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 Health Professions Education
Conference at KMU

Thank you very much for coming over and reporting all the relevant details accurately.

Jazak Allah and hats off to your services for improving medical education. I have shared the link at various other relevant forums.

Dr. Ahsan Sethi
IHPE&R, KMU,
Peshawar - Pakistan.
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University of Health
Sciences, Lahore

I read your column “Off the Record” in the Pulse International about the University of Health Sciences and it was only in March 2018 in Abu Dhabi at a conference that we were discussing UHS when someone asked how is the new VC of UHS and response came “ He is same as he was at KE. Wahan Baira gharaq kiya ab yahan kar rahe hain.”

Dr. Zarrin Siddiqui
Australia.


Strategic Plan for 
Control of Hepatitis-C

This refers to your column on “Strategic Plan for Control of Hepatitis- C” in Pulse International under “Off the Record” column of January 1, 2018. It was intriguing to note that Prof. Wasim Jafari while speaking in the PSSLD conference on “Hepatitis-C elimination-Myth or a Reality” commented on the reported “Strategic Plan”- for control of Hepatitis C” prepared by the Govt. of Pakistan. He then hastened to add that they do not know anything about it while the later speaker Dr. Huma Qureshi remarked that the Agha Khan University was on board while they prepared the plan. You have rightly pointed out that there are missing links between the planners in the Federal Government and the Provincial Governments and the professionals.

In fact the evidence reveals that the people of Pakistan even the doctors, the primary care physicians who form the back-bone of the health-care system, and the specialists involved in the secondary and tertiary care have no idea about the plan. It is only in the Federal Government   and the Punjab Governments files. It is all rhetoric, nothing in deeds, as is usual in Pakistan. Professor Wasim is right in saying that the plan is “Myth-not reality”. The modus-operandi of the Federal government is to gather a few officials and a few patronized professionals -hold a meeting, publish a brief note in the press and that is all. This has also been done on the important subject of bacterial drug resistance which is spreading like a wild- fire and threatening the future of the Nation’s Health Mean-while the WHO expert committee on drugs has issued instructions for the prevention. However, there is no move on implementation in Pakistan. In fact Health-care is not in the Governments priorities.

The Government appears to have other priorities i.e. providing transport facilities like Metro, Orange Line, and building under-passes and over-passes etc. Even with regard to the Health-care, prevention of diseases and “Promotion of health” has no place. Although it is a well- known that the “Prevention is not only better than the cure”- in fact the only cure and real cure. The countries of the world both well- developed progressive ones and the low/ middle income undeveloped ones have solved the problems through preventive measures. The fact is that Pakistan has the highest numbers of hepatitis C patients- next to Egypt. If an effective prevention is not done, the new cases added will make it a zero- sum game. Even in this region Bangladesh (former East Pakistan) who was far behind the former West Pakistan (now Pakistan) has gone far ahead in all health parameters. In population control Bangladesh in addition to all measures trained women on family planning who visited house-hold women brought remarkable success. Like-wise,  Indonesia employed trained Prayer-leaders in the successful campaign. The Government of Iran made it compulsory for all the marrying couples to qualify a course on “Family-Planning” for achieving success.

You have rightly pointed out that there are missing links between the planners in the Federal Government, the provincial Governments and the professionals. There is no co-ordination. The Punjab government has established a web-site containing cursory and sparse information in the English language, of no practical value.

I have my own personal experience. Once I read in the news-paper that the “Federal Government’s Ministry of Health Coordination” has established a cell for the “Prevention of non-communicable diseases”. As I have a deep interest in the ‘Preventive Medicine’ having practiced in the Armed Forces also taught under-graduates and post-graduates in this discipline, I wrote a letter to the Ministry and also sent my published papers on this subject but without any reply. On the other hand, I wrote to the Bangladesh Government, a long ago, about their preventive program of hepatitis B and C and I received a prompt reply and also information about the medicines available and their cost. Not only all the recommended medicines were available there but at a much lower cost-the poor getting free of cost. Sri- Lanka in this region is having Universal Health- Care and - free education- the same for everyone.

For the elimination of Hepatitis-C a massive awareness campaign should be carried out through the print media particularly the Urdu one also through radio and digital media Syllabic/ curriculum from the primary to the Higher education level should be used to educate the students. Regular updates in the execution of plan, progress, and problems etc.  be given. Where there is a will -there is a way. Political will, determination and commitment is the key to success- which is not there amongst our rulers.

It is good that the Supreme Court has taken Suo-moto notice of the woes of common Pakistanis and taken the burden of over-seeing health and education of Pakistan. Pakistan needs to follow the Founders ideals of making Pakistan a democratic social- welfare state and develop Universal health care system which was developed by Brismak in Germany in the 18th century followed by a large number of countries, Quad’s aim was to establish the welfare state for the common people not the state for the elites. Unfortunately, it is now for the elites, by the elites. It is the high time to take turn around for the right direction.

Lt. Gen.(Retd) Prof. Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar,
Rawalpindi - Pakistan.

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