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Medical Education in Pakistan

I have read with great interest the article of Professor Mahmud A. Akhtar entitled “Medical Education in Pakistan” appearing in issue of Pulse International August  15- 30, 2016. Professor Mahmud Akhtar, giving a beautiful account of the status of Medical Education has rightly analyzed the serious shortcomings currently defaming this noble Profession. While giving the strengths of this profession, one of the major factors for degrading the profession, according to him is the mass scale corruption and lust for money making through unethical practices at the cost of health of poor patients. The result being that the health indicators upon which depends the performance of a Nation are amongst the lowest in Pakistan as compared with even the South Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan etc.

Professor Akhtar has covered all the aspects of Medical Education which include amongst others, the sub-standard colleges turning out Doctors with sub-standard qualification, unethical commercial activity, teachers lacking teaching skills and administrative capabilities, lack of background and interest in research and quality education.

Giving the fundamentals of teaching profession, he has emphasized the need of commitment, devotion, dedication, honesty, trustworthiness and loyalty. A teacher must be a lifelong learner and has to be a role model. In his guidelines on clinical practice and care of patients, he has advocated the use of natural lifestyle therapies, simple, cost effective, quality and time tested essential medicines recommended by WHO. In my opinion these valuable guidelines and practical suggestions contained in this article should be made a part of MBBS syllabus under the heading “Ethics of Medical Education”. In fact these qualities and standards of teachers are not only applicable on Medical Education but all Applied Sciences.

His suggestions/guidelines can only bring about positive results if implemented in letter and spirit. Billions of rupees collected and spent on Research out of Research Fund levied on Pharma Industry legally and other resources have not benefited the society or the patients in any way.

If only the medical students should remember the Hippocratic Oath taken by them at the time of graduation under which they are committed legally, morally and religiously to look after the best interest of the patients in all settings, the medical profession may bring revolutionary changes in the improvement of health care system in Pakistan.

Dr. Inam ul Haq
Islamabad, Pakistan.

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