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It's no glamour job

Solomoni Biumaiono
Saturday, May 26, 2012

AT 27 years of age, he is possibly one of the youngest doctors in charge of a divisional medical centre or hospital in the country. Meet Doctor Mesulame Namedre, the acting sub-divisional medical officer (SDMO) for Taveuni and Qamea.

He is in charge of three doctors, 26 nurses in three health centres and two nursing stations, and laboratory, dental and X-ray technicians apart from the other general staff.

He also has to look after the whole islands of Taveuni and Qamea aside from the other smaller islands like Yanuca.

With an estimated population of 16,400 to look after, this is certainly a big task to undertake with all the administrative responsibilities that come with it.

Dr Mesulame was confirmed to the acting SDMO post this year but has held the position for quite some time when he was first posted to Taveuni in 2010.

His predecessor had to go on leave and most of the time, he was left in charge of daily operations.

The former Natabua High School student had just graduated from the Fiji School of Medicine in 2008 after a five-year term as a student and intern.

Growing up in his village of Nakalavo in Nadroga and Lautoka, Dr Mesulame first started out wanting to be a teacher like his father but later changed his mind as he grew up.

"Doctors have always been perceived as heroes on television and in movies and are always glamorised," he said.

"As I went through medical school, that is exactly the opposite as most times we have to work with whatever resources that we have and that takes a whole lot more from you.

"It challenges you but since you're passionate about it, of course there is job satisfaction because you have to love your job first and that is one thing that young people should learn first and foremost.

"You have to look for something that you like doing, yes it's a job but you will have to like it first," Dr Mesulame says.

Taveuni was his second posting, his first ever since leaving med-school was to Labasa where he thought he would only stay for a year.

At a time when many doctors are leaving for greener pastures abroad or entering the area of private practice, Dr Mesulame says this is a a move far from from his mind.

"The area of public health is very different from other areas of the medical profession. In this field you have to be a people's person because you interact with communities," Dr Mesulame says.

"I think no two challenges are the same where you come across so many different people and different cases.

"When I was younger, people used to be afraid of doctors and usually take their word as gospel.

"Now people challenge what you say and this is something that we have to deal with, to ensure they receive the best treatment and care that we can possibly give them."

When The Fiji Times crossed paths with the young doctor, he was treating a boy who had been bitten by a shark while spear fishing. Despite the anxiousness of relatives of the patients and all the drama that usually occurs in the Emergency Room, Dr Mesulame handled the situation with ease รน first while treating him and the second, reaching a compromise with his patient, who did not want to be admitted and opted to leave for his village straightaway.

The man received two stitches for the shark bite and it seemed his injuries were not that serious.

This kind of situation often keeps Dr Mesulame and others like him on their toes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.





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