Young medical

At just shy of 40 years, Dr Aobakwe Segwe is a phenomenal force of nature. She knew as a kid that she wanted to be a doctor. Hardly into her MBChB studies, she was certain she wanted to specialise in Radiology – and she has excelled ever since. 

After her undergraduate medical degree from the University of Pretoria, Dr Segwe went on to acquire a Master’s degree in Medicine (MMed) from the University of the Witwatersrand and then a Radiology Fellowship from the College of Medicine South Africa (FCRad CMSA).

It is no wonder that the little child who grew up dissecting insects is now a specialist doctor who will feature at the Africa Health on 18 October at Gallagher Estate, Midrand. 

Africa Health is the largest expo on the continent and Dr Segwe will be chairing Day 2 of Radiology, her field of expertise. “I can’t see myself doing anything else, Radiology fits my life best.” 

Radiology uses a lot of machines; costly equipment. “Even as we speak, there are new machines being developed. Pity we don’t manufacture locally; we import this equipment. It is just a very capital-intensive field.”  

When she travelled lately, it was to go on a CT cardiac course, for the new machines they have: “With radiology, you have to keep reading industry literature – you have to always keep up.” 

She is a founding partner of the Centre of Medical Imaging SA which, just a little while ago, used to own two practices until “the Piet Retief one has been sold. We actually used those funds to ramp up services here at Carstenhof”, Midrand. 

The R1, 5 million upgrade brings the total investment at Life Carstenhof Hospital upwards of R36 million, Dr Segwe reveals. 

Radiology is the one field of medicine, among others, that has to really embrace technology. In this day and age, where doctor/patient contact is preferably minimal, Radiology is in a good space to lead this type of care. 

“We installed two machines,” she says of the capital outlay, “one CT cardiac and the other for breast imaging.” 

CT cardiac is used for patients with heart disease, mainly those at the risk of cardiovascular events. 

More comprehensively, the Centre of Medical Imaging SA offers the following medical services:  

– MRI – commonly used in Neurology and Neurosurgical emergencies, ENT Imaging, Vascular, Paediatrics, Orthopaedic and Spine, Ophthalmology, Oncology.

CT – popular applications in Trauma, General Surgical Emergencies, Neurology, Pulmonology, Urology, Oncology, Angiography, Paediatrics, Orthopaedics, Maxillofacial surgery.

– Flouroscopy – provides dynamic imaging during HSG fertility workup, cystograms for urological disorders, enemas and swallows for gastrointestinal conditions.

– Plain X-rays – broadly applied modality for Pulmonology, Orthopaedic injuries and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, surgical emergencies and paediatric use as guided by ALARA principles.

– Ultrasound, which is utilised for musculoskeletal system, abdomino-pelvic complaints, venous thrombosis, valuation of soft tissue masses and in paediatric use including neonatal cranial ultrasounds.

– Mammography and Breast Ultrasound – used in evaluation and follow up of breast pathology, including breast carcinoma.

– Bone Densitometry – for review of Bone Mineral Density and fracture risk classification in Osteoporosis.

The practice has a staff complement of 25 people: “We also employ part-time radiologists.” 

Radiology is massive. There’s no hospital that will function optimally without radiology. 

These costly cutting-edge radiology machines aside, you’d think Dr Segwe would be content making a killing, charging top dollar for her services. Far from it. Her passion is the National Health Insurance (NHI) – she wants to make health services universally accessible, especially to rural communities like her hometown in Mahikeng. “Rural communities should also get these services,” she repeats ad infinitum. 

It is generally accepted that time is money. In medicine, time could mean the difference between life and death. As a branch of medicine, Radiology has always saved time, thereby saving lives. 

“Yes, we have our challenges, but it is not as bad as other countries,” Dr Segwe says. 

Typical of young professionals of her generation, Dr Segwe is tech-savvy. While the continent is mostly still warming up to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in medicine, Dr Segwe is happy that “robotics we do have”. 

“That is already happening, even here in Gauteng.” 

It excites her that her practice has PACS – picture archiving system, through which “we look at the previous X-rays; some countries do not have these”. 

She is not all work and no play, though. Her corporate social investment (CSI) engagement is carried out via a Non-profit organisation (NPO) – Working for Good – where they go out to schools to punt medical trading, in her words “normalise qualifying as doctors”. 

A regular jogger, she is married with one child – to an engineer “who cooks better than me”. 

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