Face-to-face with Dr Tahir Mehmood Minhas
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
In this week’s Health Promotion Column, we bring excerpts of the interview we had with Dr. Tahir Mehmood Minhas , general and plastic surgeon of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Hospital in the Gambia. Dr Minhas spoke at length on a wide range of issues including his profile, educational background, work experience, among other important issues surrounding his occupation.
Below is the excerpts of the interview.
Can you tell us your background?
My name is Dr Tahir Mehmood Minhas and I was born in Pakistan on 5th of March 1971, after completing F.S.C ( pre-Medical) I entered in Quaid-e-Azam Medical College Bahawalpur as medical student in 1989, after passing my MBBS in 1995,I passed my FCPS part1 in surgery, then entered into the training program for post graduation for surgery and then passed my FCPS (Fellow of College for Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan in Surgery.
In 2006 I was offered to work as a Consultant plastic Surgeon at Quaid-e-Azam medical College Bahawalpur Pakistan were I was working up to this time and then posted as a devotee surgeon to The Gambia.
I am qualified general and plastic surgeon and the first one as a devotee doctor in Africa under the banner of Majlis Nusrat Jahan Scheme which started in 1970 a service to humanity Philanthropic Services in Africa under the blessed guidance of Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad Masih 111 Alhamdulillah , I am the only plastic Surgeon in the sub- region.
What motivated you to come to work in The Gambia?
It was a long time my very strong desire to work in Africa when I was asked to offer my services by Mubarak Ahmad Tahir Sahib (Secretary Majlis Nusrat Jahan) Rabwah, Pakistan but I knew the facilities and expertise in Surgery in Africa was very less so I tried to get this opportunity to acquire this expertise and Allah the Almighty gave me this so when I wanted to come to Africa, I was especially sent to The Gambia by my beloved Imam Hazrat Khalifatul Masih the V, he noted that there is a strong history between Jama,at at the People of The Gambianow I am very happy to be here with all Gambian fellows to help them and even the whole Sub- region in the field of general and plastic Surgery.
Since you came to The Gambia how many Surgeries have you done at The Ahmadiyya Muslim Hospital?
I came to The Gambia in October 2011 and up till now, I have done more than hundred Surgeries in which plastic and general surgeries, gynaecology and urology operations have been done, Also we are doing faciomaxillary surgery at affordable price to the poor and needy among others, because of these services some of the patients are been treated at the hospital on very affordable rates otherwise they were been sent abroad for treatment before which was expensive for them the public welcome all the time for the services , we give them at a reasonable rates.
Do you have any collaborationwith the RVTH?
Yes, When I came here our respected Amir Sahib Mr Baba F Trawally sent me to the RVTH to attend the Surgeon meeting and I humbly offered them that, if any patient of plastic surgery they have at any time they could send to me, On this all the surgeons were happy and they thought that this is a great achievement and facility the country can tapped on. He added that after this meeting they are regularly referring the patients to the hospital and we are operating them noting that one of his very good fellow doctor Surgeon Dr Ahmad Samateh is referring patients regularly.
Dr Minhas added that he have also offered them his services to undergraduate teachings to the Medical School of health Sciences of the University of The Gambia in the field of plastic Surgery as honorary teacher.
What services are available at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Hospital (AMH) at the moment?
We have got out door, in door, 24- hours emergency, Skin Clinic , X- ray, Ultrasound, Pathology, Laboratory, Labour Ward, operation Theatre and also Emergency Surgery facility. He pointed out that now they are in developing Phase in surgery department and they have got monitors , diathermy machines and other facilities in the operation theatre and now we are going to get general anaesthesia machines and lot of other machines in the very near future.
What sort of facilities do you intend to develop in the near future?
We have our plans to improve this hospital in three phases adding in the first phase they will try to strengthen the surgery department and endoscopy for gastric ulcer patients, whilst in the second phase they will start the independent department of surgery having outdoor, indoor, emergencies, Intensive Care Unit, Burn Unit, operation theatre. General ward and rooms and the third phase they will improve their pathology laboratory and radiology services.
Since you established this Hospitalin Tallinding what achievements have been registered so far?
Before the start of the hospital in Tallinding, there was a T.B and Medical Clinic at Picton Street in Banjul in the 1970,s after this in 1982 the hospital was established in Tallinding and had been greatly acknowledged in the whole as among the best and also cheapest health service provider, we have got an MOU between Us and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and people have a very strong faith in the services the hospital is providing to them.
What are the challenges you are facing at the hospital?
In my own observation, prices of medicines in this Country are very high and this makes our work somehow difficult but still we are trying to help our needy patients and our rates of charging patients are also constant from the last many years and besides this, availability of medicines on very short notice is very difficult, this cause a great difficult in treating the patients promptly.
What are your aims and objectives as a surgeon?
As a Surgeon an Ahmadi Muslim my motto is love for all, hatred for None, I am praying to Allah every day to make me beneficial for the people of The Gambia.
Looking at your profession, have you got ample time for your family?
We always try to have time for our families and other people but most importantly is the patients, my passion is my work and to work for humanity specially and this cause is much bigger than the time spending with my family.
I am very fortunate that my wife and my children are fully supportive to me in this noble cause in the service of the great people of The Gambia.
What do you feel here and what success you are getting in surgery?
I feel myself to be very lucky to be with very respective and loving Gambian fellows.
Author: Momodou Faal