Meet AHIBS’ current student, Dr. John Primus, a 37-year old talented and self-driven medical director who is now on his third Master’s degree at AHIBS. Dr. Primus has been in the public healthcare field for the last 10 years and currently serves as the Director of Hospital Kota Belud. He has earlier worked as a medical officer at the Emergency and Trauma Department, Hospital Wanita Kanak-Kanak Likas before moving to the Sabah State Health Department.
Dr. Primus holds a Master in Hospital Administration from the University of The Philippines, and a Master of Public Health (Universiti Malaysia Sabah). These two Master’s programmes are the traditional must-haves for a respectable career in hospital administration. He is now pursuing MBA (specialising in Healthcare Management) at AHIBS through the online-distance learning mode.
So we asked him – why still need an MBA, and specifically AHIBS MBA? Dr. Primus reminisced his encounter with an AHIBS alumnus, Dr. Paul Chan, who was the Deputy Director of Hospital Duchess of Kent, Sandakan back in 2013. He recalled that Dr. Chan was exceptionally competent in presenting himself with innovative ideas, project management skills, managing human resources, strategic thinking, and business communication. He later discovered that Dr. Chan has AHIBS MBA.
Dr. Primus believes that MBA is important to inject business perspectives into healthcare management, something that clinical background cannot provide. With MBA, administrators can better understand and leverage the relationships among healthcare stakeholders to turn them into a financially and socially-responsible ecosystem. The knowledge and skills gained from an MBA programme are valuable that will set doctors with MBA above the typical hospital administrators. Once completed his MBA, Dr. Primus will be the first and youngest person in healthcare services to have triple-feat Master’s degrees essential in healthcare administration.
Assuming the hospital director position has been a steep learning curve. Kota Belud Hospital has 172 beds and 458 staff. The pandemic has further built his leadership and resilience. Dr. Primus also manages the largest Quarantine Centre for Low Risk of Covid-19 patients in Sabah, with a capacity of 600 houses / 3200 beds (i.e. Pusat Kuarantin dan Rawatan Covid-19 Ulu Pirasan, Kota Belud). These challenges have been made easier with the exposure he received from his Master’s programmes including the MBA.
Dr. Primus seems unstoppable when it comes to professional development. He aims to lead a major specialist hospital in Sabah, which is another challenging and different ball game within the public healthcare management. He also plans to undertake a Master of Medical Law and Ethics as he foresees an increasing significance of the medicolegal area in the healthcare industry. Effective healthcare management is one of the most challenging and rapidly changing industries. Dr. John is making sure he is well-prepared to face this new dawn.