Dr Ken Wanguhu

Censor, RACGP Rural Council

Dr Ken Wanguhu
Ken Kamau Wanguhu is a Procedural General Practitioner in private practice at Waikerie, in the Riverland of South Australia. He is an IMG and fellow of the RACGP.

He acquired his basic medical training in Kenya and further training in emergency medicine, obstetrics, anaesthetics and medical education in his international travels and experience.

He serves as the Rural Censor and also provides academic support to our Pacific neighbours’ GP training programs.  Ken was the recipient of the Brian Williams Award in 2015 and McCleave/Thompson award in 2021.

Contact your RACGP Rural Council

racgp.org.au/rural |  1800 636 764 |   rural@racgp.org.au 

Find out more about Dr Ken Wanguhu below

I am privileged to live and work in the rural community of Waikerie since migrating to Australia in 2001.

I am a General Practitioner and one of the three partners at the Waikerie Medical Centre where we offer service to clients from our local community and surrounding catchment area.

I have practice privileges in the local hospitals including the Berri regional Hospital where I also offer procedural skills in anaesthetics and obstetrics.

I support the SA Ambulance service and train nursing staff. I am married and a father of two children, a twenty-year-old son in his second year of university, and a fifteen-year-old daughter in year 10. We have 2 dogs and enjoy living close to the beautiful River Murray in the caring and supportive community of Waikerie.

When I can and where COVID rules allow, I enjoy playing squash, accompanying my children to their sport, river fun, and road trips. In the future, I look forward to travel overseas to visit my mum and other family, travel interstate for postponed celebrations and holidays and resuming our annual snow trip in July

My attraction to general practice was naturally shaped on completion of my study by the challenge and desire to meet the critical, varied, and dynamic medical needs of whole life spectrum patients in my native country Kenya. On migrating to Australia, the privilege of practice with different but nonetheless wide-ranging medical presentations and population, particularly with a better informed and supported medical system was ideal and took the pressure off trying to reinvent the proverbial wheel.

I view rural medicine as integral to rural life. I have spent most of my life in rural settings and experienced the tendency, albeit unintended for the most part, of disparities in medical care and other services. Consequently, I have always had a passion to be part of the rural solution and in my career, that has led me into rural medicine.

I enjoy the privilege of working with people over the entire life spectrum and the continuity of care. I have had the pleasure of offering care to three generations of some families and more recently, delivering young parents whom I delivered as infants. Although it is not enjoyable as such, and is more heartbreaking and difficult in the moment, I have had the privilege of walking alongside patients and families where diagnoses delivered have been hellish and care fraught with burdens, and through which I have been reminded the fragility of life and the joy and privilege it is to be in rural medicine

This is a daunting task as there are several highlights. Perhaps one that captures what I enjoy about rural medicine and which I warn is bittersweet involves a birth, a death, and another birth. I recall delivering a daughter to a mum who had two sons.

The delivery was difficult requiring forceps, but the joy of the newborn child overwhelmed this difficulty. A short time later, she died from sudden infant death syndrome, and I was the one to certify her end of life and care for the distraught family. It was no easy task, and I had my emotions to handle too.

However, with time, and the grief work done, my patient returned for care of a different kind. She was pregnant again and I took on her care, walking through it very conscious of the grief and anxieties for the pregnancy and child. Looking back, we need not have worried as much for the pregnancy and delivery were unremarkably normal, and the child is now a thriving adolescent. I think such are the highlights of general medicine.

I believe the Rural Council has an overarching objective to oversee the standards and delivery of rural general medicine. I therefore see my role as understanding and being able to provide advice and champion that objective and bring it to reality. I aim to do this by my participation in encouraging rigorous and attentive training and examination standards for rural general medicine via the FARGP and RG. It is also my objective to help embed competent rural medical practice through collaborating with other council members and the Council of Censors to reflect on opportunities for change and correction to support and ensure the objectives of council are successfully met.

My journey as a rural GP has been a marked by various stages. I believe I was able to draw on some of my previous experience in times of managing some of the challenges posed by the natural isolation of rural practice. I have met and still find support from some great mentors, and I have learned much from them about becoming involved in the wider aspects of rural medicine to keep any rural medicine delivery gaps small, and to bridge and improve services.

My experiences as a rural GP have taught me to keep best practice front and centre for every patient. To remember they are part of family and community and in treating them, my reach extends to those outside the room. I have learned that times and practice change. I am responsible for my choices and caring for my patients and myself in these situations.
As a rural practitioner, I have learned to value my team at work and my family at home. Without them, I would not have much of a practice to reflect on.