He fled his country's dictatorship for a better life and now Dr Myint Soe is fighting to provide a better life for the people of the small North Queensland town of Collinsville.
The inspirational doctor shared his story at the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland annual conference in Gladstone on Saturday in the hope it would inspire students and junior doctors in the audience to answer the call of the bush.
Dr Soe, who has been servicing the town for 18 years, said it was at Collinsville Hospital where he cut his teeth.
"There, I also learned how to survive in a real hospital from Dr David Rowe, then director of medical services in the hospital," Dr Soe said.
"I like to work that type of job, which has some duties and challenges."
Collinsville has a population of about 2000 with two mines and 400 mineworkers, and Dr Soe is often the town's only doctor, working between the hospital, nursing home and GP clinic, where the current wait time is 15 days.
"It's a busy job. Not only clinical, not only hospital, not only GP - all health related issues come to us, day and night," he said.
"We take on-call one in two and take alternate weekends off, but sometimes I work alone because no MRP (most responsible practitioner) is available. They can post [a job vacancy] for an MRP for sometimes three to four years."
Dr Soe said while the job was tough, he encouraged the younger generation to take on the challenge, and also urged those in power to do more to address the state's rural staffing crisis.
"Working in remote and rural areas is quite difficult sometimes and we need some support, especially from HR and the government, and some policy reform."
When Dr Soe graduated with his medical degree in 1982, Burma - now Myanmar - was under the totalitarian military rule of the Burma Socialist Programme Party.
His prospects limited, he left five years later to England and stayed with friends.
After some clinical attachments in various disciplines at a London hospital, he got a job in South Africa.
There he worked in various disciplines, including rural hospitals and provincial hospitals as principal medical officer, senior medical officer, and medical superintendent.
After 10 years in South Africa, he moved to Australia in 2003, starting in the Redcliffe Hospital emergency department as a behavioural health officer.
"I learned a lot from ED consultants and other staff, especially in the Australian health system, for clinical approach and patient communication - especially from my ED consultant Dr Blake Preston," he said.
He moved to Collinsville in 2004, where he completed his Australian Medical Council and Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners exam.
Dr Soe also aims to inspire his three children, with one in pharmacy, one a final year medical student at James Cook University, and one completing a masters in architecture at the University of Queensland.
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