On the 15th of November, the Thornbury Theatre held the Annual Dinner for Doctors of Indian origin, hosting both Doctors who graduated overseas (OMGA) and a younger group of health professionals who graduated from universities across Australia (ASHA).
The dinner was organised by the Doctors of the Overseas Medical Graduates of Australia (OMGA). Formed in 1989, OMGA serves to protect and enhance the professional interests of doctors who graduated from overseas medical schools and has recently regained momentum following a large flux of doctors from India into medical practices across Australia.
In organising the dinner, OMGA joined forces with the Australian South-Asian Healthcare Association (ASHA) Charity, who represent the next generation of doctors and allied health care professionals committed to healthcare projects in the local Australian-Indian Community and in disadvantaged area of South Asia.
The night was officially opened by Hon. David Davis, Health Minister of Victoria by enlightening the lamp, and in his speech he re-emphasised his support of services to improve the opportunities for overseas medical graduates seeking to work in Australia, and celebrated the accomplishments of Indian Doctors in Victoria to date.
OMGA President, Dr GeethaVenkatram also joined hands with Hon. Health minister and spoke about OMGA and contribution of Indian doctors in Victorian Health system.
Dr Raj Khillan, General Secretary OMGA spoke about journey of hard work, struggle these doctors have gone through before being trained to serve the local community to provide the high quality of medical services to Victorian.
Further Dr Raj Khillan stated OMGA was started as a medical-political-educational platform for all the IMGs 24 years ago so that they can help each other in their tough time and their voice can be raised to appropriate authorities. Over the years many changes happened in the Australian medical Workforce, particularly after the report of ‘Lost in the Labyrinth ‘in 2012. 45 recommendations were suggested and many of the 45 recommendations are implemented to improve the system to adapt IMGs in Australian Medical force.
This made the changes in the system to make the entry of IMGs in Australian medical system relatively smooth and hassle-free. OMGA will initiate educational activities for GPs and OMGA is going to be accredited CME providers for GP from 2015. Dr Raj Khillan also spoke about OMGA’ aim is to spread knowledge of blood donation and organ donation among Indian communities.
There were more than 300 doctors and their partners in attendance, serving as a testament to the thriving success of the diaspora of Indian Doctors in Victoria. The night was filled with numerous dance and musical performances, which were provided by AYINA (Australian Young Indians taleNts Association), Bollybeats and several individual singers.
The generous side of the doctors came out as they funds for ASHA Charity’s Muskaan Medical Project in an auction held by Harry Li and Michael Choi from McDonald Real Estate Agents in Springvale.
The OMGA &Muskaan Medical Project will be sending a team of 11 doctors and allied health professionals to the slums of Bhopal, India to train an additional 40 healthcare workers, and set up clinics for maternal health, paediatric health, eye care and basic medical first aid in January 2015.
Both OMGA and ASHA will now look to host events to encourage social engagement amongst Indian Health Professionals, uniting them to improve the awareness of health amongst the local Indian community and create charity healthcare projects in India. Their next fundraising Bollywood night and dinner is planned on Mother’s Day to raise awareness of women Health and raise funds for Breast Cancer Foundation.
If you are an overseas medical graduate, feel free to get in touch with OMGA at www.omga.org.au. Or contact Dr Raj Khillan, Dr GeethaVenkatram.