Dr. Tamale is Founder-Clinical Director of Elamat UltraWellness Center
“Commitment: The missing ingredient for sustainable development of efficient Healthcare. Many healthcare professionals in Africa complain, honestly of course, about the bad working conditions, the small yet delayed pay, lack of promotions and most importantly, the absence of essential equipment in hospitals. So, many choose to leave the continent to areas where the grass is greener – the biggest challenge to creating sustainable development from a health perspective. I know that our pressing concern is a lack of commitment. We do not have committed researchers, committed drug manufacturers, committed hospital administrators, and committed healthcare leaders. Most of the people we have in the various positions, from the nurse to the surgeon, from the village healthcare personnel to the health ministers, from the local herbalist to the president; do not have the kind of commitment we need to rise from the spirit of dependency to self-sustainability.
I am a firm believer that what Africa (especially Uganda) needs more of is not new ideas and daring dreams, but commitment – a willingness to do the hard work that matters. We do not need new universities, hospitals, drugs, and the like. We do not need new doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and surgeons. We do not need new ministries, departments, authorities, and desks. We need more committed people to occupy those positions. Sadly, there aren’t many who have the perseverance to do so. And I think the problem is a misunderstanding of the word. There is, in fact, more than one type of commitment, and knowing that, can make a world of difference.
Commitment means something different at different stages of life: As a child, you’re committed to doing what your parents tell you because they’re your parents and that’s what you’re supposed to do. As an adolescent, it’s hard to commit to something that lasts longer than a few months. So much can change so quickly, it seems foolish to unnecessarily tether yourself to something so uncertain. As you enter adulthood, commitment takes on a different shape yet again. Through each season of life, we must relearn what it means to commit.
The first level of commitment is an adventure. In this season, you commit to something for the sheer thrill of it. This type marks those who travel the world and are able to walk away from a perfectly good job. Adventurers can move across the country or break up with a boyfriend without thinking twice. This type of commitment is important because it helps you experience a broad array of opportunities life has to offer. It will lead you to see the world, explore different types of jobs, and do things you’ve never done before — as long as those things feel good. However, this is healthy only for a season. When you build your entire life around this type of commitment, it can become problematic.
The second level of commitment is a season. You commit to something for an extended period of time, even after the initial thrill wanes. You plant seeds and stick around long enough to see them grow. You camp out at a job or under a revival tent because there is something special about the place. You go through life with a certain group of people and get to know them well. But this is all temporary. After the time of the commitment is complete, you move on to other endeavors. The season is over; the commitment is finished. This is an important level of commitment that many neglect. They jump from complete recklessness to starting a family — sometimes not on purpose. If you pursue seasonal commitments, you bridge the gap between adolescence and adulthood without getting bitter. A season is what you make it. Some last five months, while others last five years. It depends.
The third level of commitment is marriage. This is the highest mark of maturity and what marks true dedication. Of course, it applies to more than actual matrimony, but you get the idea: marriage is forever, and so are some commitments. I trust, your calling (as someone in the healthcare sector) fits under this category. Although jobs come and go, your vocation — your life’s work — should be something that sticks; something you can commit to. But how do you know it when you find it? You could do what my mum, Kiggundu Gertrude, does. When she takes a job, she has a “marriage” mentality about it. She doesn’t devise an exit strategy or consider her next steps. There are no stepping-stones in her book; she has no backup plans. She’s not like many people her age, looking over her shoulder for something better to come along. She just knows how always looking for the next best thing can sabotage your work and rob you of where you are now.
Healthcare workers and everyone involved in the sector, have a special calling-a vocation. And once we take it up, we have got to make a commitment. We have to take more of a marriage mentality towards this kind of calling. Once someone goes through medical school, it’s definitely not time to keep drifting through life without any thought as to who or what is counting on you; to keep shirking responsibility and causing those closest to you to call into question your integrity. No, friend. It’s time to commit to a path. Something. Anything.
Imagine a wave of commitment and change begins with you; we shall then have people committed to ensuring your salary comes in time and is commensurate with your job skills and deliverables. We shall have more people committed to ensuring that the medical school curriculum is relevant and up-to-date to train more healthcare professionals who are in touch with the needs of the continent. We shall have more people committed to doing more healthcare research, which is original, homegrown, and addresses the needs of the continent. We shall have many more people, African billionaires, and ethical businessmen, willing and ready to fund research, technological innovations, inventions, and solutions by Africans, for Africans, and in Africa. We shall still have more people committed to the practice of good governance, and still, others committed to furnishing and equipping the hospitals!
We don’t need your restlessness or your excitement. We have enough ‘Peter Pans,’ thank you very much. What we need is a little more conviction in our difference-makers. We need your focus, your puck, your courage. We need you to commit to a better Africa!”
Henry Duke Tamale is the Founder and Clinical Director of Elamat UltraWellness Center, a safe space, offering patient-centered, (not disease-centered), medicine where people can regain their health and find access to and benefit from medical science, herbal medicines, nutritional and lifestyle advice that enables them to take back control of their health.
As well as being a researcher in ancestral health and nutrition, Tamale holds qualifications in Medical Radiography from Makerere University College of Health Sciences; Advanced Radiation Therapy from Bangalore Institute of Oncology, as well as Nutritional Counseling, Medical Physiology, Behavior Change Communication, among others. Tamale is a published author and has an avid love for recreational aviation.
His mission is to be of deep and fundamental service to others, to support himself and others in
walking the path of transformation that leads to freedom from suffering and embodies the virtues of wisdom and compassion. He always seeks to be a good colleague, partner, friend, and family member who shows up as a whole in these relationships. He does his best to embody this mission by engaging in the practice, listening deeply, sharing from vulnerability, and responding skillfully as needs arise.
Tamale’s priorities are Spiritual practice, Deep service, Nurturing his closest relationships, Writing, Exercise, and Continuous Learning.