Compelling news from the refugee and migrant sector
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Refugee realises dream of resuming medical career

3 June 20200 comments

Iraqi refugee Dina Afreem has joined Victoria’s health service working as a doctor as the state battles the COVID-19 crisis.

She recently had her medical registration approved by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and she has begun work as a doctor at Ballarat Base Hospital

As refugees from Iraq, Dina and her husband and child arrived in Australia in October 2018. They fled their home in northern Iraq in 2014 when their village was overrun by brutal militant group ISIS.

The family spent almost two-and-a-half years as exiles in Jordan. 

Since arriving in Melbourne, Dina has been working to have her medical qualifications recognised.

“It was a little difficult with a number of exams to pass. At times I was struggling and getting a little depressed when it all seemed too hard,” Dina said.

“But with the help of my family and friends and support from AMES Australia, I was able to pass all the exams,” she said.

Dina said her involvement in migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia’s Career Pathways Pilot (CPP), was instrumental in her being able to achieve her dream of resuming her career as a doctor.

She said AMES counsellors helped her though every step of having her qualifications recognise.

“They helped me through the exam process and guided me through the steps I needed to take to achieve my goals. AMES also helped me with some of the costs of sitting the exams. I’m really grateful,” Dina said.

Although Ballarat has no reported cases of COVID-19, Dina and her colleagues are preparing for possible cases.

“If we have any suspected cases, we move patients to a special area and we are all using personal protection equipment,” Dina said.

She said that her life was now back on track.

“I am in a happy place now. I’m where I have wanted to be for a long time. After more than four years I’m working as a doctor again,” Dina said.