Ugandan women are more hard-working than their men

Dr Chiraag Kotecha is an alumni as well as a former teacher of Harvard University. Currently, the 35-year old is practicing as an aesthetician and is the founder of Avane Medical Clinique and Medispa, an aesthetics medical hub that operates in Kenya and Uganda. Mathias Wandera has a sit down with the doctor to discuss issues ranging from plastic surgery to his perception of Ugandan women.

Saturday March 19 2016

Dr Chiraag Kotecha

Dr Chiraag Kotecha  

By Mathias Wandera

People don’t just wake up and teach at Harvard. Walk us through your qualifications.

Well, I studied chemistry at the University of Boston in the US. I have a degree in medicine from St. George’s University in London, and another degree in Medical Genetics from the same University. I have also trained extensively in trauma medicine in the US and aesthetics in Dubai.

Currently, I am completing my MBA in Hospital Management at the Imperial College in London. I have taught at Harvard, though shortly after I decided to come back to East Africa and start my own venture, which is Avane.
I take it that medicine was always your childhood dream.

Yes and no. From a very young age I always had interest in science, and I was good at it; always winning awards for being the best science student in class.

But specifically I wanted to be an astronaut. Then somehow somewhere, I branched off into medicine, which I have studied extensively. I am a genetist, aesthetician and a couple of other things. But presently I am specifically practicing as an aesthetician.
What exactly do aestheticians do?
Aestheticians are the doctors that focus on people’s skin and well-being. We make people look and feel better. This is what we do at Avane. We focus on ageing where we can make someone look younger. We also deal with skin pigmentation. We offer face-lifts, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, arm reduction, weight-loss procedures. And most of our procedures are non-surgical.
Giving people face-lifts and nose jobs, is this sort of thing fun in anyway?
Yes. It is actually very exciting because we give people a lot of satisfaction. When you give someone a face-lift and they walk away happy, you feel excited for them and for yourself.
A nose job, face-lift or a tummy tuck. Which procedure do most people come looking for?
The demand for these procedures actually changes. It is seasonal. In January, most people usually come for the weight-loss programme and a tummy tuck perhaps because weight-loss is usually a New Year’s resolution for most. Around March, we get many people approaching us for skin issues, and then mid-year, for some reason, so many ladies come seeking breast implants. So, it varies.
What reasons do these people give for wanting fuller lips or a new nose?
People do these procedures for various reasons. But the first question I always ask my patients is; are you doing this for yourself or for someone else? And if it is for somebody else, I don’t think it’s a good idea. You need to do it for yourself.

When did you come to Uganda?
I am of Indian decent but a Kenyan citizen. I was born in Kisumu. I have done lots of travelling and now, I am in Uganda. I moved here in October 2011 and worked at Mulago Hospital for six months to get my Ugandan medical practice license. Then, I opened up Avane in 2013.

Crowded streets and loud people, why did you choose Kampala of all the other cities in the region?
I love Kampala and Uganda in general. My family owns other businesses in the country such as Midcom and Rainbow International School, so, I used to come here a lot. Then, I just fell in love with the place and its people, and decided to move here.
Do you have a lot of Ugandan friends?
Oh yes. I have made lots of friends here. Majority of Ugandans speak English, which makes communication easier. And they are generally friendly, just like me.
So you are a friendly person.
Yes, I am an easy going guy. I don’t hold grudges. I joke around a lot; always cracking jokes. And of course some of my jokes don’t sit so well with my friends. What you think is funny might offend someone. But many of them are used by now, and we always work it out.
There is no ring on your finger. You aren’t married, right?
No, I am a married man. I got married in June 2014 and we actually have a one-year-old daughter. But as a doctor, I don’t usually wear my ring when working. You can’t enter a surgical room with a ring, as a matter of procedure.
Is your wife Kenyan?
No, just like me, my wife is of Indian decent but she is an American citizen. We met in Nairobi. She was visiting at the time and I met her through family friends. We got talking. One thing led to another and we got married after a year. She is a nice and loving person.

One year doesn’t seem like enough dating time to push for marriage.
Well, the time people take dating depends on how well and fast the relationship is moving, and what the people in question want. Some take a year, others four years. So there is no specified timeframe.
Would you describe your marriage as a happy one?
Of course, like all marriages, it cannot be all rosy; at least not all the time. There are a couple of fights here and there, but overall, we are fine. We have so many good moments. We are happy.
Loving wife, happy marriage, is your wife your best friend?
Sure, she is. My wife sacrificed enough already by leaving her home to come live here with me. She is a caring and loving person. And I think she is the best thing to ever happen to me.

To the Ugandan ladies
Any wise words for our Ugandan women?
Ugandan women are beautiful and I think more hardworking than the men. The best advice I can give them is to always be yourself, not what your man wants you to be.