JPMC- a premier postgraduate tertiary healthcare facility with a difference

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 Many faculty positions remain vacant due to apathy of Government

JPMC- a premier postgraduate tertiary
healthcare facility with a difference

Patients Aid Foundation and Donor agencies have completed a large
number of development projects at the Center during the last two decades

Shaukat Ali Jawaid

KARACHI: One of the prime objectives of a postgraduate medical institution also serving as a tertiary healthcare facility is to provide best possible teaching, training and patient care facilities which the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center has been doing quite well despite lot of problem, hardship and difficulties it continues to face. This premier postgraduate medical institution named after the Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah has remained neglected and suffered from financial constraints for the last over thirty years in particular. A number of development plans were made by various successive governments but none of these Master Plans could ever be implemented. Even one of the imported Prime Ministers we had in the recent past had his eyes set on the precious land at JPMC Campus and had his plans succeeded, after building a multistory building, the vast lands would have been taken over by the government and sold to businessmen and property tycoons.
While the corrupt politicians failed to provide JPMC enough funding for its development works, they did not fail to implant lot of dead wood in the faculty and other staff through different means and ways with the result that it virtually became a dumping ground for incompetent, inefficient people inducted on recommendations of corrupt politicians and health bureaucrats. Even in this worst scenario, some of the dedicated conscious faculty members did not lose heart and utilizing their contacts in the society, approached the philanthropists and donors who did not disappoint them. The result was addition, expansion and improvement of services in almost every debarment of the institution through funds generated through donations. None of the successive governments bothered to realize the importance of having a proper auditorium at this premier institution despite requests and demands from the JPMC faculty for many years. Eventually it was Prof. Emeritus Hasan Aziz who took the initiative and gifted the most modern Auditorium with state of the art audiovisual facilities “Najmuddin Auditorium” all built through donations; he also built the National Epilepsy Center at JPMC again through donations. Apart from a big hall, Najmudidn Auditorium at JPMC has many other small halls and rooms for CME meetings and workshops. Ever since the commissioning of this auditorium, the academic activities at the institution has increased manifold as it provides comfortable air-conditioned premises for the participants.
Similarly the Patients Aids Foundation has completed a large number of projects at the JPMC over the past many years. This NGO has added almost five hundred beds to this tertiary care facility which is indeed commendable. Prof. Tariq Mahmood and his team have also established a most modern Radiology Center equipped with CT, MRI and Cyber Knife to treat cancer. Since its commissioning many radio surgery sessions have been completed offering this state of the art treatment facility at highly subsidized rates. Availability of such a facility at a public sector tertiary healthcare facility is unique in itself. Surgical lecture hall has also been renovated. Prof. Rasheed Jooma helped build the Neurosurgery Center and many other faculty members have played their role in getting donations to expand, upgrade existing teaching, training and patient care facilities starting from ophthalmology department to Chest Diseases Unit, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical Units, onology unit, and not to mention the state of the art Accidents and Emergency Center which is the best emergency service available in the city of Karachi and all this would not have been possible except the dedication, devotion and hard work of some of the conscious faculty members of JPMC. Now an impressive multistory building housing the department of obstetrics and gynecology built through USAID is fast nearing completion.
Prof. Mumtaz Maher initiated the programme of inviting eminent colorectal surgeons from overseas to provide an opportunity to the young, junior as well as senior surgeons of the country to benefit from their expertise. These interactive sessions started about seven years ago are continuing even after the retired from JPMC and he still continues to offer his help and assistance for such academic activities. This in fact has now become an annual feature in the academic calendar of Pakistan that surgeons from all over the country come once every year to JPMC to participate and benefit from the expertise of the foreign experts. Though the perfection, precision and time management, moderation of the sessions which was witnessed when Prof. Mumtaz Maher was in charge is not seen and there is lot of room for improvement in these areas but there has been no lack of enthusiasm on the part of Prof. Shameem Qureshi and his team who continue to organize these sessions regularly despite numerous difficulties and hurdles. This can be termed as one of the most cost effective training programme which is benefitting a large number of junior and senior surgeons alike who cannot afford to go abroad at centers of excellence to observe and learn these latest surgical techniques and procedures. With very little support from the institution which is itself faced with financial constraints, the organizers have managed to hold these training sessions with the financial help and support from the pharmaceutical trade and industry and their contribution need to be commended and appreciated.
More recently the JPMC went a step further and Dr. Shameem Qureshi, Dr. Naseem Baloch and their team also managed to organize the First Endocrine Surgical course wherein an eminent Korean surgeon Prof. Woong Youn Chung, Professor of Surgery and Director of Thyroid Cancer Clinic at Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul Korea was the invited guest speaker and master trainer. Apart from making presentations he demonstrated live his surgical technique of endoscopic thyroid surgery which was a treat to watch. Organizing such an activity at a time when the institution had itself been de-stabilized by the government functionaries was not less than a miracle.
While all this academic activities are going on at the JPMC, unfortunately the fate of this institution as well as other two tertiary healthcare facilities i.e. National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and National Institute of Child Health which came under the provincial control after health was given to the provinces remains un-decided. Thanks to the independent judiciary that Prof. Tasnim Ahsan and Dr. Seemin Jamali have been reinstated as Executive Director and Joint Director at JPMC.
An intelligent chief executive of the province would have immediately owned all these institutions, called a meeting of the faculty members and discussed the plans to improve them ensuring that they are all run and managed efficiently which eventually would have brought lot of good will and credit to the provincial government. But alas, one feels pity for the Pakistan Peoples Party government because it cannot even get credit for many good things it could have done without much problems and difficulties. A vast majority of the faculty members wish to remain autonomous as they had been functioning in the past or the JPMC to be upgraded as a medical university affiliating with it all the other institutions which so far had remained under the control of the federal government i.e. NICVD and NICH, College of Nursing etc. It may also be mentioned here that just like JPMC, a large number of expansion projects at NICVD as well as NICH have also been completed while many projects are still running with the help and assistance of various donors agencies and philanthropists. Child Aid Foundation under the supervision of Prof.Nizamul Hassan has done a lot at the NICH. Similarly friends of NICVD, various foundations and philanthropists continue to fund numerous development projects at NICVD many of which were completed and commissioned during the last two decades. At present a large number of faculty positions remain vacant at JPMC as well as NICVD and NICH due to apathy of the government which has failed to take a decision as to the future set up of these institutions. It has affected the teaching and training as well as patient care. Let us hope that instead of capturing these institutions to provide jobs to the Jialas and other party loyalists, the provincial government will not destroy these institutions but ensure to uphold merit for any new inductions at every level, may it be administrative or faculty positions. This is the only way to ensure that these institutions continue to provide the commendable services they had been providing not only to the patients from Karachi and interior of Sindh but also those who are referred from other provinces as well which results in maximum utilization of the expertise available at these institutions.

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