Royal College of Psychiatrists recognises contributions of Asian Psychiatrists


Royal College of Psychiatrists recognises
contributions of Asian Psychiatrists

LONDON: For the first time this July, Royal College of Psychiatrist (UK) will celebrate South Asian History Month to recognise the enormous debt the UK owes to psychiatrists from the South Asian Region. It is also heartening to note that the list of those who are being recognized also includes a Pakistani Psychiatrist Dr. Afzal Javed who left Pakistan many years ago and has serve their for the last many years. During this time, he also contributed a great deal to help, support academic activities, mental healthcare in Pakistan as well as other countries of the world through various ways. It was in recognition of his services that he was elected as President-elect of World Psychiatric Association, a rare honour which no other psychiatrist from Pakistan has earned so far.

Dr. Afzal Javed

According to a write-up appearing in the “RCPSYC Insight” The South Asian History Month will be celebrated during the current month July 2020. During this many acclaimed South Asian psychiatrists who studied or worked in the UK went on to become world leaders in the field, such as Professor Narendra Nath Wig, dubbed the ‘father of Indian psychiatry’ who was awarded the College’s highest accolade of Honorary Fellowship in 1991.

Another is Dr Afzal Javed, former RCPsych Deputy Associate Registrar and chair of the Pakistan Psychiatric Research Centre in Lahore, who takes over as President of the World Psychiatric Association later this year.

Many others have also been pioneers in their field, such as Sri Lankan Dr Anula Nikapota, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust who died last year and was internationally known for her expertise in cultural diversity. But for each of these celebrated leaders or trailblazers, there are many thousands of lesser-known psychiatrists from the region whose contributions are no less great and who have been as much an inspiration.

Overdue recognition

For most who came to the UK to train and work from the 1950s onwards, opportunities were limited. Often, they were offered only vacant posts, such as in asylums and on learning difficulty wards. In other words, the work the British doctors didn’t want to do. International doctors were encouraged to pursue less popular specialties like intellectual disabilities, explains former RCPsych President Dr Dinesh Bhugra, “It’s a real debt we owe them & it’s not just about statistics, but how psychiatrists from South Asia have provided services that were lacking.”

Ref: Extract from publication from Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) Magazine “Insight”