What It Means To Be A Health Worker In Rural Areas


’’After my graduation in 2009 as a Mkapa Fellow for 3 years, I have been working at the Kilolo District Hospital in Iringa region serving as the District Medical officer,“so says Dr. Wilfred William Rwechungura, a medical doctor professionally and a Mkapa Fellows Alumni.

He continues, “The Kilolo district populated with 205,081 people, is served with 1 district hospital, 2 public health centres and 50 public and private dispensaries and my roles it to ensure equitable and quality health services are accessible to the community.

 

Kilolo District Hospital in Iringa Region

Working as a health worker in rural area can be very interesting and yet it can be a bit difficult. It is interesting that as a young and potential health care worker I had an opportunity to come across abundant and variant number of interesting medical conditions at first sight.. I learned to work independently as there are no senior specialists to consult and no room for telemedicine. It is easier to track the case right from the beginning and evaluate the progress of the patient as most of the time there are few healthcare workers versus the patients.

Imagine you are managing HIV/AIDS patients (the same patients) for three years consecutively. It is easier to monitor their progress both clinically and also by using lab parameters. There is an opportunity to gain clinical skills in a very short time and do great things under minimal supervision as long as patient management is concerned.

                        

Dr. Rwechungura (left) performing Ceaserian

Operation at Kilolo District Hospital, Iringa

Meanwhile, being a leader in rural areas is an experience! Leading a health care system in an area where there are challenges need to be addressed in order to achieve certain goals such as Millennium Development Goals and yet there is limited resources to address the gaps. However these challenges are addressed in strategic, innovative, consistent and flexible interventions.

In the years I have worked in Kilolo district, there have been achievements amongst them building capacity of health workers through various professional trainings, rehabilitation of health centers and clinics and improving availability of essential medicine. We have also improved services on HIV/AIDS patients and especially Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Transmission (PMCTC) and male circumcision among others.

As a Mkapa Fellow, one of the important value i have learnt is to serve the disadvantaged and to make sure all patients attended receive quality health care and treatment.

I strongly suggest to my fellow health workers that we should not get stuck in urban areas, but venture in rural communities and serve the people, as this is where most of our services are needed.

Together we can bring changes to the health system in the country and create equity in health services provision to all Tanzanian. Lets serve those in need and marginalized.” Says Dr. Rwechungura.

 

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