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[International Office] Interview with Dr. Allan Ngulube

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  • Writer 제중원보건개발원
  • Date 23.12.14
[International Office] Interview with Dr. Allan Ngulube
  1. My name is Dr Allan Ngulube , I am a Consultant General Surgeon based at Mpilo Central Hospital  a 1000 bed government referral hospital in Bulawayo the second largest city of Zimbabwe. I am married to Sehliselwe and together we have two daughters Allison (9) and Sinovuyo (5).

  2. I first heard of Severance Hospital in 2017 from a Zimbabwean colleague of mine, an ENT Surgeon, who was on his way to Severance for a fellowship, he in turn introduced me to a Korean Missionary couple  Dr Jin (Paediatrician) and Prof Kang (Pharmacologist) who are both Severance Alumni and currently based in Harare teaching at the University of Zimbabwe.  A few months later I also applied for a fellowship at Severance with interest in Gastrointestinal Surgery and I was accepted for the fellowship from April to June 2018. From the time I came from the fellowship to date, I have been in touch with the Severance hospital team particularly the Medical Mission Centre which frequently shares online the experiences of other fellows who are constantly visiting Severance and there are occasional physical visits to my country by the Severance Medical Mission Centre team who come  to visit Avison fellows as well as medical students under various mentorship programs where we meet, discuss and fellowship together,  these shared experiences and visits are a source of strength and hope when we face difficult times in our own centres. Over the course of the years, I have also recommended a few colleagues who were interested in different fellowship programs at Severance and some have actually participated in fellowship programs.  I have had the priviledge of successfully applying and being awarded the Avison Global Health Project Fund for 2022/23 that we have used at my local hospital to assist in repairing endoscopy machinery and also to purchase oesophageal stents plus endoscopy accessories for use mainly in assisting disadvantaged oesophageal cancer patients. In June 2023 we had the honour of having a visiting team from Severance Hospital Medical Mission Centre (Prof Pak Chin, Prof Choi , Prof Kang and Dr Jin) coming to Mpilo Hospital, this is the first time the team has visited our city, their visit left a lasting impression to our hospital administrators and from the interactions a few colleagues from my institution have established contact for application for future fellowships. 

  3. In addition to the routine burden of general surgical work , I currently teach Medical and Nursing students plus Specialist Surgeons in training from the local medical and nursing  schools. I am also running, on behalf of the Mpilo Department of Surgery, an endoscopy unit whose special target is to assist in palliative care for oesophageal cancer patients but we are also extending our service to other non cancer admitted patients with urgent issues requiring endoscopy. As it stands, our hospital is the only Government referral hospital that is offering that service of palliative oesophageal stenting in the southern half of the country courtesy of the Avison Grant fund. Previously our hospital had last offered any form of flexible endoscopy services around 1999 therefore since then, most patients requiring the services had to seek services in the private sector which tended to be very expensive and unreachable to many. Since resuming endoscopies, our patients now get treatment earlier unlike previously where inconclusive diagnoses delayed treatment by days to weeks while awaiting investigations. The work we have started doing, particularly in endoscopic work is largely satisfying not only because of the visible improved quality of life in the patients we attend to, but also because skills are being transferred to theatre nurses, junior doctors and trainee surgeons. Personally my faith has been greatly strengthened and I am always looking forward to a brighter future.

  4. Our most significant need is of quality modern diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy equipment  specifically we lack both flexible and rigid minimally invasive surgery equipment, currently we have a single improvised Olympus CLV260  endoscopy tower (repaired with the Avison Grant fund), the tower is equipped with a single (1) flexible colonoscope and a single (1) gastroscope  - this grossly limits the number of patients that can be served at any time due to infection control issues,  I think addition of a few more gastroscopes for that tower or a more modern system with more than one gastroscope would go a long way in improving  access to diagnostic and therapeutic services, additionally our hospital does not have a single laparoscopy tower and the existing endoscopy tower does not have components that allow it to be retrofitted to allow for rigid endoscopy/laparoscopy to be performed on it therefore most surgical procedures done at our centre are invasive and this impacts on patient’s outcomes.
  5. Our national economy has been and still is struggling and this presents a number of challenges especially in purchasing  and sometimes maintaining equipment as availability of funds is uncertain, the other challenge on a clinical level is that of keeping up to date with changing trends in patient care as our institution only offers procedures that have since been discarded in other parts of the world as surgical innovations improve.

  6. On being granted the award – I feel deeply humbled and am grateful for the recognition of our small efforts. I however believe that though the award is being given to me as an individual it truly belongs to the entire Department of Surgery at my hospital and is coming as recognition to all the support staff who serve the population untiringly under difficult conditions and with very little resources. God has been gracious and I have so much faith that the future holds greater things for us.

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