My biggest fear is losing the patients in my care

Dr Ayda Linda Wanjiku

Dr Ayda Linda Wanjiku (Dr Lyndzie), Obstetrician Gynaecologist Resident – University of Nairobi/ Kenyatta National Hospital. 

Photo credit: Pool

How do you handle deliveries now that the country is struggling with a shortage of PPE?

At the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) labour ward, there’s a triage section where we screen all pregnant mothers by history taking and determining whether they may be having symptoms to suggest Covid-19 exposure, and send them to Clinic 66 (the KNH isolation centre for Covid-19 positive mothers) for testing, symptomatic treatment and isolation as they get their pregnancy complications addressed, monitoring of labour progression and operative delivery care as well. At Clinic 66, all healthcare workers wear full PPE at all times.

Ideally, a Covid-19 test should now be assimilated as a baseline test upon arrival at any hospital, just like BP monitoring or temperature recording because we have many asymptomatic patients.

The number of specialised doctors dying of Covid-19 is worrying. What comes to your mind while handling your patients?

To be honest, every healthcare worker on the frontline faces the threat of dying of this virus due to the heavy exposure at their workplaces. We took an oath to serve but not to be martyrs. When I see my colleagues dying in the line of duty, my heart breaks because we know that there’s more that could’ve been done to protect them.

What comes to mind first when handling patients is my own safety. I take a few minutes to wear appropriate protective gear. Conducting a delivery is messy, whether a spontaneous vertex delivery or a caesarean section. There’s a voluminous unrestricted spilling of body fluids and so my safety is paramount.

What is your biggest fear in life?

Snakes? Hahaha ... On the real, I do fear losing patients, especially those I have invested time, expertise, invocation of a multidisciplinary treatment approach and sometimes even prayers on, hoping they get to see another day, only for them to leave us, sometimes with no telltale signs of a poor prognosis.

What are some of the achievements you are proud of?

I’m extremely grateful to have several platforms through which to share knowledge and wisdom and impact the younger generation. I’m a mentor with the Emerging Leaders Foundation, Akili Dada and The Mpesa Foundation Academy. I’m also the founder and author of Dr Lyndzie Quotes, an online platform that speaks of matters faith, life, purpose, leadership, women, relationships and family.

What keeps you awake at night?

The search for strategies to improve and upgrade the balance between medical moral accountability and professional accountability.

Who do you look up to in your line of work?

Consultant obstetrician/gynaecologists, Dr Anne Beatrice Kihara – for her passion in advocacy, policy and community work in reproductive health – and Dr Philomena Owende; for her precision and excellence in the clinical setting, especially in laparascopy.

Does you work interfere with your family responsibilities given your busy schedule?

We all hail from families and so innately, family should automatically come first, right?

Even with my heavy, tiresome and long working hours, my family knows they are my priority. I’m the glue of the family and the life and soul of the party. I find immeasurable joy in celebrating them, in big and small ways, throwing parties, enjoying a home-cooked meal together and my favourite is the old-time family tradition; prayer every morning, no matter what!

What’s your favourite colour and why?

Purple! It’s my birthstone colour and it represents meanings of creativity, dignity, devotion, mystery, independence and royalty. Did you know that there are different shades of purple? There’s lilac, magenta, amethyst, periwinkle, mauve, violet, lavender, mulberry – just to name a few!

My favourite is Amethyst, which is my birthstone, it goes extremely well with yellow gold! That’s the epitome signature of class, royalty and mystery! You’ll always find me with purple and gold, either as an undergarment, my glasses, watch, nail polish, outfits or as jewellery accessory.

Who are your mentors?

I don’t have mentors, I have coaches who I call my board of governors. I have a spiritual coach, a life coach, a dance coach and a professional coach.

My coaching sessions are well structured, formal, performance driven and in the case of a life coach, the sessions take a holistic approach helping me live life in accordance to my life's God-given purpose.  I honour my coaches; Rev CJ Atemo, Rev Edward Karanja, Pr Benjamin Wanyoike and Mr Steve Gee Mbuthia.

What is your most important investment tip?

My youth! It’s my greatest currency. So in this season of my life, I’m heavily investing in myself — in gaining knowledge, wisdom and understanding; gaining experience, skills and social connections; beefing up my social network that will come in handy in my golden years.

Healthcare models you have nurtured to improve your services?

In my previous work stations as a medical officer, I brought in my dove style of leadership, which is supportive, relationship-oriented, considerate, compassionate and consistent in my undertakings. I started a Doctor’s Welfare Support Initiative in both hospitals.

What do you do for leisure?

I dance. I’m a professional latin dancer, but I also do contemporary dance.

I sing too, I love traveling – I prefer the bush to the beach and I love reading; you will always find a book in my handbag because I dislike small talk when waiting in line, or waiting for someone at the restaurant, instead of scrolling on my social media, I’ll instead delight in getting lost in a book.

Where do you envision yourself in the next two years?

In the next two years, I’ll still be doing my residency. I look forward to a time when I can write weekly medical articles for the public to share my knowledge on the promotive, preventive and curative measures on medical conditions.

As an individual, I’m hoping to publish my first book, travel to at least 10 countries, and have a head-start on construction.

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