written by Amirah Abdul Wahid, final year medical student
Delegate from MHPA Singapore for FIMA Youth Camp 2017
#FYSC 2017, #Istanbulmeeting
Being given the opportunity to be part of MHPA during my elective period in Singapore proved an overwhelming, yet invaluable experience. I was given an insight into the general healthcare realities of our Malay/Muslim community. The truth is far from my initial understanding of Singapore’s healthcare from articles and magazines. As MHPA is also a member of FIMA (Federation of Islamic Medical Association), I was given the privilege to join the FIMA Youth Summer Camp 2017, in Istanbul, Turkey (Yeay!!) which took place from 17/7/2017-22/7/2017.
The FYSC and Istanbul Meeting which lasted for 6 days, was not merely a dream come true but also an eye opening and motivational experience. The camp included talks by healthcare professionals, discussions among young healthcare professionals, cultural activities and sports. With participation from over 40 IMAs transnationally, we shared our healthcare and Muslim community problems within our own countries as well as the world in general, brainstorming possible solutions, and working on projects as part of solving the Ummah’s problems. Other highlights not to be forgotten included our trip to see the beautiful and historical Istanbul, as well as attending a gala dinner with the delegates; representatives from all the IMAs and Hayat Foundation and, of course, with Mr President, Recep Tayyib Erdogan.
As a medical student, knowing that I was going to attend FYSC, my expectation of the camp was very focused on western healthcare and ways of improving the world’s health status in general. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I am primarily exposed to western medicine and not in any other forms. To my surprise, we extensively discussed, “Who are we?”, “What is our role?” and “Where are we going?”, before we touched on the world’s health issues. We define ourselves as young Muslim professionals, understand that our role is to bring mercy to humankind and our aim is none other than to gain HIS blessings and paradise. With this understanding, we were able to discuss current topics from a different perspective- with maturity, accountability and faith in God. Though we may be youth, we understand that we are at a prime age to act and contribute more than we could ever do in our lifetime. With the spirit of Sultan Mahmet Al-Fateh, we learnt that we can never be too young to make a change for the Ummah as Sultan Mahmet has once changed the fate of the Ummah by conquering Constantinople at the age of 21.
Another substantial part of the event was identifying the “symptoms” of the “sick” Ummah, investigating and managing them well as a doctor should. As there were over 400 delegates, we were divided into smaller groups and were assigned a specific issue. These included: Refugee and Migrant Health: Is it too Late to Act?, Be Prepared: Projections on Healthy Aging of Young Muslim Populations and Inequity in Healthcare: Finding a Balance and Implementing New Tools. Personally, I feel that the take home message is not to criticize and find fault but rather to take ownership of the problem as a Muslim and act upon the problem at an individual and community level.
Going to Istanbul would be like any ordinary holiday if it was not for the people with whom I spent time, especially the Turkish organizing team. We became sisters. Despite our cultural and language differences, it was amazing how we developed a very strong connection with one another with only one similarity, i.e. Islam. We learnt each other’s differences and accepted them with an open mind. Also not to be forgotten was the warm hospitality we received from our Turkish delegates which was beyond expectations.
The experience has ended, and we have returned to our respective countries. Now, it’s time for us to put theory into action in our own home. I hope that the sisterhood will last forever (insyaAllah) and we continue to work under one roof and unite as young healthcare professionals of the Ummah!