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Mon 6 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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Refugee doctor calls on Iraq to fund education

An Iraqi refugee doctor working in the UK is calling on his government to fund training for exiled physicians to become lecturers in medicine, so they can return home to teach the next generation.

An Iraqi refugee doctor working in the UK is calling on his government to fund training for exiled physicians to become lecturers in medicine, so they can return home to teach the next generation.

Dr Sarkhell Radha, who has just begun his specialist training in trauma and orthopedics at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, spoke to MT after revealing his experiences as a refugee doctor in a recent issue of the British Medical Association's weekly newsletter.

Dr Radha is one of approximately 257 Iraqi doctors in the UK. He achieved asylum status and the right to work after a two-year battle, but said many other doctors are still not practising after five years in exile.

The Iraqi government, which has been suffering from a shortage of medical staff since the war began, should pay for these physicians to study to become medical teachers, he told MT.

"There are hundreds of doctors here fully qualified who, with a bit of help, can engage in doing postgraduate study and go on to be postgraduate lectures in our country," Dr Radha said.

"If they want Iraqi doctors to go back then they need preparation. They can offer to do that, the Iraq government, to encourage them to go back."

Dr Radha added that it was difficult for doctors like him to return to work in Iraq as the culture meant he would be working under a consultant with less experience, but more powerful contacts.

"It is difficult to work in Iraq as there are different politics and consultants treat you like nothing, here [UK] there are more opportunities," he said.

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