Featured Doctor

KHAN, Dr Wahid: WONCA Asia Pacific leader

Fiji: WONCA leader

Current vocation

I have been a general practitioner at the JP Bayly Clinic in Suva, Fiji, since 1991. This is a multi-practice clinic which especially caters for the medico-dental needs of the less advantaged and to which is attached a welfare section. The welfare section provides food, clothing and education for the children of some 200 families on our register. Needless to say, the doctors and dentist provide free services to those on the register.

Personally for me, this aspect of social medicine has always been appealing as I can well identify with the feelings of these families and able to provide
the much needed empathy.

What are your special interests at work and for leisure?

My special interest in medicine has been male sexual issues, diabetes and geriatric medicine. Most of my current non-office time (and I have an on-going battle with my spouse over this) is spent on establishing the new organisation called Diabetes Fiji. This was preceded by the National Diabetes Foundation of Fiji, which really was ‘not’ a national organisation. I am the current Chair of Diabetes Fiji and actively involved in all aspects of Diabetology, in Fiji. I am extremely thrilled that, together with our stakeholders, we shall be starting a concerted program on diabetes footcare, in Fiji, in the New Year.

My other interests beyond medicine have always been reading and travelling. The first, I indulge in, in abundance, the latter (travelling) I wish I could do more of! I also have an avid interest in golf but, with a rusting golf set, can only manage 2-3 games per year. Can there be more days to the week or more hours to the day???

On being a Family Doctor in Fiji …

Has been and remains a challenge. I have had the opportunity to be intensely involved with medical politics, in Fiji as a member of the Fiji College of General Practitioners - as its Secretary and subsequently as its President. The formative years of the College involved a lot of hard work, but the dividends have paid off well. The College now exists through the legal instruments of government and stands shoulder to shoulder with the kindred organisations.

As a GP in practice in Fiji, there are many hurdles to overcome. The prime hurdle is that the majority of our patients ‘pay for our services’ and we have to be extremely careful of what they finally end up paying. We cannot strictly adhere to Evidence Based Practice. It’s more a Patient Based Practice where the patient’s funds determine how evidence is applied.
I enjoy my practice and over the years the practice of medicine has become a hobby in itself. I also enjoy the camaraderie of my local colleagues and the banter between us.

What are your perspectives on WONCA?

I have been involved with WONCA since the Durban conference, in 2001, when I first went in as the Fijian representative. Over the years, I have developed a lot of international medical friends and I continue to do this. WONCA has introduced me to the international medical world by providing a framework for networking and I am glad to be a part of it.

I am currently the Honorary Secretary of the WONCA Asia Pacific Region. Some think that the ‘honorary’ position is just that, but, believe me, there is definitely work to be done. To me the major emphasis should be ‘marketing WONCA’ so that Individual Membership soars. We also need to reach out to many countries which do not have affiliations with WONCA.

I have also worked extensively with other national organisations such as the Colleges of General Practitioners in both, Australia and New Zealand. I have seen extensive goodwill all around me, all one has to do but ask. I still maintain contact with some very old and some very young GPs in these organisations.

And for the future?

The future? Well, I will work as a GP as long as my patients want me to, even though debility, senility and whatever else may strike me!!!