The school of dental medicine is producing young and professional dentists every year. I had a chat with one of the dentists, Dr. Lidya, who loves her profession and works hard to develop her skills.
- Would you, please, introduce yourself?
Ok, thank you. My name is Lidya Habtegergish Gebrebrhan. I was born and raised in Asmara and am a dentist at Medefera Referral Hospital.
- What is dentistry to you, Doctor?
Dentistry is a field which always keeps me excited as it’s a field that uniquely harmonizes science and fine arts. It’s what I love to do for the rest of my life.
- You graduated with distinction from the class of 2020; so how did it feel, winning a medal?
Winning a medal is not really a new thing for me, but it feels so amazing and great to see myself on that day after all the hard work and sacrifice I made. At the same time that day reminded me that I have started my duty of repaying my people and country.
- Tell us a little bit about your educational background?
I did my elementary school at Idris Awate, my junior high at Bahti Meskerem and my secondary school at Denden, all in Asmara. Throughout my school years, I was a prize winner. In the 8th grade general exam, as one of the girls who scored high marks, I was given a “high performance achievement award” by the National Union of Eritrean Women. Similarly, when I was in secondary school, I was given high performance achievement awards every year on the occasion of 8th March, International Women’s Day.
- What was life like in Sawa?
Despite all the challenges, Sawa for me was a place where I found myself. I gained a lot of experience from the social life that I shared with students of different ethnic backgrounds who came from different parts of Eritrea. I focused on my studies and managed to do my studies along with the other activities in the camp. Then I took the matriculation exam and got awarded ‘’Zagre” for my academic excellence.
- Why did you want to join t h e school o f medicine?
F r o m childhood I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. I’ve always wanted to help people, so there was no doubt that my first choice in college was going to be medicine. When I got back from Sawa, I joined the College of health sciences in Asmara. When I studied pre-medicine at the college, I realized I hadn’t had sufficient knowledge about internal medicine and dental medicine. So, I did research about both fields and decided to join dental medicine.
- How did you feel about the seven long years in college?
No matter how many years it takes to graduate, I convinced myself to work hard and realize my dream. As a dental medicine student, in addition to the dental medicine courses I also had to take common courses along with the other medical students . The types of courses given and the way marks were given were different and required a lot of effort to succeed. I attended all my classes regularly and referred to a variety of books to deepen my knowledge and develop my skills. I needed to push myself hard to reach my destination because I believe that’s the only way to be successful.
- Do you have a role model?
There were so many successful people who inspired me. My husband, Dr. Senay Amanuel, is one of the good dentists. I also see Dr. Lainesh, an oral maxillofacial surgeon, as my mentor. But to tell you the truth I am the role model of myself.
- Do you believe that your success has an influence on our society?
In our society, people think that medicine takes very long for a girl to learn. But my success shows them that everything is possible if you are patient and hard-working.
- I heard that you went to quarantine sites to take samples during your internship. I would love to hear more about that.
You’re right. It was really a good experience. Practice is different from theory because we start to make contact with patients. I was always eager to perform on a patient’s teeth. And Covid -19 pandemic made my internship really memorable. There was a survey in Asmara, Teseney, Adibara and Sawa, where I participated in taking samples.
- Tell us something about the teeth and how to care for it, Doctor.
Well, everyone should start taking care of their teeth at a young age. The teeth are important not only to chew food with but also for the face structure and are helpful to get the variety of nutritious food for our body.
Our teeth are linked with the food we eat. If they are not cleaned after meals, we give opportunities for bacteria to grow in our mouth, and these can be harmful and damage our teeth permanently.
People start worrying about and taking care of their teeth after damages are done. This is absolutely not good. Nothing can replace our natural teeth; artificial teeth aren’t as good as the natural ones. People usually go to a dentist’s whenever they have a toothache. If the pain stops, they tend to stop taking care of their tooth, but it doesn’t mean that it is cured.
Generally, a person should visit a dentist at least every six months for checkups, and brushing is the only way to save our teeth from getting completely ruined.
- What do you do in your leisure time; do you have any hobbies?
It’s not really a big thing but I write poems, both in English and Tigrigna. I also love to read psychology books. Speaking different languages is one the things that makes me happy, so I took French classes at the Alliance Françoise.
- Tell us about your personal life. Are you married?
Yes. I got married before my graduation, at the end of August. My husband and I are both dentists and support each other in our career.
- What do you think is the secret to success?
I believe making limitless endeavor and showing persistent commitment towards your goal is the secret to success.
- Anything that you want to add at last…
I thank my family that has always been there for me. My success is an outcome of everyone who has supported me in any way they could. I am really grateful to all my teachers and friends. My future plan is to specialize in one area of dentistry.
- Thank you, Dr. Lidya, for your time. I wish you all the best in your career.