“You have a sacred fire!” The remark made by his chief doctor and thesis director, the private tutor Dr Jean-Pierre Berger of the Riviera Hospital (formerly the Samaritan) in Vevey, could not be more relevant to the personal commitment of Dr Beat Stoll, director of Glosya Medical.
Indeed, medicine is more than a vocation for this doctor-entrepreneur. This led him very early on to regional hospitals in Switzerland where he learned the foundation stones of internal medicine.
Trained in tropical medicine in Basel, Dr Beat Stoll met his “third great boss”, Professor Dr Tanner, the charismatic director of the Swiss TPH, tropical disease researcher, and renowned health expert in tropical countries. His extraordinary pedagogical approach and his openness to socio-demographic and economic aspects encouraged in Dr Stoll a passion for health in tropical countries and a real fascination for the biology of parasitic cycles.
Once he arrived in Cameroon, hired by the NGO SolidarMed and the Twinning Foundation of Vevey Hospital, and once he had acclimatised to the initial differences, he quickly became convinced that field medicine requires a global approach. In Africa, the practice of medicine cannot ignore the history, culture, traditions and means of the patient. Only a systemic and contextualised understanding, focused on the patient’s possibilities, can produce the expected results.
In this way, Dr Beat Stoll intends to put his creativity, ingenuity and openness to interdisciplinarity at the service of global medicine.
The freedom to act, to negotiate, to create added value outside the usual framework, to train staff and to develop management in organisations have proven motivating factors that have been constantly reinforced over the years.
Aware of the limited rationality of each individual, he relies on the potential of his projects by focusing on the development of related approaches between traditional and academic medicine. Both in his teaching in public health (MAS in Public Health, University of Geneva), in global health (Master of Science in Global Health, University of Geneva) and in his role as a research expert, he creates the space and dynamics necessary for the contribution of each key player (doctors, engineers, sociologists, economists, politicians, lawyers, etc.) to effectively meet the challenges of global health.
To improve performance and relevance, he and his organisation aim to compare approaches and draw on multidisciplinary knowledge. Together, professionals develop coherent responses that are adapted to the community health problems of developing countries.
To raise awareness among his audience on how to “motivate communities to consult”, Dr Beat Stoll did not hesitate to start riffing “TB or not TB” on the bass clarinet, along with two fellow musicians from Zimbabwe, at the interdepartmental conference in Moscow in November 2017 on TB issues. His performance left its mark on people’s minds and opened doors for him.
“Today we know the medical procedures that save lives; the morbidity and mortality observed in Africa are not just a medical problem,” says Dr. Beat Stoll, who describes himself as a committed scientist in the field, placing the patient at the centre of his motivations. He defines program success as an action that “reaches as many people as possible” and potentially “new patients”.
“Success in health is not just a medical act,” he says. Thus the medical action is to health what the instrument solo is to music, an essential part of a more global reality. If the solo honours an instrument, the chorus conveys a message and the music tells a story and makes a lasting impression.
Among Glosya Medical’s many projects today is support for the deployment of GlobalDiagnotiX in Africa. Medical imaging (radiology and ultrasound) is essential to make good local medicine in developing countries and thus contribute to universal health coverage, a priority for WHO action.
For example, “the place of chest radiography in the tuberculosis diagnosis process is of major importance”. Once implemented, this new radiography device, the result of a real technological change, will meet the many challenges of primary care, including in bush hospitals.
For the Director of Glosya Medical, successes in the field of health are like those in culture, literature, architecture or music: they go through time and leave a legacy for future generations.
Editing: Caroline Haldemann