The Bhutanese community and their donor agencies are certain to lose a dynamic leadership of Dr Madhurima Bhadra, Project Director of the Primary Health Care Project for Bhutanese Refugees (PHCP-BR), following her resignation from the post. Several have doubted that Dr Bhadra has been forced by the Association of Medical Doctor for Asia (AMDA) Nepal to tender her resignation despite her strong desire to continue leading a medical team for the exiled Bhutanese, but the Bhutan News Service was unable to verify this from the AMDA Nepal. However, it has been revealed that another staff at the same Project has also been disgraced since the AMDA Nepal has already announced vacancy of his post along with Dr Bhadra’s without informing him about this. Vidhyapati Mishra on last Friday talked to Dr Bhadra on various issues including the actual reason behind her resignation and her two-year-long attachment with the exiled community. Excerpts:
BNS: How do you review your leadership at the PHCP-BR?
Dr Bhadra: I think that I have been an efficient leader for the Primary Health Care Project for Bhutanese Refugees. I have really enjoyed my tenure of serving the Bhutanese refugees and the satisfaction of a job well done. I have a democratic leading style and I believe that all staffs of the AMDA PHCP- BR, regardless of whether they are Nepali or Bhutanese, are of equal importance for running the Project in a successful manner. A lot of inspiration has come from the dedication my staffs have shown to their work. I hope that I have been able to make some positive changes in running the program, rendering better services for the refugee population.
BNS: Why have you resigned actually?
Dr Bhadra: I have resigned because I felt that my working ethics and principles do not match with that of the AMDA Nepal authorities.
BNS: How do you rate the health status of Bhutanese refugees?
Dr Bhadra: Generally, the health status of the Bhutanese refugees is well above that of the Nepalese population. But, I also believe that, it is not sufficient to be complacent just because we are providing better health services than the Government of Nepal. We have the funding and the resources to provide Primary Health Care in the best way and it is the AMDA PHCP-BR’s moral and programmatic duty to fulfill these responsibilities.
BNS: What are the achievements during your official tenure at the PHCP-BR?
Dr Bhadra: I think one of my biggest achievements during my official tenure at the Project has been the change I have brought about in the pharmacy management. We went from using drug procurement budget to pay for extra referral costs to actually using the allocated drug budget to purchase drugs. I started a monthly drug distribution schedule. Now, therefore, there is a much better drug availability in the camps.
Teaming up with the UNHCR’s Rianawati (Head of Sub-Office, Damak) and Diane Goodman (Deputy Resident Representative) we expanded the Medical Referral Guidelines to include/cover pregnant mothers (without refugee status) and accident cases outside the camps in the Jhapa and Morang district.
The PHCP-BR infection prevention practices were also vastly improved upon. I started a 360 staff evaluation and complemented that evaluation with rewards for those staff with outstanding performances. I also started a Team Building Exercise for all staffs where there were team-building exercises among them and rewarding of the staff.
I worked closely with the UNHCR and TPO colleagues to establish a Suicide Prevention Protocol. In coordination with Rianawati, I hosted a retreat type coordination meeting with UNHCR colleagues who have the most interactions with the Project staffs. I helped to give body and permanence to the establishment of the PHCP-BR Staff Council. The Staff Council wishes to work for the good of all concerned staffs at the Project.
BNS: Any interesting moments while serving the refugee community, and the worst one?
Dr Bhadra: I have had so many interesting moments while serving the refugee community. I think for me the best moment was when all the Camp Secretaries honored me in January 2011 thanking me for my dedication and commitment to serving the refugee population. For me the worst moment (or rather a series of events) was when one of the PHCP-BR staffs verbally abused a refugee staff member. I was very annoyed and embarrassed by that staff’s behavior. I felt ashamed that another Nepali staff was behaving in a manner that was in direct conflict of the Project’s working ethics.
BNS: Your last message for the Bhutanese community?
Dr Bhadra: I would like to wish all the Bhutanese community the very success in every decision and action they undertake. I would like to remind the resettling youths to give themselves time but to pursue their education because that is what will make them leaders of the future. I also would like to tell those who are awaiting repatriation that their dedication and zeal are admirable and I hope that their efforts come into fruition one day.
I would like to emphasize that though there are 24-hour health care services in the camps, it is also each and every person’s responsibility to take care of themselves and also their community. I have enjoyed working with such a strong and dynamic community and this has been the source of my inspiration to apply for a job, and then work at AMDA for the past two years. Lastly, I would like to say, thank you for your support, your love and your teachings. Being with you has made me a better person.