The first time I met Dr. Uta Fröschl, I had just been interviewed for the current position I’m holding at Beit CURE. My throat was really irritated, and I suspected that I had tonsillitis, so I took advantage of Dr. Fröschl’s expertise in ENT and got her to check me out. Sure enough, she diagnosed me with tonsillitis, and I was sent home with a prescription for antibiotics to kill the infection. But I also went home curious as to how this German doctor ended up in Zambia and became one of Beit CURE Hospital’s newest doctors.
Seeing that it’s very difficult to track down Dr. Fröschl because she is constantly busy—jetting back and forth from her office to the clinic and vice versa—I was lucky enough to have the chance to sit down with her this week and get her story for you all.
Dr. Fröschl was born and raised in the cosmopolitan city of Berlin, Germany. After completing high school, she indulged her adventurous streak and took a mission trip with the Berlin Mission Society to Tanzania to teach. Working in a remote village with no running water and/or electricity would turn many people off, but the opposite was true for Dr. Fröschl as she fell madly in love with the country, the continent and its people.
Upon her return to Berlin, she enrolled in the Freie Universitaet and began to look furiously for a profession that would allow her to get back to her beloved Africa to live for good. Dr. Fröschl finally chose medicine and, after completing her bachelor’s degree, she matriculated to medical school at Hümbold Universitaet in Berlin.
Dr. Fröschl decided to specialize in Ear, Nose and Throat medicine, but much to her dismay, there were no opportunities for ENT specialists in Africa as ENT specializations were almost unheard of across the continent. While reading a German medical journal one day, Dr. Fröschl spotted an advert looking for ENT specialists in Botswana and packed her bags for Botswana as fast as she could.
Dr. Fröschl spent the next six years working in Botswana, perfecting her skills as an ENT surgeon when a fellow surgeon told her that a new ENT clinic was being built at the Beit CURE Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, and that they were looking for ENT doctors to run the clinic. Dr. Fröschl applied for the position and as of February 2010 became the new ENT surgeon at the Beit CURE hospital!
Dr. Fröschl says that she frequently sees ENT cases ranging from things like serious wax build-up in the ear to enlarged adenoids to perforated eardrums. Many of the children she sees experience moderate to severe hearing loss—which could be prevented if there were more medical professionals trained in ENT.
“The biggest problem in Zambia,” said Dr. Fröschl, “is that there are almost no ENT services in the entire country. There are very few doctors trained in ENT.”
“Another problem that this country faces is the poverty,” added Dr. Fröschl. “Most people who need to get to the hospital or clinic just do not have enough money to pay for transport, and so many people suffering from ENT diseases go untreated.”
Dr. Fröschl would love to see more health care professionals trained in ENT. Through Beit CURE, she has actually managed to help train nurses and clinical staff in ENT and donate equipment to most of the clinics across Lusaka! Dr. Fröschl and her team are currently making plans to train more medical professionals in ENT across the country.
Dr. Fröschl, who like me arrived in Zambia early this year, says that she likes Zambia a lot so far and has been having fun living in Lusaka with her husband, Martin, an employee with the German Development Service, and 4-year-old daughter, Lea Tumelo, whom she describes as being “very cute.” When she’s not busy, Dr. Fröschl likes to delve into handcrafts and taking trips with her family.
Oh, and by the way, my tonsillitis has cleared, thanks to Dr. Fröschl and thirty little amoxicillin pills.