Ibrahim: My motivation to do a medical course was drawn from the unfortunate demise of my sister, she had been admitted for two weeks, though she later died on the discharge-day. I felt that her death ought to have been prevented: her diagnosis was not well understood.
Occupation: Clinical Officer, BsCM
Place of work: Komarock Modern Hospital
Years of practise: 11 Years
ESTHER: Kindly tell us about yourself.
Ibrahim: My story is that of sheer hard work and determination against all the odds, in spite of my humble background. I attended a slum pre-school at Korogocho, later went to a neighbouring primary school at Korogocho called Ngunyumu Primary School up to class four, I was later transferred to Ruai Primary School where I did my KCPE. I Joined Kayole Secondary Day School and did my KCSE, later joined Kenya Medical Training College to pursue a Diploma in Clinical Medicine and Surgery, and later upgraded to a Bachelor of Clinical Medicine and Community Health at the Kirinyaga University.
Currently I am the national president of the (BCMGA) Bachelor of Clinical Medicine Graduates Association, and an assistant secretary to the (KUCO) Kenya Union of Clinical Officers, Kirinyaga branch.
My duties range from managing patients at the clinics, handling emergencies at the outpatient department, and conducting ward rounds among others.
ESTHER: What was the motivation behind you practising medicine?
Ibrahim: My motivation to do a medical course was drawn from the unfortunate demise of my sister, she had been admitted for two weeks, though she later died on the discharge-day. I felt that her death ought to have been prevented: her diagnosis was not well understood. That event ignited an interest to pursue medicine, and prevent such deaths. Dr. Ben Carson’s story also motivated me, that despite his humble background, he was able to change his life through hard work and focus.
ESTHER: Wow, that is really motivating. Why did you choose clinical medicine and not any other field such as gynaecology or pharmacy?
Ibrahim: Bachelor of Clinical medicine offered me the right platform. I want to venture into clinical research and try to come up with a possible cure, or better treatment modalities for non-curable diseases; especially non-communicable diseases. I feel that a lot of focus has been directed towards the infections, but less funding and research on the NCDs.
ESTHER: Right. That’s a good idea. Have you tested your motivation in the years of your practise?
Ibrahim: I get happy when my patients get well through my direct interventions. However, my main goal is to become a medical researcher, in this way I will likewise offer treatment to my patients, though in an indirect way.
ESTHER: That is true. If you were not accepted in a medical school, would you still pursue your motivation?
Ibrahim: My family thought that I would eventually end up as an engineer, I started repairing radios, televisions, and other electronic gadgets when I was in primary school. However, when the awakening moment dawned on me, my only option was to venture into medicine. No other career would provide life satisfaction to me as clinical medicine does.
ESTHER: Amazing. How do you visualize using your medical education?
Ibrahim: I am the kind that gives it all in any course that I pursue. I want to be a leading researcher in non-communicable diseases, and possibly developed a cure for one of the diseases: anything is possible to those who believe and work towards their dream
ESTHER: Which other fields would you like to pursue and why?
Ibrahim: I would love to pursue economics, I relish analyzing the developments in the financial markets, and how the global trends and currencies can be affected by the fundamentals (financial news).
ESTHER: How have you been able to handle work-related stress and time management considering that you have to balance between family and work?
Ibrahim: Medical practice has immense work-related pressure, which if unchecked can result in a work-burnout and other psychological conditions. I take time out, mostly on the weekends. I also plan my week to avoid a last minute rush. Above all family comes first and an intricate balance has to be established.
ESTHER: That is great. Tell us, what do you do for fun?
Ibrahim: I do enjoy swimming, drawing, carpentry, and cooking. These activities have helped me relax my mind especially when I’m overwhelmed.
ESTHER: What role has your family played to influence your decision in pursuing medicine?
Ibrahim: My family has been my anchor, for tirelessly providing both moral and financial support in my journey.
ESTHER: Beautiful. Kindly tell us what have you achieved in your career course?
Ibrahim: Clinical medicine has molded me into a better person; however, a positive patient outcome is my biggest achievement.
ESTHER: What are the experiences working with sick people?
Ibrahim: Health is not the absence of disease, some conditions are debilitating while others are at their milder forms.
Generally; health is precious and should be protected at all costs. A healthy lifestyle cannot be overemphasized, as most of the diseases can be prevented.
ESTHER: Exciting. Kindly tell us what excites you about medicine in general?
Ibrahim: Medicine is an art and a science at the same time. One has to skillfully learn the art and attain the appropriate scientific approach to alleviate suffering. Medical approaches are dynamic and always developing, it is a field where innovations and discoveries can never be quenched.
ESTHER: And do you keep yourself updated with current trends?
Ibrahim: I always keep myself updated with the current medical concepts, through publications, research, continuous medical education and also consulting experienced clinicians.
ESTHER: What do you see as challenges in the health sector in Kenya today?
Ibrahim: Inadequate medical personnel, the few available are on the verge of burnouts.
Poor funding of medical research: new models and approaches to diseases can only be discovered through research.
Poor and unequal remuneration of the health workers for the same work done, the discrepancies are a big demotivator.
Health is an essential service that should be handled at a central point, to allow uniformity across the country.
ESTHER: How do you think these challenges should be addressed?
Ibrahim: I think the national government and health stakeholders should come up with more strategies to motivate all the health workers. Additionally, more funding should be allocated into medical research.
ESTHER: Alright. What is the vision of healthcare in Kenya?
Ibrahim: Provide the best quality medical services; we don’t have to seek specialized medical services in other countries.
ESTHER: How about in East Africa?
Ibrahim: I believe the healthcare system in East Africa has the ability to grow into a hub of good clinical practices in the region and globally.
ESTHER: Thank you so much for your time Ibrahim.
Written by Esther Mugo.
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