Challenges in Health Sector
To be or not to be a doctor?
Undoubtedly, medical profession is a noble profession, where you can contribute as a humanitarian. The compassion towards humanity usually drives us towards this mighty discipline of career. Should I become a doctor? That question never occurred to me before choosing a career in medicine 9 years ago.
Despite having the urge still deep in the core of the heart, yet today, many physicians state that they would not go into medical profession again, if they could start over afresh. The reasons could be long time and intense hard works to pass the exams to become a specialist, bureaucracy, and then comes the political influence for promotion in government jobs, and low payment in private sectors for just M.B.B.S degree holders.
We also hear about impending doctor shortages. But there is a hope for them who wish to go abroad. By passing licensing exam of any developed country, they can easily work there and can later approach for post graduation in that country. For example: MRCP, MRCS, PLAB for UK, USMLE for USA, AMC for Australia etc. Those who do not prefer to work clinically they can choose to research in various fields of basic and preclinical subjects.
It is sorrowful for our country as the ratio between the doctors and patients has a wide gap. Still, the skillful doctors are looking forward to moving to developed countries for better opportunities. But the doctors must not lose hope. There are a lot of fields to improve in. There are a lot of diseases around us. Who could be the best researcher than a doctor? Research works are going on and you can choose to participate in them and can save millions of lives.
But there is a darker side to the story also. Post graduation study of our country is determined to develop most skillful physicians and surgeons. But the post graduation opportunity is very limited considering the number of physicians entering into job market from different government and private medical colleges. Pass rate of postgrad exams are very low and require intense hard work. Also postgrad course has very long duration. By the time you complete your post graduation, your friends of other profession will be able to afford a new car, house loans and support their families economically.
It is true that many aspects of our delivery system are broken and need to be fixed. We are often unable to provide the best to our patients considering inadequate structures in the peripheral rural areas of Bangladesh. So anyone entering the profession needs to be aware of the challenges.
Yet, physicians have always faced challenges. Indeed, the profession is known for attracting smart, caring people who love challenges. Think of our predecessors who faced daunting diseases with unknown etiologies, and whose treatments were empiric and frequently ineffective. Even surgeons who knew what needed to be done could not, due to lack of anesthesia and infection control and team members whom our modern surgeons cannot not imagine a life without.
I am convinced that the opportunities and challenges that exist today can and will continue to attract the best young people to become physicians. If they love science, the tools of modern genomics, proteomics, molecular biology, physics, and clinical pharmacology, there will be endless opportunities to address problems in the human condition through advanced technologies.
If they love social sciences, economics, and human engineering, there will be remarkable opportunities to address care delivery problems through newly evolving concepts like value-based health care, where the focus is on the patient.
And information technology, which has been slow to be adopted in health care, will offer opportunities that will transform care through information exchange and will bring revolution in health sector.
We will always need to help the sick. The work is interesting and rewarding. There are challenges that must be met. The clinical conditions that people have and the tools we have to manage them are constantly evolving in ways that create needs and opportunities for the future.
Ultimately, I believe, the problems health sector is facing today will be interesting piece of history - the way we look back at the challenges faced by our predecessors.
Now, it’s your choice. If you ask me, I chose to be a physician nine years back and I will choose again, if I am given the opportunity to use time machine and travel nine years back.
M.B.B.S.(Ibrahim Medical College)
MS Resident (Orthopaedics and Traumatology)
Chittagong Medical College