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Young Malaysian pharmacist wins 2019 SEA pharmacy award

Rachel Soon
Medical Writer
03 Mar 2020
Manvikram (front row, 2nd from right) positioned as the subaltern officer for a Royal Medical and Dental Corps parade. (Photo credit: Berita Tentera Darat Malaysia)

Military pharmacist Captain Manvikram Singh Gill has become the first medical officer in the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) to be honoured with a Southeast Asian award for pharmacy professionals.

The ‘Pharmacy Professional of the Year 2019’ award, organized by pharmacist social network SwipeRx, was presented to the 28-year-old Manvikram in recognition of his contributions to pharmacy practice in Malaysia.

“I am proud of the award which helped put the Armed Forces and the country on a pedestal,” said Manvikram. “It will motivate me and my fellow colleagues to aim higher in our service.” [New Straits Times.  28-year-old military pharmacist first recipient of top award in SEA. Available at: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/02/566401/28-year-old-military-pharmacist-first-recipient-top-award-sea]

Currently in practice at Tuanku Mizan Armed Forces Hospital (also known as Hospital Angkatan Tentera or HAT), and doing a part-time Masters in clinical pharmacy, Manvikram has been in MAF service since 2015 and was among the first group of pharmacists to be trained in an MAF institution before being commissioned into the Royal Medical and Dental Corps (RMDC).

Manvikram’s notable accomplishments include implementing a strategic plan devised by Brigadier General Dato’ Dr A Halim Basari, Malaysia’s first military pharmacist and current pharmacy director at the Health Services Division of the Ministry of Defense, to establish, develop, and expand the Malaysian military pharmacy profession.

Manvikram also spearheaded medical logistics for Ops Starlight-1, an RMDC humanitarian operation to establish a field hospital for Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

For his success, Manvikram credited Halim for his mentorship and encouragement to undertake leadership roles.

In an interview with MIMS Pharmacist, he also took the opportunity to thank Lieutenant General Dato’ Pahlawan Dr Md Amin Muslan, MAF Health Services Division Director-General and HAT commanding officer; Brigadier General Dato’ Dr Mohammad Amiruddin Hamdan, HAT orthopaedic surgeon; and fellow members of the RMDC.

“The 53-year-old [RMDC] is an integral part of my life. The corps’ motto is Khidmat Diutamakan (Service Above All); I firmly believe in applying it in my daily practice,” said Manvikram. “I would also have to credit fellow pharmacists in Malaysia for their continuous guidance and support. The esprit de corps among pharmacists in Malaysia is extraordinary.”

Manvikram noted that there were at present only a handful of military pharmacists in Malaysia, and described the profession as a challenging one, as it involved ensuring military readiness and maintaining fighting strength for the MAF.

On being asked about lessons learned and encouragement for other aspiring young pharmacists, Manvikram emphasized the importance of leadership by example, an attitude of persistence, continuous learning, as well as taking a long-term strategic view towards pharmacy practice.

“[Halim] has always advised junior officers to ‘boldly go where no one has gone before’. This phrase has always been a big part of my life,” said Manvikram, “It has helped to uplift me during the most crucial hours that I faced. I now believe that nothing is impossible with grit, determination and effort.”

Ed: For more on Manvikram and the RMDC’s work with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, see our Feature article in MIMS Pharmacist’s December 2018 issue. The article is also available online at https://specialty.mims.com/topic/refuge-for-the-refugees-manvikram-singh-gill.

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