Dr Umanand Prasad And His Vision

Health and medical profession is an area of skills shortage in many parts of the world. For many years public health in Fiji has been an area of significant critique
13 Nov 2014 10:22
Dr Umanand Prasad And His Vision
Students outside the Umanand Prasad School of Medicine.

Health and medical profession is an area of skills shortage in many parts of the world.

For many years public health in Fiji has been an area of significant critique involving lack of resources available to hospitals, under-skilled medical and health professionals, improper diagnosis, reliance on overseas countries and their expatriates to serve our people, and lack of innovative research on emerging public health issues confronting Pacific Island countries.

As the quest for better public health continues, it is important to recognise the contribution of late Dr Prasad.

Dr Prasad has played an important role in the establishment of the Umanand Medical School within the University of Fiji.

In one of my earlier articles in The Fiji Sun titled ‘An Education Ecosystem: First in Asia Pacific’ dated February 12, 2012, I commended the Arya Samaj institution for the establishment of the University of Fiji and its outstanding contribution to the academy and the people of Fiji.

Dr Prasad, originally from Labasa, was a practising doctor in public hospital in Fiji.

His father was an average hard working citizen who used to trade goods in Labasa to support his family.

His hard work saw his son as the first doctor in his family including a number of children who went into the teaching profession.

The establishment of the Umanand Medical School in Fiji is a credit to Dr Prasad and his parents.

The establishment of the medical school with a million dollar donation has proven that access and participation of disadvantaged children who are first in the family to access higher educations has a ‘ripple effect’ to attain education. It also proves to the government that widening the participation of underprivileged children in medical courses contributes to the social and economic development of Fiji.

Without Dr Prasad’s donation the following may not have happened:

– The opening of the second medical school in Fiji;

– Increased competitiveness between medical schools to provide quality education;

– Increased participation of underprivileged kids to access medical education which was only enjoyed by medium and high socio economic background families due to the recruitment practices of another medical school;

– Increased choice for students and parents;

– Strengthened focus on contemporary research in health and medicine which was ignored by the established medical school;

– The motivation for children in Arya Samaj and other religious groups to study in a school established on donation and charity;

– The production of the next generation of doctors in Fiji;

– Addressing skills shortage in Fiji and beyond; and

– A medical school established truly for the good of Fiji citizens to improve health service.

In an environment where people are reluctant to assist poor children and close family in accessing tertiary education, Dr Prasad has set a role model for many in our society by establishing a medical school which will no doubt benefit people and generations to follow.

He has proven that each dollar of donation makes a significant contribution to humanity.

One of the best needs of a human being is a quest of better health which Dr Prasad has left a legacy for us to remember.

I again congratulate the Arya Samaj institution for its success in a very short period of time.

More focus on quality, academic standards, and innovative research will position the medical school as leading school renowned for the production of high quality doctors.

The future of the University of Fiji is dependent on the financial support of the Government to ensure its ongoing growth and sustainability.

Feedback: newsroom@fijisun.com.fj


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