Healthcare for women

2017-08-15 13:41
Dr Thobile Mkhabela (front) and Dr Velile Radebe, who have recently launched their own medical centre in the CBD.

Dr Thobile Mkhabela (front) and Dr Velile Radebe, who have recently launched their own medical centre in the CBD. (Ian Carbutt)

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Two Pietermaritzburg doctors are armed with stethoscopes and ready to make an invaluable contribution to women empowerment.

The duo, Dr Velile Radebe (31), a general practitioner, and Dr Thobile Mkhabela (26), a dentist, are pioneering woman entrepreneurship in the health sector.

“Our plan has always been to build a legacy that will provide opportunities to empower other women,” said Radebe.

Radebe and Mkhabela, who both graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, have opened the Capital Medical Centre in the CBD.

The centre boasts a specialised women’s clinic and offers services such as pregnancy care, women’s wellness and contraception.

With a passion for women’s health, the pair have created employment opportunities for other young women in the city.

“At the top of our agenda is to provide world class health-care services to women. We want to retain the dignity of health-care professionals and change the notion that women doctors are judgmental,” said Radebe.

“As women, we feel not enough is being done to raise awareness around issues affecting women’s health. We are heading up campaigns in schools to teach young girls and provide mentorship,” Mkhabela said.

The two share more than just a goal for business, it is their backgrounds that connect them. “We both come from nothing. We want to prove to young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds that all dreams are valid. My parents were unemployed but I did not let that deter me from achieving my dreams,” Mkhabela said.

The pair said they were both attracted to the health field from a young age.

“Medicine is a calling and not a glorified profession as per popular belief. At the end of the day, it is about making a difference in people’s lives. The biggest return is seeing patients happy and healthy,” said Radebe.

Although they have been making strides in their field, the duo said breaking barriers has not been an easy task.

“Working with medicalaid companies as young entrepreneurs has been a mammoth task. In terms of registering, they are very limited. They are not allocated to all doctors. You find that certain medical aid companies cover only a handful of doctors and it affects clientele,” said Radebe.

Another challenge they have faced was getting patients to trust them. “We are still young and people are sometimes reluctant. We are constantly asked if we are ‘really’ doctors.

“We’ve had instances, especially with male patients, who refuse to consult with women. Through all the challenges we continue to make a difference,” said Radebe.

• Dr Velile Radebe and Dr Thobile Mkhabela as told to NOKUTHULA KHANYILE

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pmb people

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