A male version to the male version: male medical care.
It’s a reality in a nation where nearly 80% of the population is male, and in a country where, as in Australia, the only other major national institution for men is a private hospital.
The problem is that even though the male population is almost evenly divided between men and women, the male ward is often the one that is seen as being more male-dominated.
The medical school has only one male member on the faculty, and it’s the only male-only medical school in the country.
And when it comes to male medicine, it’s not only men who are at risk.
The government has invested millions of dollars in male wards and other facilities in the past decade, but despite the government’s attempts to diversify its workforce, there is little change.
“It’s like an open sewer,” says Dr. Hovhannes Roussa, head of medical education at the University of Malaya, a government-owned medical school.
“In the past it was like, you can’t say anything about it and that’s what’s been the problem.”
Male wards have often been perceived as less gender-sensitive than female wards, and some doctors say they don’t feel as comfortable talking about their own ward because of this perception.
They fear that, while male wards are more male, their work is perceived as “too female-friendly.”
The situation has become so entrenched that a recently appointed female dean of medicine at the university, Dr. Renea Almeida, says the male student who took up her job as dean, had to resign because of his gender.
The issue has also created an uncomfortable space for women, who have had to explain to their colleagues that they were a woman and the way they treated male patients was more gender-neutral.
“It’s very difficult to tell people, no, this is not a male patient, this does not fit into the male-female model, this doesn’t fit into what male doctors are supposed to do, and I don’t understand why they have to be told this,” says Roussamas Roussia, a female physician who recently graduated from the medical school and is now an adjunct professor at the department of medicine and health promotion at the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Public Health, University of Singapore.
Roussa is not alone in her fear.
Dr. Michael Eun-sik, a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Singapore, says there is an “overrepresentation of males” in the ranks of the medical profession, and a “fear that if we have male doctors then it will be perceived that we are not being fair”.
In a survey conducted by the Singapore Health Professions Council, a professional association for physicians, over 80% said that they felt less safe in the male hospital ward, and that a lack of diversity in the medical workforce was one of the reasons why.
But even though male doctors make up a majority of the country’s doctors, their presence is rarely acknowledged.
This may be due to a number of reasons.
First, in most cases, it is difficult to find a male doctor who is willing to do his job in the female ward, even if he does know his patients and his gender identity.
The lack of a male presence in the hospital may also be due partly to the fact that doctors tend to be less inclined to work in a male environment.
But it’s also the result of an entrenched bias against female doctors.
“A lot of female doctors are scared of being called male, because they don’ think it will hurt their career,” says Almeidas.
The fear of being “outed” is part of the reason that many male doctors do not even consider themselves to be male.
Even though there is a significant gender gap in the number of male doctors, there are also a number female doctors who work in the industry, and who are not afraid to speak out.
“I feel like my gender is more important than my job, even though my job is male-oriented,” says one female doctor.
“As a female doctor, it feels like I’m not a man.”
A lack of female physicians in the field may also have an effect on male patients.
While it’s true that a lot of male patients will have a female companion when they seek care, male patients in the same situation will be more likely to seek help from a female colleague.
“The reason we see this is because it is more difficult to identify female colleagues than male colleagues, and if they are female, they might not be able to access female colleagues,” says Kyoung-joon Kim, an assistant professor of medical ethics at the Medical University of South Carolina.
There are also signs that male patients may feel more comfortable talking to female colleagues.
In a survey of male surgeons in South Korea, only 3% of them said they would talk to a female colleagues