Melbourne scholarship helping paediatrician 'make life better' in Bhutan

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A Bhutanese-born paediatrician is participating in a scholarship at Melbourne’s Monash Children’s Hospital which is hoped will save countless lives in his developing homeland.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons is pedantic when considering the recipient of the prestigious Rowan Nicks International Scholarship.

It has deemed Bhutanese-born paediatrician, Dr Karma Sherub, a worthy winner, and the 42-year-old is determined to make a difference. 

“(It's) not only (about) saving lives - there are children who are living with deformities - children (who are) sometimes born with congenital anomalies,” he said. 

It's hoped the intensive 12-month training program would provide Dr Sherub with a range of new skills to cope with the huge demand for trained physicians in Bhutan. 

Nestled between the Asian giants China and India, Bhutan is a kingdom of around 700,000 people.

The country is developing, and the health system considered poor by western standards.

Upon his return to Bhutan, Dr Sherub will become the only qualified paediatric surgeon in the country and the scholarship will help him achieve his life-long dream. 

“From my very childhood days, I wanted to be a doctor because in my country, (the) healthcare system is struggling (and) very poor,” he said. 

While in Melbourne, Dr Sherub is being mentored by eminent paediatric surgeon Dr Chris Kimba.

Dr Kimba said in Australia, a condition such as a urinary tract blockage was relatively easy to treat, but it can be life-threatening in developing nations.

“In Bhutan they're (conditions) unlikely to be picked up before they're born," he said.

"They'll normally arrive at the hospital very infected and very sick and then Dr Karma doesn't even have the instrumentation yet to be able to relieve the blockage."

The objective of the Rowan Nicks scholarship isn't to simply help individuals in their own careers, but rather to provide the necessary skills to teach others and share the knowledge. 

It’s a challenge Dr Sherub was ready to embrace. 

“I can not only prevent deaths, I can try to make life better for our children back home."

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