Dr Viwe Mtwesi gets to the heart of medicine

Dr Viwe Mtwesi is a  cardiologist who also runs  a medical travel agency. / Supplied
Dr Viwe Mtwesi is a cardiologist who also runs a medical travel agency. / Supplied

Growing up in a large family did not stop Dr Viwe Mtwesi from achieving her dreams.

Mtwesi, 32, from Mount Frere in Eastern Cape, is a cardiologist and also owns Reega medical tourism.

"I was always fascinated by electrocardiogram [ECG] and the heart as an organ [as a student] at Witwatersrand University Medical School. For me, it was one of the big mysteries I needed to explore and . by the fact that I had never seen a female cardiologist," she said.

Mtwesi and her brother were raised by a single parent with the help of grandparents and aunts.

"I am from a good family with a strong Christian background and they are very supportive. I grew up among boys and I wanted to do engineering.

"Unfortunately, I didn't get accepted into mining engineering and accounting. So I went to the University of Transkei [now Walter Sisulu University] where I did medicine."

That not many women did medicine further fuelled her interest and drove her to do well in her studies.

She works as a cardiologist at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto and her job entails consulting, procedures, and device insertion.

"Cardiology is a male-dominated field and, as a female, you persistently have to prove your abilities. However, there is nothing that females cannot do. Gender has nothing to do with our capability. It is also a very demanding field as most patients come as emergencies and this compromises your social life and your wellbeing."

Mtwesi said it always felt good to save someone arriving almost dead.

"I get the satisfaction when I see them walk out of the hospital. At times we get too attached to the patients and when they don't do well it affects one's performance."

Mtwesi's company arranges medical care, accommodation and transport for patients who travel very far for medical treatment.

"I also arrange for local people who do not know where to go in terms of their medical care and we also offer rehabilitation after they have been discharged. I love seeing people getting quality healthcare."

Mtwesi has plans to further her studies overseas.

"I received a private sponsorship for two-and-a-half years . My focus will be on electrophysiology.

"My aim is to inspire a lot of people out there and let them know that it is possible to achieve what you set your sights on. As a black person, I hope I will motivate others to see that they too are capable."

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