Career highlights

Dr Noel will never forget the day she delivered her first baby. “It was at six in the morning on Mother’s Day.

 I remember being so excited. The fi rst person I called afterwards was my mom,” she says as her eyes light up. She adds that another highlight is delivering a baby to a mother who is genuinely happy about being a mom.

“We don’t see that all the time because in many cases the babies are unplanned. It is always touching for me to hand over a baby to an ecstatic mom.”

The other highlight is to witness patients who have had challenges with their past pregnancies being able to carry full-term and deliver a healthy baby.

“To help someone do that is a magical thing”. Health awareness on the rise Dr Noel says patient health awareness is improving.

“Mindsets are starting to change. In the past pregnant women would go to the clinic at six months for their fi rst booking. This is changing and patients go for their antenatal check-up much sooner.”

She adds that patients who are on antiretrovirals have also become more compliant.

However, when it comes to contraception, there are still challenges.

“To expect a patient to go to a clinic every month and take a full day’s work off to fetch a packet of pills is not at all practical and as a result they are not going to be compliant.”

 She adds that a solution may be to establish after hours contraception clinics or find a way of making contraceptives much more accessible.

“This will help with the many unwanted pregnancies or attempted terminations.”

Dr Noel also feels that more should be done to educate women about pap smears and the importance of having them done regularly.

“A pap smear can make a huge diff erence in trying to prevent cervical cancer in the long run.”

What it takes to be successful To be successful in her field one needs to be compassionate and patient, says Dr Noel.

“I often cry with my patients and I make the time to address their concerns.

My biggest passion is educating patients. If I need to spend an extra five minutes talking to a patient about what is going on in their body then I will because I want them to be empowered.” She adds that a strong family support structure is also important.

“You need parents who can motivate and encourage you, and you need a supportive husband.”

Dr Noel adds that her husband is her biggest supporter. “He goes through all my experiences with me. He is my rock and my support.”

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