NEWLY appointed president of the Trinidad Tobago Medical Association (TTMA) Dr Damion Basdeo, 29, doesn’t want to take a unidirectional approach to medicine.
In his one year tenure, he hopes to have a multifaceted focus on transforming the association into a more efficient, member-public-oriented organisation.
He is an internal medicine registrar at the Sangre Grande Hospital and chairperson of the Healthiest World Initiative –a programme that aims to promote healthier mindset, bodies and environments.
Under his guidance, the association will continue to do more to achieve its four pillars of growth – a focus on communicable diseases, mental health, climate change and health, and boost blood donation efforts.
Basdeo hopes to work closely with past presidents and inspire young professionals to transform the medical industry in TT.
In a Sunday Newsday interview, he said, “Over this year the TT Medical Association will try to treat the members and work towards targeting patients holistically, to not only treat physical symptoms, but also get an idea of what they experience internally, psychologically and mentally.”
He finished his acute medicine speciality exam in 2017 and is completing his membership with the Royal College of Physicians in England.
Over the next 12 years, Basdeo will launch a number of public outreach programmes and promote continuous medical education among members.
“What we plan to do, and we have already started, is develop educational videos and educational pamphlets or by a soft copy.
“The outreach will also be aimed at targeting the non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancers as well as specialty screening of cancers.
“We'll try to get our patients to voice their experience, in that we get an holistic idea of what the patient is going through not only physical symptoms, but also the psychological and mental impact of the illness.”
Special focus will be placed on helping the Ministry of Health’s blood-drive programme to close the blood availability gap at the National Blood Transfusion Service.
“The whole idea is to integrate the different specialities, the different healthcare professionals as well, for example, nurses, doctors EMTs. So this year, we aim to work as a team with other NGOs, not in isolation.
“There is also the health of the healthcare professionals themselves, this is very important. With regards to the mental illness, going out, and even a reflection series, could target a healthcare professional or healthcare professional and allow them to give their own experience dealing with the pandemic.”
“They should not only focus on the patients, they need to also focus on themselves as well. So their own mental health, physical health wellbeing is important.”
Basdeo said he has a soft spot of mental health. It is actually the reason he explored a career in medicine.
His father developed Alzheimer’s disease when he was a teenager. Basdeo, who is from Gasparillo, said it’s been a difficult journey for him and his three si