Plymouth Surgeon Meets Freedom Leader
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A Plymouth-based consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon was chosen to present one of the world’s most celebrated figureheads of democratic freedom with a rare and exalted award from Britain’s oldest surgical Royal College.
Dr. Judy Evans is a Council member for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (www.rcsed.ac.uk), which early last year opened its first-ever centre of operations in Birmingham to cater for the 80% of its UK membership based in England and Wales. Dr. Evans, who works out of Plymouth’s Nuffield hospital, enjoyed the unique honour of presenting an Honorary Fellowship from the College to Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in her home country of Myanmar.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is leader of Myanmar’s main opposition party, and was held as a political prisoner for 15 years. She is one of the world’s leading proponents of democratic freedom, and in 2014 was named by Forbes as being the 61st most powerful woman in the world. Her work within the Burmese healthcare sector focuses on supporting the reinvigoration of the healthcare system, and establishing a centre of surgical excellence in the redeveloped Rangoon General Hospital.
Dr. Judy Evans travelled to Myanmar with other representatives from the College last month to present the Fellowship to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during a ceremony where she was gowned and sworn in. Dr. Evans, who is also a College Examiner and was the UK’S first-ever female to gain the plastic surgery specialist qualification (FRCS (Plast)), says:
“The award of our highest honour is only very exceptionally given to non-surgeons. Our reason for awarding Fellowship is because of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s contribution to healthcare for the people of her country. We know that Nobel Prize money and many other donations she has received over the years have been used to fund healthcare projects and everyday improvements for the people of Myanmar. We are also aware that her personal energy is now leading others in such projects as the regeneration of Rangoon General Hospital, and the establishment of an international standard centre of excellence for both medicine and surgery. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s efforts are in complete harmony with the continuing commitment of our College to support excellence in surgical training and assessment in Myanmar and beyond.”
RCSEd President Mr. Ian Ritchie, a consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, comments;
“It was a great privilege to award an Honorary Fellowship to such a distinguished recipient, whose standing as a globally recognised figurehead for freedom and democracy is unparalleled. In discussion after the ceremony we spoke of the struggle for change in politics and in many other areas of life. We agreed that one of the greatest challenges is changing culture and mindset, which is a slow process with no fixed timetable. Aung San Suu Kyi spoke of the poverty in the country and how the people of Myanmar deserve to be more prosperous.”
On receiving the award, Daw Suu commented that this was the first time she had received a Fellowship in her office in the Myanmar capital of Naypyidaw, and she thanked the delegation for travelling a long way to meet with her.
During an informal meeting afterward, Daw Suu called upon the RCSEd and the country’s other friends in the international medical community to support the reinvigoration of a health system which has suffered from many decades of under investment. She expressed her hope that the College would return to provide its expertise to the doctors who will care for future generations in Myanmar.
Dr. Evans concludes;
“Presenting the Fellowship made for an amazing day; it was a culmination of four years of trying to get two organisations together, and was truly an incredible moment. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s commitment to excellence in healthcare runs seamlessly alongside our own, and for this reason we are delighted to have had this privilege.”
The College has over 200 Fellows and Members in Myanmar and visits the country annually to holds exams and training events.[macroErrorLoadingPartialView]
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