Harun Otieno: Networking seen as “very important” in Kenya

Harun Otieno (interventional cardiologist, Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya) reviews how networking has helped his own career and how it has improved clinical practice in other African countries – such as Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda – as well as Kenya.

In my view, “networking” can be of great help in promoting education and career advancement. The chance to meet experts and colleagues from different countries opens up many opportunities for collaboration. For example, the AfricaPCR meeting has an Africa-wide faculty participating in the programme. My own career has progressed as a result of interacting with colleagues who have influencedmy practice through exchange of new ideas and techniques in the treatment of patients. Furthermore, through networking, I have managed to gain further exposure to structural heart disease interventions, radial artery angiography, and coronary physiology studies.

Overall, the medical community in Kenya views networking as very important. As part of the East African Cooperation, my institution collaborates with colleagues in other parts of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania as well as Rwanda. Also, more than seven years ago, we were fortunate to be able to set up a 24-hour primary angioplasty service at my institution. Additionally, we have helped the medical communities in Uganda and Tanzania set up their own cath labs.

Through this experience of networking, I have realised that attending medical meetings and exchanging mobile phone numbers are good ways of establishing informal communication. Social networking sites have also proved to be help-ful. For example, LinkedIn is very popular in Kenya. However, I have discovered that exchanging business cards does not work well as a form of networking – they are misplaced, lost or ignored. Therefore, to fur-ther improve networking in Kenya, we should focus on mobile phones (which are everywhere in our region!).

In terms of EuroPCR, it provides participants with the opportunity to interact closely with leading experts in interventional cardiology as well as colleagues from other countries.