Today, due to the eastward shift of the world’s wealth, many Asian nations have achieved significant economic growth resulting in the uplift of health-care awareness level and upgrading of their national medical care system. A good example would be the case of Nepal. When Nepal was hit by a deadly earthquake this April, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, the stronghold of the nation’s health-care system , had declined assistance from overseas, showing to the world its high accomplishment level by completing surgeries on 350 patients with bone fracture by Nepali doctors only. Many of these doctors have received medical training overseas including the ones who furthered their studies of medicine in Japan on Japanese government scholarship. Dr. Sarder A. Nayeem, Chairperson of AMDA-Bangladesh, was also one of these scholarship recipients back in the 1980’s. Now Dr. Nayeem is a surgeon renowned for pioneering and establishing endo-laparoscopic surgery in Bangladesh. He has established himself as a chairman of a medical institution, JBFH (Japan-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital). While he was in Japan almost 30 years ago, I had befriended him and some other Nepali medical students on Monbusho Scholarship (Ministry of Science, Education and Culture of Japan). Toward the end of their study in Japan, we had decided to start JBFH as a platform for young doctors trained in Japan to practice medicine in Dhaka. My wife and I offered them assistance in the form of financial loan with minimal interest. With the capable leadership of Dr. Nayeem, this medical institution has now grown into a 100-bed multispecialty hospital known for its cutting edge medical care in Dhaka. At the same time, Dr. Nayeem, being the chairperson of AMDA Bangladesh, carries out numerous humanitarian relief efforts and also health awareness programs for the local population.
Last month, Dr. Nayeem was invited to an international forum on medical collaboration in Okayama, Japan, as a keynote speaker. He spoke on the future of medical collaboration based on his experiences as a Japanese government scholarship recipient.
He emphasized the need to assist these recipients so that they can establish themselves in their country of birth as medical doctors and utilize the knowledge they have acquired during their study abroad. He mentioned that out of those who have received doctoral degree on Japanese government scholarship, only about 10% return to their country and work for the betterment of the health of their own people. Most of these capable doctors find their place in Europe, the United States, Australia etc, where there are enough facilities and environments to make the best of the knowledge and skills they received in Japan. This certainly is a big loss for their country of birth as well as for Japan. The solution to this problem is the continued assistance to the returning doctors in terms of knowledge and skills advancement and perhaps most importantly establishment of financial loan system so that they can establish themselves back in their own country. These scholarship recipients can become torchbearers to pass down the knowledge and skills they have acquired abroad to the fellow doctors of their country. This probably would be the most effective medical technology transfer serving the core purpose of the people involved. This new form of medical collaboration would call for multi- sectoral approach encompassing various fields of government, education, finance, private business, not to mention NGO/NPOs.
I have often talked about self-realization. Motivation, capability and opportunity are the three elements that make self-realization a reality. Medical doctors who are highly motivated and capable, need to be given a chance (opportunity) to practice medicine, that is to save life and not to give up on life that can be saved. This is the universal message of medical license.