The West Indies is best known for its sunny beaches, Calypso, reggae and cricket and also known for a burgeoning tribe of Telugu doctors.
Every year, more than 100 MBBS graduates fly out to Jamaica , Trinidad and Tobago , looking for an onward journey to the US .
Dr K Premnath Reddy is one such. I went to Jamaica on a visitor visa and found a job there. This was after I completed my MBBS from Osmania Medical College .
Reddy works for a private clinic. His dream: To make it to the Land of Opportunities someday.
Unlike many other countries, Jamaica does not ask medical graduates from abroad to write their board examinations to work there. I am paid an equivalent of Rs 60,000 per month. But, if I get to clear the examinations in that country, the pay packet jumps to an equivalent of Rs 2 lakh a month, he says.
Actually, many students land up in these West Indian countries, work there as they prepare for the United States Medical Licencing Examination (USMLE).
But for one like Dr E Goutham Reddy, entry into the United Kingdom was rather simple compared to the US . Britain is recruiting Indian doctors, and many of them. Given a chance I would leave for the US . But getting to study medicine and work in a US university is a tough proposition, he says.
To move to the UK , one has to clear the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam and the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) first part in Chennai.
You take the PLAB second part in the UK . There are no visa restrictions for these examinations. Once these examinations are cleared, a doctor can get a work permit and study to be an MRCP or an FRCS.
Theres more problem. In the US , students must opt for either public health or nutrition.
After completing masters in these subjects for two years, a student must clear three more USMLE examinations.
This, in itself, is a tall ask. But in the Caribbean countries or even in the UK , they have the choice to major in any subject. In the US , it is internal medicine only, nothing else.