Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Johansen Oduor: My first experience in a morgue and why I nearly quit postmortem career

Government Chief Pathologist Johansen Oduor has opened up about his experience in the most-feared career.

Speaking on NTV on Saturday, Oduor revealed his desire to venture into the medical field was inspired by the challenges he witnessed people going through in his neighborhood.

As such, he chose the career to help his community, even though his father wanted him to become a teacher.

“The reason I chose to be a doctor is growing up in Eastlands there are a lot of shortages and challenges in healthcare centres. I decided to help the community by being a doctor,” Oduor said.

He added that he never considered specializing in postmortem due to fear and stigma. However, after his graduation, Oduor was posted to City Mortuary by the Ministry of Health.

“It was my first time entering a morgue. The smell, I almost failed to go back.” He added.

Despite the fears, the senior pathologist noted that the facility was most frequented by people from poor backgrounds which prompted him to soldier on to help them.

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“I was hit by a stench and I contemplated leaving but when I analyzed the services, I found out that the clients are from areas such as Kibra and Mathare. I questioned myself how they would be served if I left the profession,” he explained.

Born in Mathare slums, Oduor proceeded to the University of Nairobi (UoN) where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Medicine and Surgery.

His educational journey didn’t stop there as in 2008, he furthered his education by specialising in Pathology with a Master’s degree.

He also pursued additional medical-related courses including a Bachelor of Laws degree (2021), Diploma in Forensic Medicine, College of Medicine, South Africa (2008), Diploma in Law (advocate training program), Diploma in leadership, Strathmore Business School, Nairobi, Kenya (2014).

In 2013, he was appointed Chief Government Pathologist marking a significant milestone in his career. He revealed the appointment came as a shock to him adding that the work was stressful.

“I didn’t expect to be appointed as Government chief pathologist. It was stressful,” he said.

“Since I had decided to help citizens, like when I had decided to help people when I was posted at City Mortuary, I affirmed that I could do this.” He added.

He noted that throughout his career life, Rita Waeni’s murder and Shakahola cult deaths are the most difficult cases he has handled.

“This is the first time I have come across such an incident. I have never come across such in my forensic life,” said Oduor.

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