In an interview with Y Magazine, Dr. Amal al Hashmi talks about her journey and advises young women about how to pursue her profession.
Dr Amal al Hashmi, BSc, MD; senior consultant neurologist and head of the Central Stroke Unit in the Ministry of Health, is Oman’s first woman adult neurologist. She is also an associate editor at the international Journal of Psychology and Neuroscience, a member of the Omani Human Rights Commission, and former vice president of the Oman Medical Association. Here she shares her experiences and advises young women about how to pursue her profession.
“At the outset, I would like to thank His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said for declaring October 17 as Omani Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate womanhood, honour Omani women and recognise the status that they have earned in practical and social aspects of society.
Apart from International Women’s Day (March 8), I don’t think there is any country other than Oman in the region that celebrates women’s day on a national level. All of us are proud of this.”
Talking about Omani women opting for neurology and neuro-sciences, Dr Amal says:
“I will say go for it! The subject of neurology is expanding every day and vast research has been conducted on it in the last few years. My advice to our young Omani women is to grab the opportunity the government is offering and serve the nation. That is important.
Neurology is not limited to just the brain but the entire nervous system, including the spine. It’s the most rational field of medicine and I am proud to say that I am the first Omani woman neurologist. It is a challenging field but life without challenges is always going to be boring.
I always dreamed of being a doctor; the field of medicine always inspired me. Even at the age of five, I used to play as a doctor and call my cousins, friends and kids in the neighbourhood to act as patients. But, honestly, I never realised I would reach this stage someday. It’s pure hard work and I should thank my parents and mentors who inspired me throughout my journey.”
Neurology may be a male-dominated profession, but Dr Amal believes that this is changing:
“The journey has been fascinating and I have come a long way. But more women are now choosing neurology, which is otherwise a male bastion. I am proud to say that I set up the first stroke unit in Oman at the Khoula Hospital and now we have just opened two more in Nizwa and Sohar hospitals. We are also going to have one more new stroke unit at Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah. Through these units, my mission is to improve the stroke care provided for patients in Oman to match the standardised and up to date management worldwide. Stroke as you know is the second leading cause of death worldwide and Oman is no different. People need to be englightened and pay more attention.”