A Tongan general practitioner in Darwin was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to medicine through a range of roles.
78 year-old Dr Albert Tonga has been looking after the health of Territorians from the Red Centre to Top End for more than 35 years and He has no plans to stop any time soon, North Territory News reported.
He has been honoured as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Dr Tonga who was born in Tonga and raised in New Zealand moved to the NT after a five year stint in New Castle to work in his true field of interest – rural medicine.
He started in Alice Springs where he spent nine years working at the hospital – first as a medical officer, then as director of medical services and with the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
He then moved to Tenant Creek, where he set up his own GP practice and assisted at the hospital and aged-care facilities.
He worked in the town for a total of 14 years.
“I was the only GP for thousands of square kilometres “, he reportedly said.
“That’s a big task for any one little fella.”
In 2006 Dr Tonga moved to Darwin where he worked as GP at the Woods Street Surgery and Casuarina Night and Day Surgery, an examiner with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and a visiting medical officer at several Darwin City Medical Practice which set up in 2008.
Dr Tonga said he felt very privileged for his work to be recognised with an OAM.
I feel very honoured and blessed,” he said.
I think it’s a marvelous journey I’ve been on through many decades and a lot of people will not ever get to experience that.
“To me, it should be an encouragement to the graduates in the medical profession to think about working rural.