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     Volume 8 Issue 89 | October 9, 2009 |

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Transfer Certificates out of Bangladesh

Sanjana Tarannum

Brain drain- a topic of much discussion in present day Bangladesh is actually a Transfer Certificate out of the country. The intellectuals have certainly dug deep enough to unearth the underlying cause- the endless greed of the youth, greed for a safer life, greed for a comfortable future. But has anyone ever considered the situation from the other side of the fence? In fact is the West pulling the efficient brilliant minds away or is our country with its majestic administration pushing them out?

Let us consider a young aspiring doctor full of hopes and ambitions and a dream to make a difference. How does the country treat him? First he is dumped in the farthest and remotest corner where even Grameen phone doesn't have a tower. At least there is the justification that people need medical help. Waving aside the incredible doctor population ratio, let's consider the service he is about to provide. He looks for medicines-unavailable; laboratory support-unavailable; a referral system- theoretically available. So basically his chamber is teeming with patients he cannot diagnose; and even if he can diagnose some cases based solely on his medical skills he cannot treat them due to lack of medicine, he cannot refer them, he cannot monitor them. To summarise, a qualified doctor is posted in the periphery to provide an almost placebo to the ailing population. Meanwhile, the government boasts about its perfect health infrastructure we have.

Let us promote the medical officer. He is now an honorary at a Medical College Hospital seeking a higher degree. So how does someone get an MD or an FCPS in our country? Is it through studying or experience? Is it endless night shifts at minimum wages? Of course not! It's politics and manipulation is the way to go.

In 460 B.C. Hippocrates oath declared the segregation of medical knowledge only in the families of healers. Strangely enough in 2000 A.D. this tradition is carried out with the utmost respect in Bangladesh. To be a doctor, parentage is the most important qualification, not hard work, perseverance or talent. To be a little more precise, Senior takes Junior and introduces him to all his friends and colleagues who turn out to be Junior's examiners and Junior snatches away the gold medals for outstanding performance. Of course there is the legitimate claim of brilliance and talent inherited through genes here- who could question that? Well, in truth, the off springs of doctors get an unfair amount of advantage all throughout their academic and professional lives unlike any other profession.

Then there is DAB and SHACHIP- two amazing organisations working tirelessly to promote efficiency and to protect the rights of the doctors. Transfers and promotions, achieving degrees and joining the honorable faculty of fellow surgeons and physicians- not one sphere goes unscathed from their influence. Thus suffer the non-political general doctors- squeezed or tossed around the country without the legal deserving promotions, without well-deserved degrees.

Let us go one step farther. The honorary has now somehow achieved his medical degrees and with his credentials has secured the position of an Assistant Professor in some Medical College. He loves his job, he loves teaching, and he has a good practice. Life is good. Life couldn't get any better, life wouldn't get any better. Because he will have to retire as an Assistant or at the most an Associate Professor while junior colleagues with good connections topple him and become a Dean or a Principal. Out of frustration in his current job and rationally considering the luring offers from private medical colleges, he gives in. He joins an honorable post with a convenient salary in some private medical college depriving those students of his wisdom and experience who would perhaps have utilised it best.

Apart from the academic and administration aspects, research is another promising field in medical science. However, in our country research is a luxury where millions are deprived of basic life support and primary health care. Naturally, funds are unavailable, technology is unavailable, grants are unavailable and most importantly healthy nurturing mentors are unavailable.

Every way they turn there is an obstacle; an obstacle that just doesn't stop their progress but actually pushes them backward in an abyss of frustration and disappointment. Is it the fault of these talented youngsters if they give in to this frustration? Is it their fault for recognising their talents and craving for an opportunity to help make a change? Creature comforts are also not an issue that can be lightly waved aside. After all we have one life, so why not make the most of it?

This is when the “patriots” throw issues of loyalty to the country in their faces. The country which has given them identity, the country which has nurtured and nourished them- how can that country go in the background in their endless pursuit of success and happiness?

This 'unpatriotic generation' wants to help. They want to heal. Does it seem feasible that after studying for five years about tuberculosis and malaria, they are suddenly interested in autoimmune and immunodeficiency diseases? Is it really credible that they seek to be second-class citizens, nameless faceless surgeons when they could have been honorable famous professors and surgeons in their own countries? Is it plausible that they want to help a 90 year old live up to 95 when a 5 year old in their own motherland is dying of pneumonia?

Those developed countries are not luring this generation's masterminds away; our honourable policy makers are pushing them out with both hands. The policy makers don't need the literate, the educated in case they take over. So to keep up the vicious cycle of illiteracy, dishonesty and ignorance, the efficient professionals are being driven out, tainted and labeled as selfish and ungrateful.

The most corrupt of all nations, the haven of dishonesty and nepotism, the pompous nation whose people do not hesitate to use the sacred history of the Liberation War as just another tool in the dirty game of politics- shouldn't we think twice before saying “I am proud to be a Bangladeshi”? May be its time we are properly ashamed. May be its time we stopped deriving pride from the one actual honorable thing our fathers did for us and we did something worth bragging to our sons. May be its time we said “we will” instead of “we can” and acknowledged properly the doctors, the engineers, the architects, the economists, the scientists and every brilliant mind this country has produced and utilised their talents to build up a nation our previous generations dreamed of.

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