21 Oct 2020

“The hospitaller values make service to the sick a ministry”

Dr Augustine Demah-Teye Nuertey is from Ghana. He has worked at St. Francis Xavier Hospital for four years as a medical officer. Now, he has decided to make a change in his career and study gynaecology and obstetrics. Before he leaves, he wants to share his experience at Sisters Hospitallers Hospital in Assin Foso.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Dr Augustine Demah-Teye Nuertey, a Krobo from the Odumase-Krobo, Eastern Region, Ghana. A Christian happily married to Juliet and blessed with two lovely daughters Nuerkie and Nuerkuor. I am a senior medical officer and currently a Resident in obstetrics and Gynaecology in the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Ghana, West Africa.

How long have you been working for the Sisters Hospitallers? Did you know about our Institution before?

I have worked here for four years. I got to know about St. Francis Xavier Hospital through a friend ( Dr Yankson) who was working with the facility a year before I joined the SFXH family.

Augustine Demah-Teye Doctor at St. Francis Xavier Hospital.

Why did you choose SFXH as your first job? And what do you think makes SFXH special? What do you think is the impact of the Sisters within the hospital? What has your experience been?

I chose SFXH as my first job mainly due to the welcoming and organised environment of the hospital. Unlike other facilities I have had the opportunity of training in a serene environment within a nice landscape which makes working easy and refreshing.

Secondly, good management structures are in place which ensuresthe effective running of the facility.

Thirdly the cordial relationship that exists among all ranks of staff in the facility.

Lastly, the hospitaller values which make service to the sick a ministry.

As a medical officer at SFXH, what is your daily routine?

As a medical officer, my activities on a normal day start with a review of my ward, followed by attending to patients at the outpatient department and also handling medical, paediatric, surgical and obstetrics and gynaecology emergencies that may arise.

During your stay in SFXH, I imagine you have worked in various departments. Which one did you enjoy most and which was the most challenging?

Having worked in all the departments in the hospital, I really enjoyed the children’s ward, mainly due to the fact that these lovely kids are fun to take care of and to see how fast they recover from illness. In the children’s ward, with the support of sister in charge (Sr María Lourdes Sanz) and management, I helped to establish the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) together with hardworking nurses of the department. This has left a great impression on me.

A particularly challenging time for me in the facility was when I had to manage the medical ward, as some of these patients are terminally ill with conditions in which not much can be done for them medically.

A particularly challenging time for me in the facility was when I had to manage the medical ward, as some of these patients are terminally ill.

What are the most common illness/diseases and how they can be prevented?

The most common illness is malaria, which can be prevented through the use of insecticide-treated nets (ITN), keeping the environment clean, wearing long clothes when staying outdoors at night and the use of mosquito repellents, just to mention a few.

Another condition on the rise lately is hypertension especially among the youth. This can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising and adopting regular medical check-ups.

What measures should be put in place to improve the quality of life of patients and the general population?

The health of the population can be improved through health education and health advocacy, with medical screenings in the community to identify chronic illnesses for referral to the facility for management.

Adequate human resources and equipment would also improve the quality of health.

Training of more staff in specialised areas would greatly enhance the quality of care given to patients.

In the area of maternal health, a completed and fully equipped maternal and neonatal unit will help improve the quality of care given to women and babies.

What do you like most about your job? Would you change anything?

I love my job and especially the fact that while working, I strive to work as a good steward of the sick who our Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted into our care -, an act of continuing Christ’s healing ministry on earth.

The health of the population can be improved through health education and health advocacy, with medical screenings in the community to identify chronic illnesses.

Tell us how the COVID-19 has affected life in the hospital set up. How do you see the future for the lives of the people? How’s your life changed since the pandemic?

COVID-19, has positively and more often, negatively affected lives in the hospital.

The positive aspect is the fact that health workers are now more cautious and implementing infection prevention control (IPC) more than before. The facility is also making good use of technology in these trying times which I believe will continue when the burden of the pandemic wanes.

Negatively, revenues have reduced due to low attendance of clients at the clinic, Funds which hitherto would have been used in developing the hospital are now being used to procure protective equipment, etc to combat disease.

Initially, electives surgery was put on hold due to the pandemic which made patients suffer from conditions which otherwise would have been solved earlier.

Some staff have unfortunately been affected by COVID-19, which greatly impacted human resources in the facility.

Lately, contact time and quality of care have been reduced due to the spread of the disease. I pray and strongly believe that this pandemic will soon be over, and that normal life will return to the facility and the country.

And how has your life and work changed since the COVID-19 restrictions have been imposed? Are there any additional challenges?

I rarely frequent the ward at leisure time outside scheduled time at work to check on patients like I used to. For me, this is affecting the quality of care to clients. But we know we are not in normal times and this will eventually be over too.

What worries you the most about patients not coming to the Hospital because of COVID-19?

Some may stay at home without a regular check-up and replenishment of medications, so some will run out of supplies, and their condition will worsen which may even result in death.

Until now you have been a general doctor. What made you choose gynaecology as your speciality?

I finally decided to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology mainly because of the district in which I find myself, During these few years of practice, I have come to the realisation that to positively have an impact in the community is – to an extent – to have good gynaecology and obstetrics care for the women who form the majority of the population in the community.

Obstetrics and gynaecology are also more satisfying, in the sense that a woman conceives and after delivery joyfully goes home to the family with a new baby. There is also much joy in the home and community when women are well.

I am interested in maternal and fetal medicine because managing pregnancy, labour and puerperium will have a positive impact in community and country.

What part of this specialization are you interested in and why?

I am interested in maternal and fetal medicine (MFM), an aspect of obstetrics and gynaecology. because managing pregnancy, labour and puerperium will have a positive impact in the home, community and country. It is also more satisfying to see a woman not dying during childbirth, but joyfully going home in good condition with a healthy baby or babies.

Do you see yourself returning to practice at St Francis Xavier Hospital in the future?

Yes, St. Francis will be my preferred choice of facility to work in after my training.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about working at the hospital?

SFXH is a wonderful place to work, – full of life experiences which will build one up for the future. Working in SFXH will improve one’s skill in medical practice and actually touch the lives of people in rural and semi-urban areas.

One will also enjoy the benefit of working in a serene environment too- hahaha!! The staff are also great to work with and the social activities of the hospital will make lifetime memories.

Would you like to add anything?

I would like to express my gratitude to your office for enabling me to share my unforgettable experience working in SFXH, and also to all management members especially all medical directors who I have had the opportunity to work under. Thank you too, to hardworking colleague doctors and nurses, all biomedical staffs and all other facility colleagues for a great working experience!

Lastly to my beautiful wife Juliet, for her strength and support while I have been working in SFXH.