Saturday, August 22, 2009

Drs in and out

I came across Tun Dr. M's blog regarding doctors and when people touch this subject, i have a very strong opinion on this.

1. The grass is always greener on the other side. Money is always the main factor of any switch in any profession. Malaysian doctors who are currently working overseas were indoctrinate informally to work outside even before they start. This is more obvious to those who obtained their degree overseas. Parents who paid for their children’s education would expect none other less than this. Students under government scholarships meanwhile were planning their way out of the contract. This situation is not helped when the Malaysian health system itself is being ridiculed by our own medical professionals wherever they are!

2. It is a fact that once a medical student undergoes his/her training, it has always been about individualism. The target was to pass the MBBS exams, proceed to postgraduate and be a clinical consultant. Personal aim takes priority than mass aim. Never was there any formal approach to instill patriotism to serve the nation. Some would argue that this maybe idealistic and not realistic but why shouldn’t we? Why can’t we be proud of our country and whatever means we do should be for the country? Israelis do this very well and why should we not look up to this value?

3. One big factor for the medical-health sector brain drain is due to the lack of post graduate opportunities in Malaysia. A rigid hierarchical system is at place, hindering the ambitious to fast track their career climb. Opportunities would be denied even more with the increasing number of doctors that we produce every year. What happen is these doctors had to resort to overseas collegiate programmes which was designed to be “people-friendly” – anybody from anywhere can take the exams. One should realize that the reason why it is internationally recognized is because of history, past reputation and masses but not due to its quality. After spending a lot of money in getting the coveted qualification, it is of logic to reclaim the money by working there! Unfortunately, due to the financial stability and being in a system which recognize one’s talent; the thought of contributing to the country is lost. In fact, applying for PR or even citizenship comes into mind!

4. It is the thick colonial thinking we have which had encouraged the ongoing brain drain trend. This is unfortunately complemented by the rigid non-recognizing talent policy by the Ministry of health. There should be a paradigm shift to change this mindset and formulate a thorough plan even from medical schools to maintain the wealthy talent pool in the country. We’ve lost a lot of our talent to Singapore; look at their medical health system which has a huge number of our Malaysian doctors running it! Who else can we blame if not ourselves?

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