Name: Dr Bashir Bulbulia
Area of specialisation: Anaesthetist
Family: A wife and two children
Looking back on life, we’re all faced with certain realities. There are regrets, achievements, moments of joy, bliss and pride; some of us are even blessed by leaving a legacy behind. So, when examining his life, Dr Bashir Bulbulia decided it was time to share the professional knowledge and skills he has gathered during his career.
“The hospital where we worked, Tinstwalo, reminded me of my student years when I worked at a hospital in the Eastern Cape. Not a lot has been done in terms of progress,” says Dr Bulbulia.
He pointed out that medical care within rural areas is not on par with what’s happening in the private sector. The basic equipment, drugs and services are available to patients, but things can be improved.
“There is a lot that needs to be done in rural hospitals, hospital services, infrastructure and manpower, especially with young doctors doing community service. They need guidance and a bit of supervision. The patients are very trusting, and it’s the responsibility of doctors to ensure they can fulfil this trust and do things without endangering or harming patients. Without honed skills, you could harm somebody.”
Dr Bulbulia advises that volunteers need to consider what skills they want to impart when they join Tshemba. It varies within industries, for instance, an orthopaedic surgeon may need to spend a lot more time teaching. Anaesthesia is slightly different; it’s not a question of trying to do work, but rather one on how to get the young doctors to learn how to do things correctly.
“I believe my biggest contribution there would be to train the young doctors to improve their skills. We saw some patients and performed procedures during my stay there, which enabled me to show them how things should be done. It was really just to improve their skills and teach the young doctors safe anaesthesia; teach them hands-on skills,” says Dr Bulbulia.
Medicine is a difficult field. Doctors in community service may know a lot in theory, but practical skills are different as it can be lifesaving or not. It’s a principle that’s embraced by Tshemba; where volunteers not only assist in the field but also impart their skills and knowledge, helping the people grow who are left behind. In return for their services, volunteers can enjoy a luxurious stay at the doctor’s refuge.
“The lodge where we stayed was superb, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is a nice camaraderie with the other doctors and the people from the environment. We had an evening where we all sat around the Boma to chat and braai. That interaction is something that will stay in my mind,” he notes.
Although he was only there for a week, he believes he can contribute a lot more and will definitely be back when he has space in his schedule.
“All that’s really needed is your time.”