I want to be best physician, says Dr Fikru Demeke

Dr Fikru Demeke topped the table in this 6th batch of 140 doctors by scoring 3.78 CGPA; and despite being toast of the season, he prefers to be down-to-earth and wants to be the best physician to alleviate suffering of people. Recent recognition from Ethiopian Medical Association as the best medical student of the year in Addis Ababa is validation of his achievement. Click here to see the pictures

This lad hails from Nekemt, East Wollega; his father Demeke Alemayehu is a nurse and mother Fantaye Fikre housewife; among five siblings, he is the eldest. After 12 Grade from Nekemt Comprehensive High School he chose medicine for his family wanted him to opt. As his eldest sister succumbed to cardiac disease due to improper treatment, he vowed to either be a cardiologist or cardiothoracic surgeon, he said, for I wish none should die for want of appropriate and correct medical treatment.

On study plans, he said, it was during second phase of preclinical, where I had three major courses like microbiology, pathology and pharmacology; it was bit tough for I had to memorize names of drugs for the language was tough and we have to learn Latin words describing bacteria as well. At times, I had sleepless nights for we are doctors and things are pretty vast and demand constantly huge attention.

Further, he adds, though I love internal medicine, surgery is preferable for you can try it and at times things might get messed up, and when you prescribe internal medicine, patient may get healed giving you a sigh of relief. Especially, in Ethiopia, resource crunch is the handicap that prevents us in making expected headway while internal medicine being pure science offers options to grapple with challenges.

Justifying his point, he said, you know cardiac surgeon often treats patients with thrombolytic drugs, but cardiothoracic surgeon will do Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (angioplasty) that removes the clot, that’s why, I am contemplating to pursue sub-specialty courses like cardiothoracic or cardiology.

Saying stay in AMU was interesting and practical training was awesome, he said, when you treat patient for any specific conditions, you get life-time experience; it’s here, I learnt to be attentive and cautious. It’s always better to practice on patient then feeds on theory for it leaves an indelible mark on our mind.

Emphasizing existing challenges, he said, it begins with lack of enough gloves, demonstration materials, laboratories, MRI, CT-Scan, etc. And when you lack these things, you refer patients to far-flung areas and in transit you often lose patients; therefore, limitations hamper at least 20% of actual diagnosis and in such situation students focus on theory that’s not an answer. Similarly, health service management, epidemiology, biostatistics, etc. are pure theories wherein you have to learn them line by line had been a great challenge; and in research methodology, I could score C+, he admits candidly.

He attributes the credit of his success to God Almighty and parents; he said, I could make it up because my father is the best advisor, he would monitor my academic performance that prompted me to put in hard works. My teachers were excellent as they would walk extra miles in imparting knowledge, he admits

Playing soccer, viewing serious medical sci-fi, movies and spending time with friends is his pastime. He desires to be the best physician but now little bit undecided about future course; however, soon after, he wishes to go for Master course or apply for the job in AMU, and whatever best comes he would go for it.

Lack of valuable drugs and advanced equipment are great obstacles, he said, determined government can fix this problem. It needs attention from the power corridor because it’s the science that deals with life. Exchange of students between developed nations in medical fields will facilitate global exposure to physicians in honing their expertise and strengthening clinical knowledge that will benefit nation at large.

Giving his piece of mind, he says, medical profession is pretty demanding, here you must commit yourself because Ethiopia has multiple infectious, non-infectious and non-communicable maladies and to resolve this issue, government, society, community and patients are waiting for us. Therefore, being young, you must become the part of solution and start from the scratch and don’t rest till you make the real impact.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)