Family links doctor to Portland

Dr Ghazala Irshad is keen to help Portland's expectant mothers when she starts in April.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Maternity services at Portland District Health (PDH) will breathe a sign of relief in April with the arrival of a new full-time general practitioner obstetrician and gynaecologist.

Ghazala Irshad, will replace former PDH, GP obstetrician Wladek Smolilo, who finishes at PDH today and will join her sister Fariha Irshad who is training in obstetrics and her brother in law who is also a GP in town.

While the connection with family is an important part of Dr Irshad’s appointment, she says helping secure maternity services in the area is vital.

Dr Irshad says it is a great reward knowing fewer mothers will have to deliver their babies away from their families in Warrnambool or Hamilton.

“I wanted to work where there is need for an obstetrician and gynaecologist and I understand there is a big need in the Portland area” Dr Irshad said.

Working in a coastal town is another benefit of the change of scenery.

Dr Irshad has spent the past 12 months working in Sunshine Hospital on the outskirts of Melbourne.  She and her family worked in the landlocked Botswana between 2004 and 2007 before being convinced to make the trip down under.

“I was working in Africa and things were pretty good there, you know there is a lot of work that can be done in Africa for a gynaecologist but they (sister and family) liked Australia very much and it’s very safe and secure so she really convinced me to come.”

“Portland seems to be a lovely place and the view from the hospital is magnificent – I love the ocean, it’s a bit cold though” she said.

The Pakistan born and educated Dr Irshad says she didn’t have too much to say in her career choice coming from a family of doctors, but says the decision to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology was an important one.

“Being in a Muslim country and being a lady doctor, our women love to go to the lady doctor for their problems, they don’t like to go to the men.”

“So my father always wanted me to deal with the female problems, so I did my internship in obstetrics and gynaecology” Dr Irshad said.

In addition to her work at PDH, Dr Irshad will continue to enhance her skills by completing more advanced obstetrics qualifications, she said.

Story by Huw Cushing, Picture by Josh Nash, PORTLAND OBSERVER

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