When Patients become family

By Truly Xamises
April 2014
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Dr  Keletso Nyathi is one of the major reasons local families are increasingly  flocking   to 
Maerua Medical Centre to seek treatment for various ailments that range from bodily 
rashes and chronic illnesses to bone fractures. 


For the past four years, hundreds of patients have gone through Dr Nyathi’s hands at the 
Maerua Medical Centre for medical care. 


Making a difference in people lives and inspiring the young generation with my profession 
is what excites me,” says Nyathi, who treats patients from conception, through life to 
geriatrics. 


He describes Maerua Medical Centre as more than just a general practice, as he has 
developed close relationships with his patients whom he now calls his family.


ÒI now boast a big family with over 3 000 members, and I know everyone. I know their 
spouses, grandparents and children. So the relationship I have with my patients is beyond 
doctor-patient,” he says. 


Dr Nyathi works hand in hand with his wife Barbara at Maerua Medical Centre. Barbara, 
who is a qualified psychologist, assists with administration work at the Centre apart from 
taking care of patients in need of psychological care. 


The Medical Centre located at Maerua Mall, employs four other people who perform 
various duties in order to keep the business side of the practice going. 


According to Dr Nyathi, the most common health complaint he constantly deals with is 
diarrhea caused by poor basic hygiene practices. 


He also notes that cases of depression are also on the increase. 


It could be linked to all this violence against women, because there are people that I
know who are in abusive relationships and are unhappy and they not empowered enough 
to make any decisions to change their situation,” he says. 


Dr Nyathi suggests that more efforts should be spent on educating the public on mental
health issues to recognise signs of being in abusive relationships as these usually escalate 
and results in murders and/or suicides. 


He says due to lack of awareness and misconception, people live with depression without
knowing it. 


Even if you tell someone they are depressed they think you are saying that they are mad. 
I think mental health education will help a lot especially in this country,” said Dr Nyathi.


The esteemed medical practitioner says what he finds challenging about his job is helping 
patients with social conditions. 


Maerua Medical Centre has another satellite branch in town, which specifically treats 
trauma patients. 


I am a general practitioner but I am happier when I deal with Trauma patients than flu
patients, but anyway, its work,” says Dr Nyathi. 


The Medical Centre uses advance proprietary software, designed by Dr Nyathi to keep 
record of patients among other things. He is the only one in the country making use of the 
advanced software. 


This is software which we use for seeing patients as well as claims. I have all the 
information stored in my electronic health record system that I can access from 
anywhere,” he adds. 


He says although the software is still relatively new, it is highly effective as he is working 
towards a completely paperless system. 

 

It’s just that this legislation requires doctors to have physical files, but I don’t need that. 
I have all my patients’ information on the computer, so that when they call in the middle 
of the night, I can just go to my computer to view their records and advise them on what 
to do,” says Dr Nyathi. 


Dr Nyathi says since he does not have extensive knowledge in Information Technology; he
has experts working on the software to make it easier for other doctors to use. 


In addition Maerua Medical Centre also has a live website that allows patients to book 
appointments online. 


Dr Nyathi is a huge technology enthusiast and can barely contain his animation when he 
describes the way technology is moving medicine forward. 

 

We are always on the cutting edge of technology, I even use this IPhone Glucometer for
my diabetic patients,” he says pointing at device on his table. 


He explains, when connected to an IPhone it can be used to check blood sugar levels. It 
can track your blood sugar readings over time, giving you feedback on how effective your 
sugar control is. 


Dr Nyathi asserts that access to quality health care is very important to every person and 
his practice is doing all it can to make it affordable to all. 


He says Maerua Mall being a premium location with premium prices and rates it makes it 
therefore becomes difficult for some people to afford his normal consultation fees of N$350. 


To address this problem, Dr  Nyathi and his team decided to offer in-house medical aid 
services to families who still visit his practice despite the rates. 


This medical aid is provided to patients of four members in a family consisting of the 
patient, spouse and two children. 


The family is required to pay the consultation fee once a month. As part of conditions for 
the facility, all members of the family are allowed six visits in one month to enable access 
to health care at a fraction of the cost. 


He says proper health care is out of reach of many people and advises people to have a 
Medical Aid as it lessens the financial burden. 

 

Our consultation fees as GPs are quite affordable but then patients will still have to buy 
medication which can be expensive and it helps if people are on Medical Aid,” he says. 


With regards to the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which might soon be introduced in 
Namibia, Dr Nyathi said although it is a good idea, the Government needs to upgrade their 
facilities. 


He suggests that the government recruits more doctors even those in the private sector as 
part of the UHC to ensure efficiency. 


As a doctor, he says, the ability to relate to patients on all aspects of life is what is 
needed to be successful. 


Dr Nyathi believes in living by example. An avid athlete, he competes in several marathons 
and ultra events in the region each year. His entire office staff has eschewed the use of 
office chairs in favour of Physio balls -to promote good posture and back strength. 


“Health is not merely the absence of disease, but a total balance in one’s social, spiritual, 
mental, physical and economic statuses,”  he concludes. PF