthcare for all. I’m glad that it has already been rolled out in our country. We now await its implementation.

ESTHER: What is the vision on healthcare in East Africa?

George: all East African countries should cooperate together to improve the health sector and put up with strategies, implement them for a healthier future of the whole community.

ESTHER: Thank you so much for your time George.

Written by Esther Mugo.

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