Doctor shares her journey in making aesthetic medicine more accessible to women

Dr Trishka Manilal at her practice in Durban North. Picture: Supplied

Dr Trishka Manilal at her practice in Durban North. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 14, 2024


TikTok famous Dr Trishka Manilall, 37, mostly known as Dr Trish to her patients and followers, is on the journey of making aesthetic medicine accessible to woman of colour in and around Durban.

The Durban-born general practitioner founded her own practice, Durban North Medical & Aesthetics in November 2022.

Being proud of her Durban and Indian roots, she has earned a few titles that she’s quite proud of including wife, mom, entrepreneur, friend and student for life.

We spoke to the doctor and entrepreneur about her journey in aesthetic medicine and helping people overcome lifestyle and chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease.

What inspired you to study medicine?

I remember being a child and being fascinated with the idea that a doctor could make people feel better. My own trips to the doctor when I would feel sick also stirred my curiosity to learn this art and heal others.

This led to an interest in the functioning of the human body which in turn led me to pursue a degree in Medical Sciences, Anatomy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

This was my foundation to the next step, which was a degree in Medicine (MBChB) at UKZN, where I graduated cum laude in 2013.

As a GP, why did you choose to also focus on aesthetic medicine?

The demand for aesthetic procedures is growing. Patients who seek aesthetic treatments sometimes feel embarrassed with some part of their appearance and this impacts their confidence and self-esteem.

Helping them enhance their image and confidence is highly rewarding.

Aesthetics also allows me to expand my professional horizons and stay at the forefront of medical innovation.

Being a medical professional can be stressful, what’s your favourite part about your job?

The stressful part is not the medicine but more being a business owner now that I have my own practice.

The best part about my job is the fact that I encounter and manage such diverse conditions; from women’s health to chronic conditions, from paediatric conditions to weight loss, from hair restoration to HIV management.

This also keeps me constantly busy with researching, reading, enhancing my skills…the eternal student!

What are some of the challenges you face in practice as a woman of colour?

Facing scepticism and doubt has plagued women of colour in medicine historically and currently.

My practice is situated in an area with a predominantly white demographic but surprisingly this demographic accounts for the least percentage of patients that I see.

This does impact on the growth of my practice in general but I am hopeful this would change soon.

Dr Trishka Manilal ready to help patients in her bright scrubs. Picture: Supplied

You’ve worked at Addington, Inkosi Albert Luthuli just to name a few, what made you decide to go into private practice?

I have gained experience in various private and public health institutions and most recently spent >5 years in the Department of Cardiology at IALCH. This is a very specialised discipline and managing cardiac conditions is my forte.

It was here that I noticed the lack of basic preventative healthcare in the community with patients presenting with cardiac emergencies due to poorly managed chronic conditions.

Private practice allows me to focus on these and other conditions in our communities and highlight the need for awareness eg, diabetes, HIV, cervical cancer. I am also able to diversify my portfolio with aesthetic medicine.

Any pearls of wisdom or motivation for young girls in the Indian and Black community looking into going into medicine?

Medicine is probably the hardest degree ever, its actually 2 degrees in one (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) but its probably the most rewarding too.

It requires sacrifice and dedication to hone your skill. Women in medicine have many unique challenges but this also helps you come into your own and build your character.

And finally, looking towards the future, what can we expect from you?

I have started using social media platforms to highlight various aspects of medicine. This has proved successful on some platforms and through this I provide factual, accurate information in creative and sometimes entertaining ways.

I am also involved with women empowerment campaigns and HIV awareness campaigns currently. This is in addition to offering a full time GP service at my practice.

Hopefully, in the future my reach will continue to grow, with a positive and meaningful impact on the health and well being of my patients and community at large.