“OUR DREAM OUR FRUITS”
Dr. Shafiqul Chowdhury FRACP
In 2003 a good number of doctors migrated to greater Brisbane. A few fortunate were in the Australian medical workforce. Majority were in the process of getting into the medical workforce. An ample opportunity for the international medical graduates was present at the time in greater Australia particularly in Queensland. However the process of getting into the system was gruelling and doctors were facing a big challenge to get over all the hurdles. Moral and professional supports for them were essential at the time. A group of very enthusiastic Bangladeshi doctors realised the necessity of forming a platform from where relevant supports could be delivered to Bangladeshi doctors. Social aspect was also counted. Newly arrived doctors in the city were facing social isolation and their families were going through the transitional phase of cultural shock. The support from fellow doctors was the legitimate demand of them at the time. It uplifted the perception of all doctors to form a doctor association for both professional and social reasons.
For a while the idea of forming a doctors association for Bangladeshi doctors remained in embryonic stage. In the meantime gallons of water passed through the Brisbane River. One day a news perturbed our doctor’s community. One of our doctors working in a city hospital was disciplined for a trivial matter. That could have been easily avoided if the doctor had known the tips of working in an entirely different environment. The doctor community in greater Brisbane then perceived the greater importance of a doctor association where members can share their work experiences, exchange their views regarding work related issues, and seek valuable advice and support from other relevant professional bodies. That incident acted like a jolt in sleep. Within a few months the theme of our organization was discussed for the first time in a social gathering at the Roma Street Park. It was a beautiful sunny day with blue sky above. Dr M Habibul Haque Kazol organised a gathering and Dr. Mohammad Islam Zaman delivered a fascinating speech at the end of the social event. In my speech I proposed the idea of forming a group. The response from the gathering to my proposal forming a professional support organisation for Bangladeshi doctors was applauded. We could palpate the spirit among fellow doctors. Before the drive die down we convened within a few weeks a formal meeting for the first time in Dr. Mazhar’s house in Sunnybank Hills around in the middle of 2003. That was really a fruitful meeting. We chose the name of the organization as “SOCIETY OF BANGLADESHI DOCTORS QUEENSLAND INC.”. A proposed committee was pronounced: 1. President-Dr. Shafiqul Chowdhury 2. Vice President- Dr. Mukhlesur Rahman 3. General Secretary- Dr. Mazhar Haque 4. Treasurer- Dr. Habibul Haque Kazol 5. Scientific Secretary- Dr. Mohammed Islam 6. Organising Secretary- Dr. Mohammed Alam Kazol . Dr. Fabrina Hossain Verna (at the time she was an IT professional) designed our logo. Together with Dr Mazhar Haque, she helped to write down the constitution of the society and also spent a lot of time with the Fair Trading to complete official paper works. The society would remember her outstanding works during its infant stage. Dr Hasan Shohag helped to set up an email group which subsequently became our major communication means among the members. We appointed Mr. Zahed Huq as an accountant who has been providing service free of charge since then. The society must appreciate his generosity.
I observed a great sincerity among all the committee members. In spite of their busy professional job and commitment to families they dedicated times at their best for the society. In the line with the theme of the society we launched various academic programs. The Society organised the very first educational session for AMC candidates in a church auditorium in Runcorn in 2004. Our first scientific session took place later part of 2004 in Seventeen Mile Rock auditorium. Since its inception the society has been doing regular scientific program with great success. Keeping pace with time a good number of Bangladeshi doctors were succeeded and absorbed in to the Australian medical workforce. The society was getting momentum. The activities were extended into other fields such as social gathering, cultural and recreational events. The society also actively involved in various charitable donations. We wanted other members of the Bangladeshi Community to share our success and feel proud of our achievement. Therefore the society maintained a strong relationship with the Bangladesh Association of Brisbane (BAB). We actively supported any community based event of the BAB. The society also targeted young generation and organised an award ceremony for Bangladeshi students for their achievement in year 12 exam in 2005 and 2006.
In conclusion I must say that the achievement of our society in last ten years is the outcome of integrated team work of all the members. Every year we are getting dynamic leadership and achieving high speed momentum. Good understanding and unity among the members have created a collegial atmosphere which is a role model for others. We have achieved many goals however we need to continue to strive to fulfil our vision. Through our excellent work in Queensland others will know Bangladesh positively. I am proud of my country of origin Bangladesh and proud to work in this fair country Australia and hope to see the team from SBDQ will continue the good work.
Dr Chowdhury is the founding president of SBDQ and a Senior Consultant Nephrologist at Illawarra Shoalhaven Renal Service, NSW