African efforts win Alexander title of top junior doctor

Dr Alexander Finlayson has been honoured for his work
Dr Alexander Finlayson has been honoured for his work
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A CITY doctor and “proud Edinburgher” has won the prestigious title of Junior Doctor of the Year for his work in helping promote health education in Africa.

Dr Alexander Finlayson was presented with the award at a ceremony this week.

It was the third year the category has run at the British Medical Journal Group Improving Health Awards. Previous winners were Dr Daniel Magnus and Dr Evan Wood, who is the lead researcher at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/Aids.

Dr Finlayson won the award for his “varying and impressive” work across clinical medicine, including his most notable achievement, MedicineAfrica.

The programme was initially set up in Somalia and it aims to offer medical students and doctors in the country the chance to receive expert health education, often where there is no obvious career path for them.

“MedicineAfrica is supporting isolated health care workers in low and middle -income countries using NHS workers’ expertise and using their experience to offer the support for people where there is no natural career path in difficult circumstances,” Dr Finlayson said.

The programme has been successful and has now incorporated the African countries Tanzania and Ghana, as well as spreading into Asia in Palestine.

“We are on the cusp of global universal health, almost in a similar position to the NHS in 1947 in the UK,” he said.

On top of the work he does with MedicineAfrica, Dr Finlayson also works with Indox, a charity set up by leading oncologists and scientists to support the advancement of anti-cancer medicines.

He also teaches at college and is Chairman of the Oxford Deanery Trainees Committee, just to name a few of his achievements.

He remained humble upon receiving the award and wanted to extend his gratitude towards everyone who helped him win the coveted accolade.

“To receive the award I was obviously very pleased, but a lot of it is down to my colleagues, who have become friends and their hard work,” he said. “Also my colleagues in Somalia who work in horrible conditions and face difficult challenges.”

Dr Finlayson attended Edinburgh Academy, which kept supporting him as he furthered his studies at Newcastle University Medical School, Harvard University, King’s College and Oxford University and has helped fund his various charitable projects.

“I would also like to thank the Edinburgh Academy for being very supportive of me, they gave me a supportive grant for my projects,” he said.

Dr Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief of the BMJ said: “Junior doctors are tested every day for their commitment to the profession and are constantly striving to acquire those skills which will place them alongside their more senior colleagues.

“Alexander is one of the most outstanding of these young people and we are delighted to celebrate that tonight.”