Dr Patrick Rogers

Chief medical officer in maternity: Tonga Hospital

There are local doctors, and then there are passionate community doctors, such as Dr Patrick Rogers. A man of medicine he may be but he is also a man on a mission to promote his rural hospital and its constant need for new staff, new equipment and good old-fashioned funding. So he decided to set up a Facebook group called "Tonga Hospital Enthusiasts�. It's not as though, as chief medical officer in maternity, he has much time to upload pictures or post updates like "nursery still awaiting medical chair�. But if he doesn't, Tonga Hospital might never have reopened its neonatal unit in May 2011 after 12 years of closure � a huge victory for a district hospital that was delivering 4 000 babies a year without a CTG machine (to monitor the foetal heartbeat) or ultrasound. He even managed to secure R250 000 from the Discovery Foundation to put towards a ventilator for the high-care unit he hopes to open this year. It may not be in his job description but Dr Rogers knows that without this critical equipment his patients may die. So he needs to make a plan. It's hopeful to see that, whether he's raising the hospital's profile through websites like Mbendi or raising funds to buy a CPAP machine to assist babies with impaired respiration, his efforts are paying off. In 2008, when he first arrived at the hospital, Tonga hosted one elective student. In 2010, this 160-bed hospital south of the Kruger National Park recruited 17 local students and four doctors from Europe. Perhaps it's because when he's not thinking about the wellbeing of his patients he's considering the comfort of his staff. He recently raised funds to equip the unused doctors' tearoom with furniture, appliances and computers to allow internet access for doctors and visiting students. Now that's a true Tonga Hospital enthusiast. � Cat Pritchard

Facebook: Tonga Hospital Enthusiasts