Consultant dermatologist Dr Spasoje Radovanovic gives an exclusive insight into life as a dermatologist and how he treats those in his care.
Tell us your background.
I was born in Serbia where I started and finished all my education – primary, secondary, medical school and specialization. I have been practicing as a dermatologist for over 20 years.
What do you find is the most common skin complaint from your patients?
Most dermatologists will probably agree that the majority of our work-load falls into two categories. The first is inflammatory skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. The second is skin cancer and skin lesions (lumps and bumps).
Talk about patients with a psychological problem.
The skin and mind is a hugely interesting and expanding area. We are really becoming aware how closely these two are linked and most dermatologists will group this into largely two areas – there are skin diseases that can be associated with psychological distress; such as acne and psoriasis – and then there are psychiatric disorders that can manifest with skin problems; such as trichotillomania and dermatitis artefacta. The approach to dealing with these is, on the whole, different. The first group are likely to benefit from talking therapies and often as the skin is controlled, the distress also improves. The second group may need some input from other medical specialties as well as a dermatologist. Personally, I think it is important to ask patients how their skin disease affects their daily life. I have had patients with acne becoming socially isolated, or patients with hand psoriasis wearing gloves even under hot conditions, or not wanting to go swimming, or not wanting to wear skirts. When the skin is good, these challenges can often be taken for granted. But skin disease can cause huge psychological morbidity and if you don’t ask the question, people may not necessarily volunteer quite what an impact their skin is having on their general well-being. If I have ongoing concerns, then I would recommend review by a clinical psychologist.
Reports indicate that skin cancer is on the rise in the Sub Saharan countries including Botswana, especially Melanoma. Why do you think this is the case?
Incidence of skin cancer has increased all over the world especially in developing countries because of the damaged ozone layer in the atmosphere. In fact a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 21–87% of the general population in developing countries has skin disease. The sun changed the spectrum and more UV (ultra-violet) radiation now comes to the earth surface.
Why is sunlight harmful to our skin (despite popular belief that dark skin is not affected by the sun’s harmful rays)? How exactly does the sun affect our skin?
Sun radiation is divided in three parts according to the energy it carries: IR (infrared), Visible Light, and UV (ultraviolet). Only UV radiation is harmful. It carries enough energy to produce ionisation of different molecules in the skin. Ions are chemically active and interact with genetic material of skin cells, to produce mutations. The nature of X-rays is similar to UV radiation, but carries even more energy. In other words UV radiation is “softer” than X-rays but still poses danger.
What beauty trend have you seen over the course of your career that you wish would go away?
Definitely tattooing, it may transmit all diseases that may be transmitted with needles (e.g. Hepatitis B, HIV, Syphilis), and it may even cause allergy due to the injected paint.
What is the one anti-aging myth you wish everyone would stop believing?
A long time ago, when I was young, doctors recommended the sun as healthy for the skin and general health. Suntanned and bronze models advertise cosmetic products. Some still believe in it.
What do you find the most rewarding about the work you do?
I prefer to treat real diseases than cosmetic problems. It sounds like a cliché, but it is an honour and a privilege to be a doctor. People see you at their most vulnerable and share intimate details of their lives. To be able to make a difference, however small it maybe, is a unique position to be in and not one I take for granted. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to diagnose, treat, and reassure others.
And what are the challenges?
The hardest part of the job is delivering bad news, such as telling someone they have metastatic cancer. There needs to be a balance between providing reassurance and an honest discussion regarding prognosis, particularly if it is bleak. There is still no easy way to do this.
Do patients always follow the advice you give them?
I think the crux of answering this is based on making sure I try my hardest to establish good rapport with those I am treating. I think if you trust your doctor, you are much more likely to stick to a treatment plan that they recommend. People have busy lives and what tends to happen is that people may ease off their treatment plan when their skin improves. It’s all about developing a practical, happy medium that improves the patient but causes minimal interference with their life.
On a basic level, what skills does your job demand?
If a doctor were a computer, it would have a slow processor and a large hard drive. Doctors just have to be hard working, no special skills needed.
How is the job market/demand in the dermatology field? How do you think it will develop over the next five years?
American statistics say that 30,000 people need one dermatologist. Now there are only five (5) dermatologists in Botswana. This is a prospective job for young doctors.
VACANCY: President of the UDC
Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Advocate Sidney Pilane says Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) does not have a President.
He revealed this week that UDC leader, Advocate Duma Boko was given the leadership of the coalition on a temporary arrangement. Advocate Pilane who was addressing the media this week, following the expulsion of his party from the UDC stated that in the buildup to 2014 general elections it was agreed that Advocate Boko should be presidential candidate for UDC, an arrangement that ended at the time when the UDC lost the 2014 general elections.
“It was decided that Botswana National Front (BNF) should be given the presidency so that Advocate Boko could be our presidential candidate. The late Gomolemo Motswaledi of BMD was to be his running mate. We made this arrangement in preparation to taking over state power.
So, all that has passed, we contested and lost so it is all in the past,” said the BMD leader. He stated that constitutionally, the UDC has no president because the president has to be elected during the UDC elective congress. Advocate Pilane pointed out that UDC according to the Constitution should hold its congress every three (3) years.
He stated that even all the members of UDC National Executive Committee have to be elected at the congress and as it stands, “there is no president or Vice Presidents because they were not voted into those positions.”
Advocate Pilane said instead of building the UDC brand their colleagues at Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front have resorted to petty issues. He told the media that the leadership of the two parties have taught their members to insult BMD leadership and its members on social media and any other forum.
He had no kind words for the BCP, calling the party a divisive party that thrives on insults and divisive tendencies. He said the BCP leadership had encouraged its foot soldiers to use social media to insult him and members of the BMD.
According to Advocate Pilane, these are some of the things that have made the two parties remain in opposition for far too long without even coming close to toppling the ruling party. He described them as dishonest people who will plunge the country into chaos and that is why Batswana do not want to give them power.
VIDEO: A Gaborone hotel Prophet caught in the act
In a matter that closely resembles that of a South African Cabinet Minister, Melusi Gigaba’s masturbating video clip, a visiting Zimbabwean Prophet, Ronald El Melchizedek of Altar of Grace this week denied that he has been sending nudes to church sisters and demanding same from them.
In fact, the ‘man of God’ has earned himself the name, ‘Botswana’s Omotoso’ by girls that allege he has sexually exploited them. Pastor Timothy Omotoso is a Nigerian clergyman accused of sexually exploiting over 30 young girls from his church in South Africa.
“He is an Omotoso and even though they hide it at his church, some of us have received messages from him asking for our nudes. Actually, he has asked for my nudes several times,” says one church sister.
The Midweek Sun has gotten hold of a 34 seconds video clip of the youthful prophet playing with his manhood. Looking like he is in a hotel room, the man stands fully naked in a muted video that, depicts him speaking and teasing the recipient. In a standing position, he starts off by caressing his manhood, giving it a close up and ends up lying on the bed, facing up.
At least three young women say they received the video from the prophet and that he usually asks for nudes from them. One of them actually says he has been pestering her, demanding to have sex with her. “He likes to send me messages of how horny he is for me. But again, he likes asking for nudes from women.
Even married women at his church have fallen victims of his sexual harassment. I left the church because he disgusted me by doing such things yet calling himself a man of God,” she says.
The woman however says that Melchizedek, a Zimbabwean who holds services at Gaborone Hotel when he is in the country, is a man of accurate prophecies. “He moves mightily in the prophetic but he likes harassing church sisters. It is known in his church. He is married but controlled by the spirit of lust,” she says.
The Prophet responds
Melchidezek told The Midweek Sun that he was aware of the video of him doing the rounds through WhatsApp, but was quick to label the whole thing a scam.“Yes we are aware. Those are scammers from Benin who hacked into my wife’s Facebook account and phone and stole our videos and pictures. So they wanted to blackmail us and we refused, that is why they are doing that.
It is just an effort to harm the work of God but God is in control,” he told The Midweek Sun. He would not be drawn into responding to, or even discussing the allegations levelled against him by church sisters, but instead gave this reporter a mobile number of a person he said was his wife.
The said woman confirmed that the video was posted by scammers. “That was done by scammers. We have reported them to Benin police,” she said. She however would not give the name of the police station nor go into further details.
This incident follows on last week’s revelations reported by this publication, where several girls spoke anonymously about pastors, prophets and ‘men of God’who were using them sexually in church. Many were uncomfortable to reveal their names, forcing this paper to also conceal the identies of the accused churches and pastors involved in the dirty acts in the name of God.
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