Waking up every day at 5 am to check his email and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is Dr Eugene Ngoga’s morning routine. However, this only goes as far as his front door because his job can’t afford any distractions.
Dr. Ngoga, 46, an obstetric gynecologist and head of the Rwanda Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is married with three children.
Born in Bukavu, DRC to Cansier Nzabinimana and Frazie Mutimumwe, he is the fourth in a family of eight. He finished his primary and secondary education in Congo and later went to Burundi to continue with his studies – pursuing an undergraduate course in Medicine. He then completed his medical studies at the National University of Rwanda and later went to South Africa to specialise in obstetric gynecology in 2007. In 2008, he joined King Faisal Hospital as a consultant.
Just like many other Rwandans in exile who wanted to come back home, in 1990 Ngoga joined the RPA in an effort to liberate his country. He is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Rwanda Defence Forces.
“My services weren’t appreciated in exile. So now I’m happy and proud that I can be of service to my community. The people who went through what I did understand exactly what I mean.”
It cannot be easy being a military officer, doctor, father and husband all at the same time. His schedule starts at 5 am but, regardless of the agenda, he always takes his children to school. He then attends to his patients and various assignments until 8 p.m, when he leaves work.
His ability to take on more than one responsibility seems almost superhuman but just like everyone else, the doctor is not immune to challenges. Sometimes, he faces dire situations and has to rush to attend to a patient who needs immediate assistance. Although he might have to put a current assignment on hold, but when it comes to saving a pregnant woman’s life, he will not hesitate to drop everything he is doing.
“I am always deeply saddened watching a mother lose her baby when everything seemed normal in the beginning. Some women come in for regular checkups and are set for delivery health wise but at the last moment, the baby can’t be saved because of some difficulty”.
“I have seen women who come in to confirm their pregnancy then just never show up again until the day they deliver. Some of them do not even show up for regular checkups after they give birth not knowing things can still go wrong for them. It’s imperative to have these checkups regardless of what happened before.”
It is not always stress and panic for the doctor – during his free time, family comes first. He also squeezes time to hang out with friends, watch movies or a game of football.
“My childhood dream was to be someone of serious importance to my society. I started my journey by joining the army so that I could come back home and serve my people. Today I fight hard to save lives and I couldn’t be more proud of myself and what I have accomplished. Hypothetically speaking, if I could change careers I’d like to be a pilot - though I wouldn’t change my profession for anything,” said the doctor.
He and others like him work hard to achieve the vision of the institution they serve - which is to make it the center of excellence in the region.