Get To Know The World’s Top Medical Experts

Fighting Coronavirus: the world's top doctors who deserve recognition during this pandemic.
Monday 18 May 2020
Malaysia's Director General of Health Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham has won many over with his calm demeanour, fronting press conferences and presenting information with facts and figures. Photo: AFP

They are recognised by many, and recently named by CGTN as the top three medical experts fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anthony Fauci

He’s a familiar face behind the White House podium, giving his addresses next to President Trump and laying down the facts for the American public and the rest of the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s unafraid of telling it as it is, his latest opinion opposing Trump’s  that schools shouldn’t not reopen for fear of a COVID-19 outbreak that can’t be controlled, and he stands his ground as much as he can. 

Fauci’s resume reads like a who’s who of the medical world – he is US director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and in over 30 years of his career, he has handled infectious diseases such as HIV, SARS, MERS, Ebola. An article in The New Yorker states that In 1984, he became head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases when AIDS was a crisis then and has since been an advisor to six American presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues. The 79-year-old was also one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world.

Not only has Fauci established himself in the fight against the current pandemic, he has also spoken at major talks around the world and received numerous prestigious awards such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest honor given to a civilian by the President of the United States), the National Medal of Science, the George M. Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, the Robert Koch Gold Medal, the Prince Mahidol Award, and the Canada Gairdner Global Health Award. On top of that, he also has received 45 honorary doctoral degrees from universities in the US and abroad.

Working long hours but says his health is due to daily exercise, Fauci has his plate overflowing further since he is a member of several medical and science academies in the US, serves on the editorial boards of many scientific journals and is an editor of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 

At most recent, the US has 1.52 million reported cases with 281,000 recoveries and 89,932 deaths.

 

Datuk Seri Dr. Noor Hisham bin Abdullah 

Bring up Health Director General Dr. Noor Hisham’s name in a conversation with a Malaysian and you’re likely to hear them singing praises of the soft-spoken but firm figure who has been a familiar face at daily press conference updates since the first few COVID-19 cases were discovered in the country. Fluent in both English and Bahasa Malaysia, Dr. Hisham has been a face that the public trusts, thanks to his factual updates and ability to answer questions thrown at him in a calm manner. 

CGTN recently brought to attention the work of Dr. Hisham, Fauci and New Zealand’s Anthony Bloomfield in the face of the pandemic, stating that that Dr. Hisham’s “low-key image and unassuming air” contributes to his appeal. It doesn’t hurt that he seems to portray the image of someone who is in control of the situation when other countries seem to be over their heads in dealing with the current crisis. Being someone who has stood by the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and with numbers of new cases decreasing and recovery rates increasing, it’s no wonder that the 57-year-old is someone who is lauded with much respect in the country. 

According to dndi.org where he is a board member, Dr Hisham has been the Director General of Health since March 2013 and Deputy Director-General since Feb 2008. A highly-trained surgeon and administrator, he holds a Masters in Surgery and Medical doctorate degree from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and specialised in endocrine surgery, doing his training in various universities in Adelaide and Sydney Australia. Currently, he is also the president of the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC), the head and senior consultant breast and endocrine surgeon in Putrajaya Hospital, and has published works in local and international medical journals and written several textbook chapters in endocrine surgery.

Dr Hisham has received several honourary awards during his service to the country including Officer of the Order of the Defender of the Realm (Kesatria Mangku Negara) in 2004 and Commander of the Order of Meritorious Service (Panglima Jasa Negara) in 2007, which carries the ‘Datuk’ titleship and is limited to only 300 living recipients at a time.

To date, there have been 6,894 reported cases with 113 deaths and 5,571 recoveries.

 

Ashley Bloomfield

New Zealand’s Director-General of Health offered the country’s citizens a beacon of hope while they went through their version of a lockdown from 23 March. Just like Fauci and Dr. Hisham, Bloomfield has been fronting press conferences with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to deliver the statistics of the day in his calm and assured manner, causing New Zealand citizens to fall over themselves. When he finally had a day off after all his hard work several news portals picked up the story. New Zealand Herald wrote, “Two weeks into alert level 4 lockdown, there is a petition calling for him to be the 2021 New Zealander of the Year, fan Twitter accounts tweeting Bloomfield memes and fans who have dubbed themselves “Bloomers”.”

Says The Guardian, “Quietly spoken and always impeccably prepared, Bloomfield has impressed with his depth of knowledge and quick recall of statistics and unflappable demeanour.”

Bloomfield worked a few years for the National Screening Unit and was made Chief Advisor Public Health in 2005, leading the country’s Tobacco Control programme. In 2011, he spent a year in Geneva for the World Health Organisation and returned to the country to take on the role of acting deputy director-general at the health ministry. He then left to become the senior executive managing population health across Hutt Valley, Capital and Coast and Wairarapa district health boards. 

His popularity soared when Health Minister David Clark returned to his home city of Dunedin when the lockdown was announced, rather than remaining in parliament at the time. Choosing to carry out his duties remotely, Bloomfield was thrust into the spotlight, tasked with daily coronavirus updates. A few weeks later, it was revealed that Clark had breached lockdown rules when he drove 20km to go for a walk and he resigned from his post, but was demoted and stripped from his Associate Finance Minister portfolio. The incident outraged many and made Bloomfield the de facto Health Minister to the public, with his press conferences cheekily called The Ashley Bloomfield Show. 

Most recently, New Zealand has announced an ease on the lockdown, with 75% of the community going back to work since mid-May. According to John Hopkins University, there have so far been 19 deaths and 1,472 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases. Of those numbers, 1,214 of 82% of confirmed and probably cases have recovered. 

 

Source: Al Jazeera, The New Yorker, New Zealand Herald, The Star, The Guardian