Pakistan needs 2500 rheumatologists but we have just 50-Sumaira Farman Raja


 PSR’s Annual Int. Conference attracts 26 foreign delegates

Pakistan needs 2500 rheumatologists but
we have just 50-Sumaira Farman Raja

History of Rheumatology in Pakistan is fascinating,
hard and tough-Nighat Mir

LAHORE: Pakistan Society of Rheumatology (PSR) organized its 22nd Annual International Conference here from April 6-8th 2018 which attracted over two dozen eminent rheumatologists from overseas besides delegates from all over Pakistan. Rheumatology beyond Borders was the theme of the conference which was preceded with the first workshop on Paediatric Rheumatology held at Fatima Memorial Hospital, Lahore.

Photographed during the international conference of Rheumatology organized by Pakistan Society of
Rheumatology at Lahore recently shows some of the foreign guest speakers with PSR executive.
Prominent in the picture are Dr. Saeed Ahmad, Prof. Kamran, Prof. Asim, Prof. Nighat Mir,
Prof. Sumaira Farman Raja and others.

Speaking at the inaugural session Prof. Nighat Mir a noted rheumatologist who established the Rheumatology Division at FMH many years ago which has trained a number of rheumatologists said that history of rheumatology in Pakistan is fascinating, hard and tough. It was in early 90s that we started service to the patients.  We were a handful of rheumatologists at that time. In 1995 we had our third annual meeting. Prof. Asim Khan a world renowned rheumatologist from USA was my mentor with whom I had my training.  He advised me that when you go back you have to start teaching and training and do not start making money. This time we had the first workshop on paediatric rheumatology. CPSP has recognized rheumatology as a subject for Fellowship. Dr. Sara Walker former President American College of Physicians had also come to Pakistan to help and guide us on many occasions. It was French which started the movement of Doctors without Borders. The objective was that one should go where the patients are. It seems obvious but in those days it was a very revolutionary concept. That is why we had the theme of this conference Rheumatology without Borders, she remarked.

President of Pakistan Society of Rheumatology Prof. Sumaira Farman Raja in his welcome address pointed out that we have a population of 220 million and one out of every three persons suffers from some sort of rheumatic disorders.  We need two thousand five hundred rheumatologists but at present we have just fifty. Now we have started teaching and training programme and hopefully we will have more trained rheumatologists in the years to come.  She further stated that over 40% of our population was children under 14-16 years of age. We do not have paediatric rheumatologists and we do not have any paediatric rheumatology programme either. She then showed some slides of paediatric patients before and after treatment whereby they became useful citizens of Pakistan. Previously children who suffered from vasculitis used to have amputation which should have been prevented. We were able to save these children who were suffering from lupus with vasculitis. We need to show humanity in spite of borders, she remarked.

Organizers of International Conference of Rheumatology organized by Pakistan Society of Rheumatology
at Lahore recently presented traditional Ajrak to all the invited guest speakers at the Conference dinner.
Picture shows the guests photographed with Mrs. Shahima Rehman Chairperson Executive Committee of
Fatima Memorial System, Prof. Nighat Mir, Prof. Sumaira Farman Raja, Dr. Saeed Ahmad
and other senior executive members of PSR.

Mrs. Shahima Rehman Chairperson Executive Committee of Fatima Memorial System was the chief guest. She pointed out that FMS has now three hospitals with 750-beds. She also highlighted the accomplishments of Fatima Memorial System and Nur Foundation. FMS has been recognized by CPSP for FCPS in different disciplines as well as by Royal College of General Practitioners for Membership in Family Medicine. She concluded her address by narrating the following couplet of Allama Iqbal:


Dr. Ahmad Saeed Convener of the conference thanked all those who had extended their valuable help and assistance in organizing the conference. He also narrated a couplet:

Later the delegates were entertained to a cultural programme which included dances from various regions of Pakistan besides a typical Pakistani wedding. The scientific programme of the conference consisted of a pre-conference workshop on Paediatric Rheumatology. Other pre conference workshops were on Introduction to basics of MSK Ultrasound which also had five work Stations covering Shoulder, Wrist, Hand and Elbow, Foot and Ankle, Knee besides self practice station. Prof. Jamshed Nasir Principal Fatima Memorial College of Medicine and Dentistry formally inaugurated the Pre-Conference Postgraduate Course in Rheumatology. Special sessions were devoted of Inflammatory Arthritis, Lupus, Infections and Rheumatology, Vasculitis. There were workshops on Introduction to Osteoporosis: Issues in Pakistan, Meet the Professor Sessions besides company sponsored symposia’s. Detailed report on some of the presentations in the conference to follow.

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