Visits to the doctor are a scary, uncomfortable experience for some but there is no need to be embarrassed. Dr Dima from BetterHealth with Dr D tells us more about over the phone and online consultation; how being an online doctor has made healthcare friendly and more accessible and helps settle some fears about a doctor’s visit in these times.
Who Is Dr Dima?
I am a general medical practitioner. My interests are in public health, child welfare and health education and corporate health wellness. I have a Bsc in General Medicine and General Surgery and a Diploma in Football Medicine. I also do consultation for HIV healthcare focusing on marginalised people.
Why Launch An Online Platform?
I wanted to interact with Batswana and bridge the gap between patient and doctor. Which seems to exist in our society.
I realised a lot of people don’t like to go to the hospital. Or they see the hospital as an area where they find it difficult to express themselves; how they feel or what’s going on. Because of this some withhold important information.
But on social media, people were very free to say whatever they want. I thought to myself why not use this in a positive way and interact with people online? To find out exactly what they think about their health, any concerns and questions they may have.
It’s been a challenging journey but it’s also been amazing. People do respond differently through virtual consultation than those I meet with at the clinic. I would find someone comfortably approaches me online, type what they want or their ailments for help.
How Has This Helped Anyone Who Fears Going To The Doctor?
Mostly men fear going to the doctor for a few reasons. Some men have the superhero syndrome where they think something will go away on it’s own.
As men, society has made us think that vulnerability sucks. When you go to a doctor you have to be vulnerable. You expose your fears, your illnesses and guys tend not to like that.
One of the biggest reasons why people don’t go to the hospital, sometimes until it’s really bad is because they think they are fine. Seeing a doctor isn’t just about being fine it’s about making sure you stay fine.
They also worry about a bad diagnosis or a bad outcome. Guys don’t handle stress well compared to women. Women tend do do better than guys with bad diagnosis.
Women are also more likely to see a psychologist than men when they have received a bad diagnosis. They’ll get counselling to learn how to better cope with a bad diagnosis.
So with men, if I do a video on say an erectile dysfunction on Facebook or Youtube, it’s easy for them to slide into my DM and ask for help. I would then ask them to come to the clinic for a consultation or a referral.
The difference is when they get to the clinic the barrier has already broken down. It becomes a conversation between two people.
Any Good Stories From Online Consultations?
I have a number of success stories that keep me going and motivated as a doctor.
When I started the videos, my first topic was about a lumbar puncture or a spinal tap. People responded well with questions.
At the time I was working at a local hospital, one of my patients had a sibling who was due for a spinal tap. She approached me while I was on shift, letting me know of the sibling’s situation. She asked if I could counsel the family. After the conversation the guy got the spinal tap, his health improved and he was discharged from hospital.
I also had a young lady who had gone to a lot of clinics for a condition that recurred often. Every time she went to the clinic no one sat down and listened. She had been diagnosed with an STD, given injections and discharged.
She sent me messages. I advised her on what to do. She later traveled from Palapye to Gaborone, sought me out at the clinic and I was able to write a prescription for a yeast infection. She recovered and sent me messages to let me know of her recovery. She then referred her grandmother to me.
Any Tips About Teaching Kids About Health And Safety?
I would advise teaching kids about health and safety and have them interact with doctors from a young age.
Junior Medics is an edutainment platform started by Koziba Chepete, who has a background in paramedics. It was coming up how many kids ended up in the hospital because of accidents that are avoidable.
This can be from accidents like gates falling on kids, pools or burns from open flames.
She then wanted to teach and develop kids using age appropriate information. Teaching them about their health, how to be health cautious and build in them a desire to be safe and healthy.
Because of COVID-19, they had to close. But will be going online so that the kids can continue to enjoy their health basics in a virtual world. Look out for that.
Online Prescription And Delivery: What’s Available?
Notwane Pharmacy has introduced an online order and home delivery service. You can now place your prescription & product orders in the comfort of your home or workplace.
Pharma also offers online and home delivery services on their website for deliveries across Botswana including Kweneng, Maun and Gaborone. Delivery fee is P45 and no minimum order. All their numbers are available on their website.
Kalafhi Medical Center brings their clinic to you with their 24-hour home consultation services.
Phone: 311 7864
Mobile: 72 394 223
Check with your doctor to see if they are doing over the phone or virtual consultation.
Hope this answers some questions about seeking medical help in the new normal. Stay safe and remember to share this with your friends and family!