As a medical doctor in the Indian Military, selected as the only gynaecologist for a UN mission in Congo, delivering his own child, to coming in to call Griffith home.
Nobody could accuse Dr Roopendra Banerji of leading a boring life.
Born in Northern India near Delhi, Dr Banerji said he was originally drawn to medicine after being quite a sick kid himself.
He knew at the tender age of eight the doctors life was for him.
Specialising in gynaecology and obstetrics based at Griffith Base Hospital, he says the challenge can be making sure healthy patients stay that way.
“Obstetrics is the only area of medicine where you are treating healthy patients,” he explained.
Being able to volunteer my time to help them made me see what we could do for whole communities rather than just on an individual case-by-case basis.Dr Roopendra Banerji
“Your role is to make sure they walk out after the pregnancy equally healthy.”
He received his medical training in India, and worked in the army to the rank of Colonel.
“I gained a lot of experience in this time,” he explained.
“We went to big towns and small villages, different communities with a variety of cases we had to see.”
His work was recognised by the United Nations (UN) who singled him out to be the lone gynaecologist on a mission to Congo for two years in 2008 and 2009 in an “eye-opening adventure.”
“It was there that I felt my focus started to shift. Before, I was very much focused on treating the individual cases.
“In Congo, the health situation is hard, tough and totally lacking. Being able to volunteer my time to help them made me see what we could do for whole communities rather than just on an individual case-by-case basis.”
He and his wife Ratanavali have two daughters, one of which he helped bring into the world himself.
“I wanted him to deliver our child, it was very important to me,” Ratanavali said.
And while he says the experience of creating and then delivering life into the world was a little terrifying, since that momentous experience as a trainee he has never had any hesitation in delivering a child.
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