Petrina Williams, the first ever island-educated St Helenian qualify as a doctor, is contemplating returning home to practise in Jamestown.
But even after five years of university study and another five in training in the UK, she says will still have to acquire new skills if she’s to work somewhere as isolated as St Helena.
“I’m going to have to practise medicine in all fields, which is very different to this country,” Petrina tells St Helena Online in an interview recorded earlier this year.
“It will be good to go back and see what I need to specialise in.”
Emergency medicine is one key area where she feels she needs more experience. “I’ve only done about six months of that, so I think I’m going to need more.”
She will also need to draw on her knowledge of diabetes. The incidence of the disease on St Helena is higher than anywhere in Europe, and almost the highest in the world. The most recent figures available said there were 570 cases on the island, in a population of just over 4,000 people.
“Prevention is better than cure and that’s where we need to start from,” she says. “If we treat their diabetes right, we won’t have to cut off their leg.”
Click here to listen to the full interview – recorded at the annual Reading Sports in the UK.

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