She is happy to alleviate human suffering

E-Plus Medical Services managing director Susan Ng’ong’a. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA

What you need to know:

  • Susan Ng’ong’a is currently the managing director, E-Plus Medical Services.
  • E-Plus was awarded Superbrands Status 2017/2018 by Superbrands East Africa, becoming the only EMS in East Africa to receive this award.
  • The biggest challenge in Kenya currently is that there are no formal emergency medical services systems (EMS) yet there is a huge demand.
  • There is opportunity for young people to develop a career in EMS through training as emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

Susan Ng’ong’a was born 43 years ago in Kisumu as the third born in a family of eight children, and the first girl. She schooled in Arya Primary school in Kisumu and St. Alberts Ulanda Girls’ school in Migori County before joining Kianda College. She is currently the managing director, E-Plus Medical Services.

Before then, she was a personal assistant of Kenya Red Cross Secretary General, Head of Supply Chain Unit, General Manager Supply Chain, Acting Managing Director and currently the Managing Director of E-Plus. She has also served as the Kenya Red Cross Sacco (Kenred) Board chairman for three years.

Growing up was not as easy, having risen from humble beginnings. What has this experience taught you?

It doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are as long as you have passion and a dream. Pursue them to the fullest. It is only your dreams and passion that will take you places.

You seem to have served consistently in the humanitarian sector. What has interested you to stay?

I am driven by the cause. I get fulfilment in the mission of alleviating human suffering. My joy comes from seeing smiles on the faces of the clients we serve, and this gives me the strength and will to stay on.

Did you always want to be a humanitarian development professional?

I landed in this field by chance, but I ended up liking it. I was passionate about Home Science in school, but did not pursue hospitality. I am however serving in hospitality in E-Plus and liking it very much. I have a business acumen and I am passionate in managing and growing businesses and ventures.

Which personal attributes do you owe your success to?

Believing in self, diligence, commitment and passion. I am positive, and believe that everything is possible if you are committed to the mission. I am always seeking solutions and not dwelling on challenges. Personal development also plays a major role.

You have in the last 10 years climbed up the corporate ladder in a humanitarian organisation. What advice would you give to a young person who intends to head an influential organisation?

There is no shortcut in life. Hard work, patience and commitment are the sure ways to success, in addition to doing things right and doing the right things. Young people should be solution seekers. There will be challenges in organisations; the solution is not to quit but to face the challenges head-on and overcome them. The principles of management work magic.

Who are your mentors?

Various people have mentored me at different stages in life. My parents have instilled in me values and principles that help me navigate life on a daily basis. My husband is my best friend, helper, comforter and the father of my children.

The late Hon Mutula Kilonzo, who was my first employer, taught me the importance of small and simple things in life that we always take for granted.

The late Mr A. A. Molu also taught me the importance of diligence, integrity and principles. Dr Abbas Gullet has instilled in me the value of believing in self, going beyond the call of duty and exploiting my potential to the fullest.

Again, you have been very vocal about the need for pre-hospital care. What are its main benefits?

Proper pre-hospital care in the country has the potential of reducing the burden on our healthcare system.

Evidence-based research indicates that a well-established out of hospital acute medical care system can reduce mortality and morbidity from many common conditions. In an emergency situation, the first care you get is important and determines your treatment outcome. It is the determinant between life and impairment. Saving every life is important.

What is the biggest challenge with emergency medical services in Kenya and how can young people be part of the solution?
The biggest challenge in Kenya currently is that there are no formal emergency medical services systems (EMS) yet there is a huge demand. EMS in Kenya is yet to be regulated.

We have been part of the team that has been working with the Ministry of Health in formulating the National Emergency Medical Care Policy, which will go a long way in facilitating EMS. There is opportunity for young people to develop a career in EMS through training as emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

What else do you do apart from humanitarian development that people don’t know?

I am a farmer, doing both greenhouse and open field farming. I am also a very good cook. I like baking, grilling and trying new recipes with my daughter. I also love reggae music and I am a supporter of Manchester United by extension, courtesy of my son.

Mention any outstanding awards and recognitions – locally and internationally.

E-Plus won a recognition for its contribution in improving road safety from the Association of Kenya Insurers in 2015 during the Road Safety Awards. It has also been awarded Superbrands Status 2017/2018 by Superbrands East Africa. It is the only EMS in East Africa that has won this award.

Any hidden talents?

I am meticulous and very good with record keeping and management. Ask anyone who needs certain information or documentation that I have been privy to. They know they will get it from me whether at home or in the office. I am also very good at keeping and maintaining contacts.

If a magic wand made you 25 again and you had the chance to change one thing about yourself then, what would it be?

I would do the same things, the same way over and over again.