GROWING up in Ontananga in the Oshikoto region, Dr Emilia Shongolo (ES) had originally planned on becoming a nurse, until she was introduced to the field of dentistry by a friend.
The change of heart paid off; she has managed to carve a niche out for herself as a Dentist with a successful Dr E.Shongolo Dental Practice in Windhoek’s Dorado area.
Having been in the dental business for over a decade, the soft spoken Dentist in an interview with Confidente’s Marianne Nghidengwa (MN) recently, spoke passionately about her career and addressed misconceptions associated with the profession which she says goes beyond extracting a tooth.
MN: Tell us about yourself as well as your upbringing and how that played a role in who you are today?
ES: My name is Emilia Shongolo. I was born and grew up in a small village called Ontananga in the Oshikoto region, in a family of eight siblings of which one is late. I grew up in a strict home environment where my late parents enforced discipline and respect for adults. I remember we were not allowed to go to bed without praying. My late father, who was a teacher by profession loved education and encouraged us to study hard. I took his advice and that contributed greatly to who I am today.
MN: What triggered your interest in Dentistry?
ES: During matric at Oshigambo High School, a friend sensitised me about the field. We applied for the course in South Africa but at the same time I had applied for a nursing course at the University of Namibia. I was accepted to both courses but because I wanted to be closer to home, I chose the nursing course. While in my second year, I became bored and thought of quitting. My father at the time however advised me to complete the course. Upon completing it, I took on dentistry at the University of Western Cape in South Africa and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Dentistry. I came home and worked for the Katutura Hospital as well as in Rundu before I went to London in the United Kingdom where I did a Masters in Oral Surgery. I returned home after I graduated and worked for Namdeb Hospital for two years before I went into the private sector.
MN: Tell us about the establishment of your practice and services offered?
ES: After my father passed on, I opened a practice in Ondangwa in 2004 to be closer to home. In 2012 I moved the practice to Windhoek and have not looked back since. We offer services such as oral hygiene (scaling and polishing), conservative treatment (fillings), prosthetics (denture constructions), and oral surgery (e.g. extractions) amongst a host of other dentistry related procedures.
MN: What are common dental problems affecting most Namibians?
ES: What I have noticed over the years is that a lot of people suffer from poor oral hygiene which is associated with not brushing one’s teeth and that leads to cavities.
MN: What misconceptions do people have about dentistry?
ES: A lot of people think that dentistry is mainly about extracting teeth. This is not the case because it’s a broad field that also deals with other body parts like the head and neck. One can also specialise to become a maxillo-facial surgeon or a periodontist to mention a few.
MN: What advice do you have for someone aspiring to be a dentist?
ES: I’d say go for it. Namibia has a short supply of dentists given the population and people suffering from dental related problems. The future of the field looks bright and as I mentioned earlier you can specialise. On top of that, a local university will soon introduce a course in dentistry, so that is exciting.
MN: What is a typical day like for you?
ES: Days are unpredictable but my works centres on attending to patients and doing administration work.
MN: What do you do for a little fun?
ES: I am an outgoing and adventurous person. I like braai activities with family and friends. I enjoy watching TV once in a while and I enjoy reading.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015