BY JOY OFASIA
HISTORICALLY in Solomon Islands, medicine has attracted fewer women than men because of long working hours associated with the profession and the rigorous academic background required in advanced science and math — subjects that women have been less likely to pursue.
This is why Solomon Islands female Pediatrician Dr Maryanne One’asi Harihuru Korai’ai was one of the female doctors in the country who realizes her call to pursue medical studies abroad to become a Pediatric doctor.
Pediatrics is the branch of medicine dealing with the health and medical care of infants, children, and adolescents from birth up to the age of 18.
- Brief Introduction of yourself including your full name, age, and marital status, and where you come from?
I am Dr. Maryanne One’asi, Harihiru Kora’ai. I come from Are’are and Kwaio in the Malaita province. I am 39 years old and married with four children.
- Introduce your career as a Doctor
Primary School: Mbua Valley Primary School
High School: St Joseph Catholic Secondary School (forms 1-5)
King George Secondary School (Form 6)
Wesley College, Pukekohe, Auckland NZ (Form 7)
Before enrolling at Fiji School of Medicine
(above is optional information)
- I graduated with Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from then Fiji School of Medicine in 2006. (During that time, I got married and had 3 of my 4 children)
- Worked as a Paediatric (Children’s doctor) Registrar from 2009.
- Graduated with Masters in Medicine: Paediatrics from Fiji National University, 2017
- Cardiology Training/Attachment at Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital, A super Speciality Centre for Child Heart Care, Raipur, Chhattisgarh state, Central India. 2018.
- Currently working as a junior Paediatric consultant at Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Suva, Fiji.
- Why have you chosen to become a Doctor?
Like most budding doctors, my imagination of being a doctor is a far cry from the reality. I thought becoming a doctor would be a ‘walk in the park’. I just have to sit behind a desk, talk to people, smile and write a prescription. Well, I soon found out I was wrong.
- What is one thing you love being a Doctor?
I believe serving the children is my calling and I am passionate about my work. I find reward in seeing the sick children recover and worried parents smile.
- What is one best experience you had as a Doctor?
I am particularly interested in the field of cardiology. Hence, so far the climax of my learning/ training was during the cardiology attachment, in India. A super Speciality Centre for Child Heart Care hospital that offers free outpatient services and cardiac surgery/Cath lab services to children with Congenital Heart Disease. I got to see and learn things that are not written in the books. The local team were committed and willing to train me. Their hospitality was also great. So yes, that was a priceless exposure and breathtaking learning experience for me.
- What is one saddest moment/ experience that you will never forget as a Doctor?
As a doctor, working in a third world country with limited resources, there are times, when you feel like your hands are tied. You cannot do more when you know more can be done for a sick child. Due to lack of medicine, equipment, specialisation. etc, it is a bad feeling.
- What are some challenges you faced as a Doctor?
- Juggling work and personal life: Having to learn by trial and error the art of balancing family, friends, work and study.
- Long working hours: Being a doctor, is very demanding and challenging. We have long working hours because of the doctor patient ratio that is seen almost all around the world.
- The pleasure of dealing with lives: It is not 8 am to 4:30pm job. You do not get up at 4:30pm and leave when you have a sick child in your hands. You are dealing with people/ lives. A car in a garage can wait for tomorrow or be written off if it is damaged, the owner can go and buy a new one exactly the same the following day. You cannot replace a life!
- People’s expectations: With the modern technology, people read and have their own expectations when they go to a medical facility and sometimes already in a fighting spirit even before we see them. Yes, it is a very stressful time for the patient/family. But if the understanding can be mutual, it would be greatly appreciated. Patients/family and medical professionals need to work together as we have the same goal, that is, the recovery of the patient.
- What is one thing that you would like to share with women and girls in this Christmas festive season?
As the woman of the house, we play a very important role. We set the atmosphere in our homes. Let’s all have a very joyful Merry Christmas and share the spirit of Christmas (Christ’s love) not only to our loved ones but to the people around us. And when Christmas season is over, let’s not put away that spirit like the Christmas decorations, but continue with that spirit into 2019!
- Any encouragements that you would like to share with young girls in today?
As Solomon Islands woman, who grew up in the Solomons in the 80s and 90s , when the culture of women are to be ‘seen and not heard’ was still strongly evident. It is good to see that the wheel is turning or has turned. There is a whole world of opportunities out there. Find out what sets your heart on fire and chase your passion/dreams. “You are only limited by the walls you build around yourself.”
- Any last comment that you would like to share with women and girls?
As a working/studying Solomon Islands mother and wife, with a Christian background, it was only natural that I thought looking after my family meant doing everything for them at whatever cost even if I have to deny myself. I would stay up late at night to study, wake up early in the morning, do breakfast and lunch take always for the school children and then rush off to work, usually with an empty stomach….I have learnt that to be able to look after my family, I must also look after myself. I means ensuring I have enough sleep, eat healthy meals at the right times, drinking adequate water, making time for that cup of coffee with my friends, going for that Paps smear test, giving myself at least half an hour of physical activity each day even on a busy day. And of course some silent time with God each day. I have realised that these are few of the things I need to do to look after myself and family. I urge you the beautiful women of Solomon Islands, the mothers of our children, hence the nation to look after your families by looking yourselves as well. Only then, can we give our best to our families, community, nation and the world.