Professional ethics is a study of moral values, self regulation, education of self & others-Wasim Jafri

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 CME Conference 2018 at AKU

Professional ethics is a study of moral values, self
regulation, education of self & others-Wasim Jafri

Privatization of medical colleges in Eastern Mediterranean
Countries is a serious challenge-Sameen Siddiqui

DUHS will soon start virtual training programme
for lady doctors-Saeed Qureshi

KARACHI: Professional ethics is a study of moral values as it affects medicine. It calls for self regulation, education of self and others. Medical profession has developed its own standards of behaviour for its members and ethical directives are general in nature developed by medical science. This was stated by Prof.Wasim Jafri Associate Dean and Chair, Dept. of Continuing Professional Education at Aga Khan University. He was speaking on “Medical Ethics and Professionalism” at the AKU CME Conference 2018 held on March 14th 2018.

Ethics Prof. Wasim Jafri further stated is a philosophical discipline. There have been rapid advances in medical science and technology. Ethics is based on values and provides counter weight to other forces. This discipline searches what is right, tries to find what is good. The important principle is First Do No Harm. Healthcare professionals are required to treat all cases alike, ensure fair distribution of resources. About two decades ago we introduced medical ethics at AKU, I, Prof. Rehana Kamal and other colleagues tried to find solution to problems we faced. In the Ethics Committee too no decision is taken until the quiet people have spoken out. We need to have respect for others and we cannot and should not fire those who have different views. It is not only right to do it but it is also wrong not to do it.


Continuing Prof. Wasim Jafri said that medical ethics is closely related to medicine but bioethics is a very broad field which covers all moral values. The first most important thing is identification of problem which should be followed by alternate actions. We are supposed to select one alternative action and then judge these alternatives on ethical grounds. Being just and faithful. Professional specialty organizations have developed manners. As regards professionalism, it means continuous efforts to improve healthcare system in addition to individual efforts. Professionalism is the basis of medicine’s contract with the society. It is extremely important to maintain this trust between the doctors and the society. He then highlighted the importance of honesty, confidentiality, commitment to quality and caring attitude. Professionalism and ethics, he opined, are different. Ethical principles are guide and not laws. He also referred to the American Medical Association Guidelines on medical ethics. He pointed out that in ignorance, education is more important rather than punishment. Professionalism matters to clinicians a lot. Attributes of Healer and Professional are over lapping and it covers many areas including morality, integrity, honesty, accountability, transparency, promotion of public good and above all “Do No Harm”, he concluded.

Dr.Sameen Siddiqui Chair of Community Health Sciences at AKU in his Key Note lecture gave an Overview of medical education in the countries of Eastern Mediterranean Region, Challenges, Priorities and a framework for action. This study was conducted in 2014-2015, the data pertains to 2013 and it is more directed at policy makers rather than clinicians. He pointed out that there are twenty two countries in the EMR which includes six oil rich countries of the Gulf which is Group-I, and then we have some middle income countries which come in Group-II and then countries with very low GDP like Pakistan, Afghanistan etc which are included in Group-III. They studied the system of medical education in these countries at undergraduate level. A total of two hundred ninety seven medical schools were selected for this self administered questionnaire. At that time there were forty six medical schools in Group-1, one hundred nineteen in Group-II and 132 in Group-III. One hundred fifty seven medical schools responded. There were hundred percent responses from ten countries, 20% from every country. Deans responded from 52% of the medical schools while Departmental Chairs responded in 22% of cases. The study looked at curriculum, assessment, intake, output, faculty development, accreditation and registration etc.


Their findings showed that in some countries the number of physicians per thousand populations has increased. The number of medical schools has also increased tremendously. After 2000, many medical schools were established in Gulf countries. The study also showed that more medical schools were established in public sector in Group-I countries while most of the newly established medical schools in Group-III countries was in the private sector. Since it is a self administered questionnaire it could have some bias as well. The study showed that 14% of countries had no accreditation system, 55% had National Boards for Accreditation. Average intake in Group-I medical schools were 150 students and 325 students in Group-III countries. It also showed that more females were graduating in all countries including Pakistan. They have to be provided facilities and environment. It costs a lot to produce a medical graduate and these increased female medical graduates have some implications. We have to think should we go on producing more physicians or look at some other cadres as well. Communication skills, patient safety, leadership development, public health and emergency preparedness were some of the issues which were not adequately addressed in the curriculum development. Patient care, community service is not given much importance for promotion of faculty but they get more credit for research and Publicaitons which get almost 95% importance. As regards CME, nine out of twenty two countries have this; six countries have standards for CME while three countries use it for re-certification.

Dr. Sameen Siddiqui was of the view that privatization of medical schools was a great challenge. Accreditation bodies do not exist in many countries in this region. Deans of these medical schools need more exposure in leadership development. There is serious shortage of faculty in Group-III country medical schools particularly in basic sciences. Group-III countries also have inadequate education resources. He suggested that we need to strengthen regulatory capacity, establish accreditation bodies, medical education units, build capacity of education leaders besides ensuring educational resources in the Eastern Mediterranean countries.

Inaugural Session

Prof. Saeed Qureshi Vice Chancellor of Dow University of Health Sciences was the chief guest on this occasion. Addressing the participants he commended the CME efforts of AKU. He particularly appreciated the efforts of Prof. Wasim Jafri supported by first Prof. Khurshid Ahmad and now Prof.Farhat Abbas and the faculty at the university. He hoped that continuing professional education will not only continue but flourish at the AKU. Continuing Medical Education (CME) he opined was compulsory in developed countries but it did not exist in Pakistan. PM&DC did took some initiative but then it could not be implemented in letter and spirit as the PM&DC itself faced too many problems and eventually got dissolved replaced with a new interim body. CME is no longer compulsory in Pakistan. At DUHS we have put in place a system and we have tried to implement CME. As we see now too many female doctors are graduating, hence we are planning to start a virtual training programme for lady doctors from April this year. When it was advertised, we had tremendous response not only from Pakistan but also from many countries overseas. We hope to start this programme from April 1st so that after training these lady doctors come back to the profession and become a valuable asset to the society, Prof. Saeed Qureshi remarked.


Earlier Prof. Farhat Abbas Dean of Medical College in his speech highlighted the importance of working together and sharing of resources among the different institutions. Prof. Wasim Jafri welcomed the participants to the meeting. Scientific progamme of the conference was spread over numerous sessions in which different topics were covered by various speakers. On second day of the conference March 15th, Workshops were organized on Surgery for stress incontinence, Essentials of Writing a good manuscript, Time Management Skills, Tips for Grant Writing, The revolutionary treatment method for therapeutic support and pain management, Recent Updates in Bladder Cancer, Reporting Adverse Drug Reactions, Total Parenteral Nutrition, Risk management, Hands on Urodynamic, Understanding Endnote for Reference Citation;, Bridge-objectives-Pre-test-Participatory Learning Post-test-Summary, How to deal with emergencies that walk in your clinic, Using Mixed Methodology in Clinical Sciences, Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs and Anticoagulants.

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