I was born and raised in a small town on the east coast of Scotland, called Dundee. In our community, it was very common for children of Asian parents to grow up and become a doctor and I was determined to do something different, however, as the time came to make a decision as to what I would be when I grow up, I was unable to find another profession where I knew I would be at the forefront of helping people of all of the walks of life. After medical school, I started working for the National Health Service. It was tough, often daunting and overwhelming, and every day was a steep learning curve. But there were days and moments that were so rewarding that they would eclipse the most stressful of days.
After I met my husband, we decided to settle in Bangladesh for a while and the thought of working in a different country intrigued me. There are many differences between working in Bangladesh and the UK in the types of diseases you see and work culture, but one thing was universal – listening to people in need can help people recover and help any doctor become a better one.
As I continued to work, I also became a mother and my own priorities changed. I love being a doctor but I did not want to miss out on my children growing up. Every parent, especially a mother, comes to this crossroad which leads to a constant balancing act. I came across Praava Health, just after I had given birth to my second son, and to me, it seemed like a workplace that was there for their patients and their doctors. After speaking to Praava’s CEO, Sylvana Q. Sinha, I knew I had found the place where I did not have to make this choice.
I had always intended to be in hospital medicine and I was unsure whether I would be well suited for family medicine. In family medicine, the doctor has a huge responsibility to oversee the physical and mental health of the patient and unlike in a hospital where there is a whole team around you, it is often just you and the patient in that room. I was scared that I would not always know the answers and be able to help my patients. I had often heard complaints from families that in Bangladesh, doctors don’t give patients time, don’t make eye contact, and I remembered back to what my previous consultants would say that a doctor’s main job is to listen, listen, and then listen some more. The initial daunting sense of responsibility has now become a protectiveness. I have come to see my consulting room as a safe space for my patients where they do not feel judged and they can express themselves with the knowledge that someone is there for them.
Just as patients can make a doctor’s job satisfying, colleagues and the surrounding team also play a crucial role. It is impossible for a doctor to work to the best of their ability if they are not supported by their colleagues and supervisors. On my first visit to Praava Health, I knew I was going to be part of something different. Everyone was friendly and forthcoming and that has continued throughout my 2 years here. I feel that I am part of a team where we are all working towards a common goal of enhancing our patients’ quality of life as well as giving each other support so that we can grow and learn together to become better physicians.
Family medicine is still a novel concept in Bangladesh but within a short time Praava Health has already created a niche for itself within the large Bangladeshi healthcare system and I am proud to be part of Praava’s journey. However, as with all areas of medicine, we have to keep evolving and growing as this pandemic has taught us, but with Praava one constant will always be at the center, and that is the patient.