Brunei needs more local doctors
By: Azlan Othman
On: 17 March 2017
In: Borneo Bulletin > National
BRUNEI Darussalam needs to produce 30 to 40 local doctors annually for the nation to be self-sufficient in healthcare services, YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Zulkarnain bin Haji Hanafi, the Minister of Health said.
Responding to queries by YB Haji Abdul Wahab bin Apong, Legislative Council member and Penghulu of Mukim Tanjong Maya on the need for local specialists to broaden medical expertise and reduce the country’s dependency on foreign doctors as well as the higher expenditure to send patients overseas at the 13th Legislative Council session yesterday, YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Zulkarnain bin Hanafi said there has been an increase in the number of local doctors.
“In fact local specialists outnumber foreign specialists and the local workforce has undergone specialised training in the UK, the US, Australia and Europe,” the minister added.
“Localisation is important. Local patients would be satisfied (not to disrespect foreign doctors) if treated by local doctors. We are also working with Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) through PAPRSB Institute of Health Sciences to ensure that their (doctors) training is also conducted locally. For instance, the Masters of Medicine should be introduced in Brunei Darussalam first before they undergo fellowship overseas to gain expertise,” he said.
“The government investment to train locals at overseas institutions is big and we should make use of such investment. We want specialists in all fields of medicine. UBD is also introducing a medical course where the student undergoes three years of studies locally and another three years abroad with renowned universities.”
Meanwhile, when asked on why Brunei still hires foreign nurses when the local workforce can take over, YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Zulkarnain revealed that 91 per cent of the country’s nurses are locals while only nine per cent are foreigners.
“We still need foreign nurses as a benchmark which is important as these foreign nurses come from renowned institutions,” the minister added.