Syrian doctor says physicians need to be aware of refugees' special needs
Physicians need to be ready for patients that come from a much more patriarchal society, says doctor
A doctor who was among the first Syrian refugees to come to Canada on a Canadian government plane is speaking about immigrant and refugee health care and the role of physicians in integrating refugees
Specifically, Dr. Vanig Garabedian wants to help Canadian doctors better understand cultural and personal barriers refugee women have in receiving gynecological and obstetrical care.
Garabedian was in Vancouver on June 14 where he delivered a symposium on the topic, and said the most important thing for doctors to understand is the difference between women who grew up in rural and urban areas.
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"[There are] huge differences between those two areas in terms of their knowledge and their education," he told On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko, adding those areas have differences in beliefs and culture as well.
Garabedian says physicians need to be ready for patients that come from a much more patriarchal society where "the father, he is the boss of the family, and he will decide everything."
"But I think physicians here can make them gradually make them understand the Canadian way and Canadian culture … and to educate men on women's rights and gender equality," he said.
30 minutes from death
Garabedian had a clinic in Aleppo before he came to Canada, but in 2013, he got a panicked call from his wife asking for him to come home early.
He says that call was "a miracle."
"She had that feeling that something wrong was going to happen to me and the clinic," he said. "30 minutes after my leaving, two rockets came and destroyed my clinic."
Now in Canada, Garabedian says it's his goal to repay Canadians in under-serviced areas with his expertise in gynecological and obstetrical care. But first he needs to write some medical exams at the end of this year to qualify to practise.
He also says his three daughters' integration into Canada is also important to him.
"I am very sure they will contribute to the Canadian culture and be part of it," he said. "And I think they are part of it now."
With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast
To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Syrian doctor says physicians can help integrate influx of refugees