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Life gives young doctor a dose of lessons

By ANN WAIRIMU
Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
Life gives young doctor a dose of lessons.
In summary
    • One of Dr Brian Mbuthia’s memorable life events is getting admission to study Medicine at Kenyatta University.
    • Just before he sat for his fifth year examinations in 2015, he was involved in a road accident and was hospitalised for a period of time. He took a one-year break and after recovery, he resumed school and was able to complete despite the minor setback.
    • He is an alumni of Equity Leaders Programme (ELP).
    • Equity Group Foundation launched Equity Afia in 2015. It is a franchised network of outpatient health facilities whose mission is to provide standardised, quality and affordable healthcare services throughout Kenya.
    • The Equity Afia clinics are fully-fledged multi-specialty medical centres offering outpatient medical care services. There are 23 medical centres distributed in Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Kakamega, Meru and Mombasa Counties.

It took commitment, patience, optimism and a proper support system for Dr Brian Mbuthia Kimani, 30, to achieve his dreams.

Ann Wairimu @sann_wairimo

Dr Brian Mbuthia Kimani believes there is no right time to do something because the world is always moving. If one has a proper plan, then go for what you desire.

“Yes, mistakes are bound to be made, but, you would rather fall or stumble at a younger age when you still have time and energy to learn and grow,” says the 30-year-old Medical Officer In-Charge of Equity Afia, Meru.

To manage a health facility at such a young age, Dr Mbuthia says, takes commitment, patience, optimism and a proper support system.

For instance, he says, as a doctor you have to work for extended hours just to ensure that your patients are well.

This can take a toll on your body and can affect your relationships as you barely spend time with your loved ones.

“Also, losing our patients affects us emotionally and mentally,” he says. 

He started the facility on April this year, in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic. He says being in the frontline was a toll order as doctors had to sacrifice their well-being for the health of their patients.

“My family was scared for me. I ensured that I educated them properly that we had protective gear that could prevent us from getting the virus.

Sadly, some of our medic colleagues in the country were affected and infected by the virus,” he says. 

Valuable experiences

He adds: “This is an experience that will be with me for the longest time since seeing patients suffer while you can only offer little help really affected us.

The pandemic also taught us valuable lessons, in that we should appreciate the role of families in our lives.

It was during this times that most families got the time to be together and go through life as one.” he says.

From an entrepreneurial perspective, thinking about how to be more impactful and to grow to serve more people is his biggest challenge.

“There are days things are tough, and there are days things are good. I learn from each experience and I grow with it.

I have also realised that when you work with a team that understands your vision, achieving your goals becomes easier,” he says.

Dr Brian Mbuthia.

However, to cope with these challenges, he consults widely and this helps him make the right decisions.

He also takes time to rest and take care of himself. “After all, you cannot give from an empty cup.

This also includes speaking with a chaplain for my mental wellness. This ensures that I am wholesome physically, emotionally and spiritually, Dr Mbuthia adds.

He is driven by ambition to achieve the best in whatever he does. “Growing up, life was mostly fun, but coupled with a number of challenges.

My parents separated when I was still young and my sister and I were raised by a single mother.

We ended up moving a lot as she worked hard to provide for us. This made me struggle to fit in as I was always the new kid.

I would often get into trouble. However, one of my teachers mentored me at and encouraged me to harness my energy and direct it towards the right cause, that is, on things that would better my life.

From then on, I have focused my efforts on pushing myself beyond my comfort zone,” Dr Mbuthia recalls.

To make ends meet, Dr Mbuthia says his mother had an office job and delved into farming and retail business to supplement her income.

“She worked hard and never complained even when things were tough.

She taught me that when you fix your mind on anything, you can move mountains and achieve a lot. I am who I am today because of how she raised me,” he reveals.

However, as a child, Dr Mbuthia had only short terms dream. “My short dream was mostly to play during the holidays and to have fun.

But as I grew up and reality began to set in, I fell in love with adventure and wanted to explore and collect experiences from all corners of our country. 

I also wanted freedom, particularly financial freedom. I wanted to work hard to become independent and to support my family.

I can say that most of dreams have become a reality— I enjoy travelling and exploring and as a practising medic, I can support my mother with my income,” he adds.

He went to Elite Senior School in Nyahururu in 2006. “Generally, I was an average student with a passion for the sciences.

I, however found my purpose in Form Two and I re-focused my energy into my academics and in my dream to pursue medicine,” Dr Mbuthia says.

After his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2009, he joined the Equity Leaders Programme (ELP) and earned a monthly stipend from his paid internship at the bank. This was helpful, especially in preparation to transition to university. 

“When I joined Kenyatta University for my undergraduate studies in 2010, I knew my pocket money would not sustain me.

I began working as a research assistance, as a gym trainer and even as a tutor just to supplement what I was getting from home.

It has not been easy, but I have learnt to live within my means, I have learnt discipline, but most of all, I have reaped from the efforts of my hardwork,” he adds.

Through ELP, Dr Mbuthia has interacted with some of the best business leaders in the country and this inspires him to emulate them.

“The ELP alumni who have pursued medicine have also joined hands and together we have established 18 Equity Afia Medical Centres.

We learn from each other and we encourage each other and this has made my journey towards entrepreneurship enjoyable and almost seamless,” he reveals.

Giving back

Dr Mbuthia is a strong believer in giving back to society. He has volunteered with many organisations including the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in the capacity of a medical doctor.

“Volunteering has immersed and exposed me to real life scenarios that have pushed me to think and act fast.

I was fortunate to volunteer with IAAF during the World under 18 Championships from June 2017 to September 2017, which was held at Kasarani.

I undertook a management role under my mentor Dr Nyakiba and had to manage a team of local and international medics.

This was not easy, but the experience saw me grow my skill set as a medic and I also learnt that I could work well under pressure and that I could manage people and processes well.

I believe that this was my first push to entrepreneurship,” he says.

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