Dr Emmanuel Ndayisaba

16 August 2021

Dr Emmanuel Ndayisaba is a DRANZCOG currently working as a Prevocational Registrar at the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Rwanda, East Africa. In 1994, when I was eight, we went through a civil war and genocide. My family survived it, but we found ourselves beginning a new chapter of refugee life. We ended up in Tanzania, then Kenya. There we lived for seventeen years. I see myself as having grown up in Kenya. I have, however, lived in Adelaide from 2011, so I call Adelaide my home.
Where do you work?
I am currently working as a prevocational registrar at the Adelaide Women's and Children's Hospital. Prior to this, I completed my DRANZCOG at the Lyell McEwin Hospital in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. 
Why did you choose medicine?
I would say that medicine chose me really. My decision to study medicine stemmed from my life experiences. When we became refugees in 1994, I started to become aware of the true 'events of life' around me. That, sadly, included diseases, pain and even death. I had close-up experiences that made me aware, at an early age, about the healthcare needs of humans, more importantly, the public healthcare needs of vulnerable populations. I learnt the health consequences of lacking clean water, for example, and the consequences of poor hand hygiene. During this period, medical professionals were my personal heroes, and I understood their value  in making other people's lives 'better'. So, when it was finally time to choose a career, it came automatically. I knew where I wanted to belong in terms of my career choice. 
Why O&G, in particular?
As mentioned above, life experiences led me to medicine. Like anything in life, some of the experiences we encounter tend to leave bigger marks than others. While in the refugee camps, I witnessed how women's health can be affected in many ways. Be it through knowing friends who lost mothers during childbirth, to friends with unwanted teen pregnancies, and even the destructive atrocity of rape. More so, moving from one country to another has allowed me to learn the different levels of cultural-based gender violations and the inequity of women.  Surprisingly, when I arrived in Australia and studied public health, I realised that issues affecting women's health are actually universal. The dots connected and it made sense to forge a career in this field which I am passionate about. 
What field do you work in and what are you passionate about in your field and why?
I am currently a prevocational registrar in a referral tertiary hospital. I really enjoy bringing together the elements that form the overall wellbeing of the women that we serve. But most importantly, I love surgery.  Each time I repair a perineum, safely complete a caesarean section, each or help a family meet their little one  safely, I get the rush. I feel  that this is right and that I want to do it again for the rest of my career. I feel very lucky to have found a field that allows me to practice surgery, while improving women's health. It is my hope that I will be able to add the third and final element after my fellowship, that of practicing O&G in marginalised communities both in Australia and overseas. 
What does a ‘normal day’ involve?
A normal day for me involves being woken by my two sons. They are three years and eleven months old and very much early risers. I usually leave the house by 7 am. I always look forward to going to work. In fact, I never feel as though it is work. For me, it is training, and I am lucky that I get paid for it. Our rosters are either caesarean sections, emergency services, labour ward, antenatal/gynaecology  clinics or ward rounds. I enjoy all of them, but mostly, anything involving surgery just gets me super excited. Our shifts tend to be either eight hours or twelve hours. When I am lucky to go home early, I get to enjoy the evening with my family, enjoying what Adelaide has to offer and fitting in a few hobbies. 
Challenges? Wins?
I think the biggest challenge is always learning and knowing what to learn at the right time. I don't see it as a challenge per se because it is what keeps me going.  I have had lots of wins in my job, but mostly, I’ve always felt good when I’ve been able to help women from a disadvantaged backgrounds; being able to understand them and make them feel safe, or speaking to a woman from her small community whose primary language is the same as mine, saving them from having to use an interpreter. The wins are many, and they keep coming.
Any future goals?
I hope to gain entry into the RANZCOG fellowship training program. Once completed, I see myself working in rural/remote Australia in outreaches to remote indigenous communities. Lately, I’ve felt the need to give back to East Africa as well. I might consider providing services a few weeks a year. The future will be busy but exciting. I enjoy teaching as well and see this as a big part of my career in the future. 
What activities are you currently engaged with at the College?
I am involved in the RANZCOG prevocational community. I attend College conferences and regional meetings. It’s nice to meet people who love the same career as I do.  I hope to get more involved with the College in the coming years. ​
How do you wind down? 
A couple of beers, laughing with my family and siblings. I really enjoy gardening, I find that at least thirty minutes a day, when possible, is a very meditative and a time to reflect. I find it grounds me. I love to dance whenever the opportunity arises. I am part of a few dance groups, and these also help to keep me well balanced. 

What do you do outside of work?
I enjoy gardening, growing my own vegetables, and having lots of plants (might have to do with all the forests I’ve lived in). 
Dancing has a huge spot in my heart as well as family life.

Photo 1: Emmanuel working the Christmas shift, circa 2020.
Photo 2: Part of the Christmas working team. All registrars. He was still a resident at the time. These were very supportive registrars that have contributed to his enjoyment of O&G in his first year of practice.
Photo 3: Emmanuel with his two boys
Photo 4 & 5: Emmanuel performing the Rwandan traditional dance. He started the Adelaide group, and performs traditional dancing for the Rwandan community, but also uses it to promote his culture and diversity. 

Working a shift at the hospital   Part of the Christmas working team. All registrars. He was still a resident at the time. These were very supportive registrars that have contributed to his enjoyment of O&G in his first year of practice.
Working a shift at the hospital                                                                        Front row left to right: Janan, ​Carrmen, Nimi, Ritu and Emmanuel.

Emmanuel with his two boys    Emmanuel performing the Rwandan traditional dance   Emmanuel performing the Rwandan traditional dance.

                                                                                                                                Emmanuel performing the Rwandan traditional dance.




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