Bondi to Bagan: GP volunteer scholarship
WHAT travelling doctor hasn’t felt the tug to stay a while and help treat the sick in poor countries of the world?
Bondi GP Dr Margot Cunich and her business partner son Mark are bent on making the dream possible, offering a scholarship for an Australian GP to take a two-week placement in Myanmar in October.
Universal health: from Bondi to Burma
A Bondi GP and her business partner son want to take Australian medical expertise to where it is needed most. First stop, Burma.
When she’s not seeing patients Dr Margot Cunich and her son Mark organise medical conferences that take Australian doctors to visit some of the most exotic destinations - and poorest countries - in the world. Now they want to give more than tourism dollars to the communities they visit.
The jet setting duo are this week launching Unconventional Volunteering, a philanthropic arm of their business Unconventional Conventions. Their first project is to provide a scholarship for an Australian GP to provide much needed medical training in Burma.
When Margot and Mark visited the country last year they found a healthcare system suffering from fifty years of neglect. They also met doctors desperate to provide the best possible care for their patients.
“In the riverside city of Bagan we met Dr Hla Tun. I’m pretty sure he never sleeps,” said Mark Cunich, co-director of Unconventional Conventions.
“He works four days a week on the luxurious Road to Mandalay ship, looking after the health of tourists and then spends three huge days running a clinic for locals.”
The clinic sees nearly 5,000 patients a month, many coming from up to 150 km away with malaria, injuries and respiratory problems.
But many of the clinic’s patients suffer from musculoskeletal, cardiological and neurological problems in which Dr Hla and the other staff lack adequate training. Dr Hla told the Cunichs it would be of enormous benefit to the community if they could receive practical training in these fields.
That’s where the idea for Unconventional Volunteering was born, explained Dr Cunich.
“We are looking for an Australian GP with special expertise in the disciplines missing from the clinic in Bagan. We’ll sponsor them to get to and live in Bagan for two weeks in October so they can train local staff,” she said.
“Over the course of the many conferences we have held in developing countries we have tried to give something more than tourism dollars. This will hopefully be the first of many projects,” said Dr Cunich.
Doctors interested in applying for the position can email email@example.com for more information.
For interviews and photos contact Mark Cunich firstname.lastname@example.org or 0409249611
Australian Doctor 20 March 2012
Dr Margot Cunich is combining her wanderlust and medical training to help those in the greatest need.
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