Doctors should make treatment of diseases cost effective & affordable for the common man-Prof. S.M.Rab

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8th SAARC ENT Conference

Doctors should make treatment of diseases cost effective
& affordable for the common man-Prof. S.M.Rab

Healthcare professionals consist of two categories,
dedicated doctors, business men and women

Standard of General Practice has deteriorated and Passion to create
a generation of competent doctors who will look after us is not there

KARACHI: Prof. S.M. Rab an eminent physician and former President of College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan has called upon the healthcare professionals to make treatment of diseases cost effective and affordable for the common man. Inaugurating the 8th SAARC ENT conference held here from December 19-21st 2013, Prof. Rab further stated that healthcare professionals at present consist of two categories, the dedicated doctors and businessmen and women who have been infected with the materialistic virus. Quality of general practice, he opined has deteriorated and the passion to create a generation of competent doctors who will treat us is not there.
Recalling his student days in medical college, Prof.Rab said that we had no teaches for three months and used to live in a hut. However, the situation has now improved. Advances in medicine are enviable and we are making it more and more expensive. We must bow our head in gratitude to God Almighty but we must share it all with those who have no money in the cities and the poor villagers. Those who get educated get rich and become notorious who are not seen by the villagers who have not benefitted from their knowledge. These educated people have not seen the faces of the villagers. All those who were able to get advanced training must look after the poor as charity must begin from home.
The standard of General Practice, Prof.Rab opined has deteriorated. Is it because of teachers, the learner or the environment, he asked? We need a primary care physician who is knowledgeable and competent to treat the patient as a whole. He or she knows his limits and does not hesitate to refer the patient to someone who is better qualified and experienced than them. We have many ghost Basic Health Units and BHUs without any doctors or paramedics. Is it the sin of these poor villagers, he asked? Why we cannot improve our villages. The educated do not go back to the villages hence it is important that we must improve these places.
In the past Prof. Rab said practice of medicine was very easy as we had different kinds of mixtures for different disorders. In the 40s, Penicillin era started which was followed by discovery and availability of other antimicrobial agents, sophisticated instruments and equipment was added to the practice of medicine including stents, catheters and so on. But we have failed and passion to create a generation of competent doctors who will look after all of us is not visible. Can we say that we will be able to find the best doctor at night if need be? If you go to the hospital, will we find some competent doctor there or will a senior doctor listen to our phone call at night? Mobile phone has any advantages but it was also a great barrier to learning. By making intelligent use of the video technology, we can improve medical education. Medicine used to be the No.1 profession but now other vocations like information technology, MBA have taken lead. Almost eight out out of ten medical admissions are of girls and they have some other responsibilities too. To produce a family it takes ten to twelve years and by that time it is too late. Then there are the drop outs from the practice for various reasons. Added to this is the lop sided admissions. We see total resignation of health and education by politicians and health planners because when they need something, they get it on a Golden Plate. Prof.Rab recalled that late President General Ayub Khan and General Ziaul Haque were the only two VIPs who got treatment within the country. Politicians and bureaucrats have rejected the health facilities they have themselves created in their own country by seeking medical treatment abroad. Why this disparity as God created us all alike, Prof. Rab remarked. Why do not they get admitted in these public hospitals and get treated? There are contradictions in the society. Why medical college affiliated hospitals are not properly developed. At night why some of these hospitals are closed? He made a passionate plea to his colleagues in the medical profession to leave a successor generation before they leave. At our time, the class size used to be very small. We used to have good teaching which is no more there. There are occasions when the students have not seen the face of their professor for long?
We no more see Rheumatic Fever because infected tonsils are treated. We must know each other and make it possible to be human. We need men and women who make it possible that the benefits of advances in medicine as well as technology also reach the poor who have not yet benefitted from all this. Unless we do that health of the country will remain poor and the poor will remain poor. May God help us all, Prof. Rab concluded.
Earlier Prof.Tariq Rafi chairman of the organizing committee welcomed the guests from SAARC countries and Pakistan. He highlighted the fact that we have a similar genetic make up, similar pattern of etiology and prognosis of diseases which is different from the West. Oral cancer is the second leading cancer after lung cancer in men and breast cancer in women. Let us learn from each other and benefit from our experience by joining hands and this conference provides a unique opportunity for all this.
Prof. Abbas Zafar Chairman of the scientific committee gave details of the various preconference workshops held at various city hospitals and the scientific programme to follow. Prof. Bimal Umar Sinha from Nepal President of SAARC ENT society in his address suggested that each medical college should have hands on workshop to improve the surgical skills and quality of care. This conference will provide us an opportunity to enhance our skills, share our knowledge and experience which will help ameliorate the sufferings of the patients, upgrading standard of education for residents and training. Hands on Dissection courses in the West are very expensive hence every effort should be made to have such facilities locally benefitting from the experience of the experts from within the region.
Prof. Umer Farooq presented the vote of thanks and recalled the contributions made by many eminent ENT surgeons from Pakistan like Prof. M. Jalisi, Prof. Mahmood Raza, Prof.Iqbal Butt and others who laid the foundations of the ENT Society of Pakistan and also founded the SAARC ENT Society. We got this platform from where we continue to work to promote this discipline of medicine, he stated.
Scientific programme of the conference consisted of Memorial lectures for late Prof. Javed Alam Khan from Pakistan, Prof. Hiranandani from India and Prof. Alauddin from Bangladesh. There were special sessions devoted to Head and Neck, Otology, Rhinology and concurrent instructional sessions on various topics besides free paper sessions. The conference was very well attended by ENT surgeons from all the SAARC countries besides it also attracted many guest speakers from USA, UK and other European countries and Middle East. Detailed report on some of the presentations to follow in the forthcoming issues.

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