Dr. Fred Kemah is a Cameroonian of Southwest origin, who did his primary, secondary and high school education in BGS, Buea and Sasse College, obtaining his GCE Advanced levels .He left Cameroon for Italy to read medicine in Rome some 25 years ago.
He successfully studied Medicine at the University of Rome, sponsored by his family. Dr.kemah who lives in the United Kingdom is currently a consultant cardiologist and honorary senior lecturer of cardiac medicine there.
He has particular interest in Stroke and heart failure. The Consultant Cardiologist, who is now in Cameroon, will in the days ahead give public lectures on the cited diseases and other health –related subject as part of his efforts to keep the Cameroon society better informed about signs and symptoms of the above clinical conditions. During his lectures/press conference, Dr.kemah is expected to lay emphasis on the importance of modernization of the health care Cameroon starting with the Southwest Region. The Cardiologist, while still in the UK, had an online exchange with The Recorder .Excerpts:
Dr Fred Kemah, you are coming to Cameroon after 25 years abroad. Can you tell our readers where have you been and why you have chosen to be back home after this long, long while?
To be honest I have been visiting our country through out this time frame. One of the reasons I am here is to highlight the importance of primary prevention of non communicable clinical conditions such as STROKE, and HEART ATTACK.
I understand you are a Consultant Cardiologist based in United Kingdom. Where and on whose financial ticket did you receive this specialist training?
I went to Italy a couple of months after my A levels from Sasse.My send- off and education in Rome, Italy was a fruit from family planning and sacrifice. In other words, I had no scholarship, but sponsored by my parents. I am always grateful.
What pushed you to be trained as a cardiologist? What is cardiology all about?
Prestige. It was and is still the most highly regarded branch in the medical community.
You must have a basic understanding of the heart and its physiology to be a good doctor, irrespective of your specialty. Cardiology is a specialist branch in internal medicine dealing with the heart and great blood vessels.
What specifically is your mission to Cameroon now? How is your stay in Cameroon going to improve on the health situation?
I will stress the importance of modernizing the healthcare standards in Cameroon. Will emphasis that doctors should put patients interest as their first priority.
Also, I would insist on the fact that doctors should be held accountable for their decisions regarding the care offered to patients.
Most importantly, I plan to offer health alerts to the wider public in conditions like heart failure, stroke, heart attack and sudden death.
More Cameroon-trained doctors, due to poor working conditions, go abroad to seek for greener pastures. I have learnt that over 70 % Cameroonians trained abroad as doctors do not return to heir home country to be of service to their nation. What is your take on this?
Politics is to blame in this respect. Life clearly states that where there is light there is joy. You can’t move from sunshine to darkness.
You must have heard that Cameroon has an acute shortage of medical doctors, yet about 6000 or so Cameroonian doctors are working abroad. The official national doctor-patient ratio is reportedly one doctor for 10,000 patients. As a Cameroonian and highly skilled medical doctor, what is your reaction to this bleak situation?
No incentive to encourage our return. Let’s wait and see with a little bit of democracy.
Are cardiac diseases, from your findings, common in Cameroon and what can be done to address the situation?
Cardiac diseases are common. Stroke is a major burden as you can see.
Educating the people about lifestyle, risk factors, signs and symptoms of life threatening conditions. That’s why I am around.
The Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Buea will soon graduate its first batch of Trained in Buea medical doctors. What feeling do you have getting this news? And how can you be of help to this Faculty of Health Sciences?
Great. I am a honorary senior lecturer in cardiac medicine with extensive teaching experience in England.
I am very happy to serve my country. And therefore, happy to give my contribution in forming future doctors.
First published in The Recorder Newspaper,Cameroon,of December 24,2012