Curriculum should be continuously revised taking into account the local context - Janet Grant

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Plenary Session-II at ICON 2020
Curriculum should be continuously
revised taking into account the
local context - Janet Grant
Women empowerment has led to more female
physicians joining health services and medical
education - Prof. Lubna Baig
All academic institutions should work
together in Education, Patient Care
and Research - Mujtaba Quadri

KARACHI: Dr. Janet Grant an eminent educationist, psychologist from UK was the first speaker in the Plenary Session-II during the ICON-2020 organized by Indus Hospital from January 17-19, 2020. The topic of her presentation was “Educating the Medical Profession: Does Context Matter?” She pointed out that the medical profession was worried about globalization. There is lot of concern about it. There is flow of ideas and information from West to the East and the situation was different in the West. There is a particular culture in the West and it is feared that the curriculum is being colonized, hence how to prevent this new imperialism when health services are local, career structure are local, resources are local, values are local.

There are mentorship problems which are local. Medical education coming from the West and local compatibility is a must. Hence, curriculum should be contextual and there has to be a community organization. There is a difference between the expectations and in reality what is delivered. What students learn? She also talked about the hidden curriculum. What is learnt but not made explicit. Curriculum, she opined, should be continuously revised taking into account the local context. There is no evidence that one curriculum is better than the other. You need to look at your practice, local healthcare needs, learning culture, resources, and demands of the society. In healthcare systems, medical education, western social values are different. In clinical learning, there is early clinical exposure of the students. She highlighted the importance of integration. It is important to acquire core knowledge base, acquire clinical diagnostic skills which are universal. She also referred to induction of professional identity, appropriate course context, techniques and learning methods wherein context matters.


Prof. Janet, Prof. Lubna Baig Dr. Mujtaba Quadri the guest speakers in
the Plenary Session during ICON 2020 sitting on the dais alongwith 
Dr. Zafar Zaidi who moderated the session.

This was followed by an excellent presentation on Feminization of medical profession by Prof. Lubna Baig from JSMU Karachi. She pointed out that women have been struggling for the last many years and now some of us have got a rightful place in medicine. How we can do it matters. For a long time women were excluded from medical schools even in the West. By the end of 20th century very few women were entering medical schools. Then more female started entering and graduating from medical schools which was labelled as feminization of medical profession. She then gave a detailed account of struggle of women in medicine which saw many women only medical schools being established in the West. Florence Nightingale established the Nursing School. In Pakistan Fatima Jinnah Medical College for girls was established in Lahore followed by other women medical college in Sindh.

Continuing Prof. Lubna Baig said that it is a personality trait of female that they are very caring. It has added value to the healthcare with better quality of care. A vast majority of women physicians wish to continue to practice but it depends on permission from their husband, family and attitudes of the in-laws. She dispelled the impression that medical degree was a hot ticket in marriage market. We need to change the mind set of people that female are not so good doctors. People prefer male surgeons. Pregnant female face discrimination more. She then also referred to physical abuse and sexual harassment which is very common. There is inequality in salary structure. Talking about the solution to the problem, she suggested that we need to look at the admission criteria. Medical Admission Test does not add any value. She suggested adding aptitude test, empathy, communication skills, professionalism, and ability to sustain pressure. Future goals and family support also needs to be looked into. Women physicians should be offered flexible working hours. They should be offered some time off during pregnancy and if flexible training programmes are available, more women physicians will opt for postgraduation. They should be offered options for delayed entry. Allow more time for completion of their study. Child care facilities should be provided at the work place. Women are backbone of the healthcare system and it is not feminization of medical education but it should be looked at as women empowerment, she remarked.

Dr. Mujtaba Quadri talked about translational research in medical academic- the Pakistan perspective. He pointed out that it is important that one is infected with the virus of enquiry early in the career. We are science oriented society but our health indicators are very poor. Our data is not reliable. We are also not using the data for planning. Till the last few years we were spending just 1.2% of our GDP on health. We need to go beyond the KAP studies. We need to go for generic bioequivalence studies. We can attract more drug trials through CROs. We need to increase the export of our drugs. We need to start safe bioequivalence studies and for all this the HEC need to increase funding and Academia needs to work together with the industry. We need to have more research journals and mentoring was also very important. He concluded his presentation by stating that all academic institutions in Pakistan should work together in close collaboration in education, patient care and research.

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