#PeopleStories: Obstetrics & Gynaecology Specialist

Ever wonder what does a obstetrics and gynaecology specialist do, why do they do it and how they got there? Dr Pravin Peraba shares insights into his career journey.
Dr Pravin Peraba
Obstetrics & Gynaecology Specialist at Hospital Banting
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What do you do?

I'm an Obstetrics & Gynaecology (O&G) specialist. That's a specialised doctor in the field of medicine. My day-to-day routine encompasses treating patients in a clinical or ward setting, performing surgeries and delivering babies. I also play an important role in training junior doctors in the same field.

How did you get here?

Any career in medicine requires you to start out by completing your five-year medical degree. Therefore, I entered UKM after finishing STPM and obtained my medical degree there, after which I carried out my four years of compulsory service at Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang. 

Subsequently, my path to become a specialist continued. To be an O&G specialist, there are two routes available: to carry out a Master’s programme in a local university or sit for the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists’ membership exam, an overseas examination. I opted to do my Master’s in UKM, despite the competitive nature of the entrance examinations and interview. It was after successfully completing my four-year Master’s in O&G journey that I was able to reach my goal of becoming an O&G specialist. 

Why do you do it?

Few - if any - people are purely altruistic these days. Yet, in my chosen field there is a wide scope to do good. Being a doctor affords me the opportunity to help people who need it the most. It gives me the chance to serve my community and country in a unique way. Interventions to help one’s fellow man, whether they be life-saving or not, will always provide satisfaction far beyond what financial compensation on its own ever will.

Who should do it?

Dedication and hard work are prerequisites. The longer degree duration of five years means you may still be a student when your friends have graduated and are earning salaries. Once you do start work, the job calls for copious sacrifices of your time from anywhere between 72 to 100 hours a week, including many sleepless nights.

The financial remuneration is meagre until you reach the specialist level - and even then only the private sector is really rewarding. As I mentioned, getting there requires more learning and exams while you are working and can take up to eight years after you graduate. So a meticulous nature, dedication to your patients and a strong work ethic will be needed to see it through.

Where can you work?

Basically, you could work either in a public or private healthcare. Public healthcare entails working the Ministry of Health in one of many nationwide hospitals at different levels. Salary will differ as per your level of experience and further degree.

The other option would be to join either a private hospital or open your own general practice clinic upon completing compulsory service. Financial rewards tend to be more lucrative in the private sector, although the Malaysian market is becoming more saturated. With a medical degree, should you choose not to practice clinically, you could also work for big pharmaceutical companies in fields of administration, ethics and pharmaceutical liaison positions.