Ibrahim commenced his fifth year of medicine in 2014. During the academic year of 2012/2013 he was a Bachelor of Medical Sciences with Honours (BMedSc(Hons)) candidate. He was awarded the degree with first class honours.
"As a child growing up in Oman, I fell in love with science and medicine. I remember being so happy when visiting hospitals!"
The quality of foot care in Oman
Ibrahim says "To fulfil my ambition of becoming an academic clinician one day, I took a year off, after third year medicine, to start my journey in academia, particularly a research career in diabetes and diabetes-related disease."
The aim of his research was to explore the quality of diabetic foot care provided by diabetes services in the Sultanate of Oman, a Middle Eastern country located in south eastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.
"To conduct my research, I travelled to Oman where I worked with Dr Nadia Abdulhadi, an expert in Health Systems and Policy, who co-supervised my research along with Dr Kirsten Coppell from EDOR."
This research enabled him to:
- Assess the current state of diabetic foot care in Oman
- Determine the prevalence of diabetes-related foot disease
- Look for factors associated with foot self-care, and
- Explore barriers to foot self-care in diabetes
Ibrahim found that despite the prevalence of diabetes-related foot disease the overall quality of diabetic foot care was sub-optimal. His research found that there is a need for high quality diabetic foot care education for patients to improve their awareness and self-management. The questionnaire he developed for this study may prove to be very useful in the identification of patients with inadequate levels of self-care, education or professional care.
Family experience of diabetes
Diabetes is a common and increasingly important chronic disease. It causes substantial morbidity and mortality. Amputation is one of the major complications of diabetes.
Ibrahim's interest in diabetes started when he was in high school.
"My father is one of the people who are afflicted by this killing disease. Unfortunately, as a consequence of diabetic eye disease, he lost his eyesight. He later developed diabetic neuropathy. The effect of diabetes on my family was tremendous."
He continued his interest in diabetes during his pre-clinical years in medicine.
"I wanted to contribute to humanity by curbing the impact of diabetes and its complications; this research opportunity was the starting point for me."
Learning research skills
Ibrahim says "Being my first ever experience in research, it was hard at the beginning getting to know the basics of conducting clinical research. However, with time things become better. I learned how to conduct basic research, from study design to disseminating research findings. I also learned that patience and being able to work with a group of people are essential skills."
Ibrahim's advice to budding researchers
He advises anyone who is interested in research to take every opportunity and apply for any scholarship you can, and to choose your supervisors wisely.
"My advice to other BMedSc(Hons) or PhD students, is to write as early and as often as possible…Write.Write.Write. Choose the University of Otago for its excellent research and a friendly environment and for being the top-ranked university in research quality in New Zealand."
From Ibra to Dunedin
Ibrahim hails from Ibra, a town located in the Al-Sharqiya (Orient) region of Oman.
"I really enjoyed human biology and chemistry a great deal at school. Physics was not my “cup of tea”, though surprisingly I got good marks in the final exam! My family was very supportive and provided a good environment for me to study in and excel in school."
So he would have the opportunity to study medicine Ibrahim aimed to get the highest marks in the final and very competitive year of high school. His success resulted in being awarded an Omani Government scholarship to study medicine at the University of Otago.
Besides medicine, he enjoys being involved with the Otago University Omani Students' Association, he says "I held the position of Deputy President in 2010-2011. I am very religious when it comes to weekly indoor soccer games; it is a must for me!".
Ibrahim at a graduation ceremony at Dunedin Town Hall.
Sultanate of Oman