Healthy outlook for Bega Valley

THE region’s newest group of doctors were introduced to the rest of the Valley’s medical fraternity last week.

Southern NSW Medicare Local hosted an informal “meet and greet” over drinks and finger food at Fat Tony’s in Tathra to welcome four new doctors and their families to the region.

The new GPs included Bega’s Dr Mohammed Asif and Dr Andrew Ivanoff, and Eden’s Dr David Rowlands.

Merimbula Main Street Surgery’s Dr Sarah Frost was unable to attend.

Dr Asif began working as a GP at Canning Street Surgery a fortnight ago and loves his new surrounds.

Dr Asif trained in Fiji, graduating in 2005.

In 2009 he moved to Australia on a skills visa and began working up and down Queensland’s coast – including in Gladstone, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

“Two very tough exams” and then starting in junior positions were required for Dr Asif’s medical registration in Australia and his successful general registration qualified him for permanent residency.

“It’s a tough process, especially when leaving home,” Dr Asif said.

“But it’s worth it.”

Dr Asif’s wife Rehnuma and mother Nisha Nur have joined him in Australia and are enjoying all the Bega Valley has to offer.

Rehnuma previously worked as a dietician but an interest in business has seen her enrol in a Bachelor of Business at the University of Wollongong Bega campus.

“It’s a time of changes for us,” she said.

“It has been a challenge, but it’s good – the people here are nice and approachable.”

“People in Queensland are nice, but here they are nicer with the same warmth,” Dr Asif added.

Dr Asif said the Canning St Surgery is “a lovely place”.

“My colleagues are great, they have been really welcoming.

“The other doctors are good in offering advice and the patients are very welcoming also.”

Dr Asif said his intention was to stay in the area with his family for a long time.

 “We came with a certain amount of anxiety, but it has been very good going so far,” he said.

“We’ll see how it goes, but the intention is to stay a long time.

“The people are nice, the weather is lovely – it’s much easier to settle into life here that in the city.”

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