Excellent teamwork and Professionalism at its best was visible at the ICHPE 2018

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 Excellent teamwork and Professionalism 
at its best was visible at the ICHPE 2018

By Shaukat Ali Jawaid

LAHORE: Excellent team work and professionalism at its best was visible throughout the four day Second International Conference on Health Professions Education organized by the University of Lahore from October 14-17th 2018. Starting from the first announcement of the conference to the frequent updates, invitation to the speakers, identification of the guest speakers, facilitators for the different workshops and Experts Session, printing of the conference programme book, pick up the delegates from the Airports, arrangement for their comfortable accommodation during the conference and above all an excellent scientific programme were the hallmark of this conference.

I have been attending medical conferences in the country for the last over five decades and has also been critically analyzing their positive and negative points offering constructive suggestions to the organizers. The ICHPE 2018 was no doubt the Best and well organized academic activity I have ever attended in my professional career which spans over fifty two years starting from 1966. Credit for this of course goes not only to the organizing committee but the whole management and administration of University of Lahore for putting up such a good show. Their efforts deserve to be commended. They also seem to be lucky to have such a responsible and efficient human resource that from transport to the audiovisual arrangements all went exceptionally well without any problem. The speakers were taken to the different venues for the workshops in the city well in time, registration was efficient and participants were properly guided to the different conference halls, venues for courses and workshops by the designated volunteers drawn from the doctors and medical students. Since UOL is the brain child of an academician Prof. Rauf, it has made all the difference.

Prof. Rehan Khan was Chairperson of the Scientific Committee and scientific programme consisted to four Pre-Conference Courses, 26 Pre-Conference workshops at ten different medical institutions in Lahore, four symposia, two plenary sessions and one Experts Session. In all eight four research papers were presented during the conference besides eighty poster presentations. What was more heartening to note was the fact that there were no representatives from the pharmaceutical trade and industry. I personally hate to attend medical conferences at Five Star Hotels for various reasons because it not only increase the cost but eventgually it is all paid for by the poor patients in the form of high cost of drugs and other services as the sponsors from the pharma trade and industry pass it on to them. Conferences at Five Star Hotels most often look like a Pharmaceutical Bazar where the number of people from the pharmaceutical trade and industry outnumber the actual conference delegates and participants. The quality of scientific contents at some of these conferences held at hotels is also very poor and at time one gets the impression of a Healthcare Professional’s Family Get together or social get together. On the contrary University of Lahore has excellent venue, it is perhaps the only medical university in the private sector which has a properly built, designed and planned campus with numerous small conference rooms, workshop rooms, lecture halls and auditorium all equipped with state of the art audiovisual equipment. They also seem to have an excellent Information Technology Department and the organizers minutely looked at every aspect throughout the four day conference. Time management was on the whole excellent except one of the invited guest speakers who drag his allotted time of twenty minutes to over fifty minutes. However, since the topic he was presenting was very important and he made it interesting as well, it went along well. The number of speakers in the Experts session was too many and it should not have more than five to six speakers who should have been given at least twelve to fifteen minutes. Moderators of the plenary sessions Dr. Usman Mehboob and Prof. Rehan Khan did an excellent job and participants were given ample time for questions which generated lot of useful discussion something which is often missing at the medical conferences held in Pakistan.

One of the most important sessions during the conference was devoted to selection of medical and dental students. Speakers in this session included Prof. Javed Akram VC UHS, Prof. Masood Anwar, Prof.Shahid Mahmud Malik, Prof. Lubna Baig, Prof. Junaid Sarfraz and a representative of the students. Many important issues were highlighted and it was pointed out that academic grades alone should not be the criteria for admission to medical and dental colleges. Empathy, behaviour, attitudes, tolerance and many other aspects needs to be given due importance. Detailed report on this session will be published in November 15th issue of Pulse International.

The inaugural session as well as concluding sessions were brief and quite informative. Prof. Awais Rauf Chairman of the Board of Governors of University of Lahore was the chief guest in the inaugural session while Prof. Javed Akram Vice Chancellor of University of Health Sciences Lahore was the chief guest in the concluding session. Prof. Rauf also graced the official Conference Gala Dinner with his presence. Attendance in all the scientific sessions, pre-conference courses and most of the pre-conference workshops was very good. Organizers made sure that all of them start in time and finish in time so that the schedule of the conference is not disturbed. Prof. Shahid Mahmud Malik Conference Chairperson and Pro-rector University of Lahore a man of few words made very brief speeches, spoke to the point in the inaugural as well as concluding session but at the same time managed to highlight the important issues faced by the medical institutions, universities in the private sector. The conference Gala Dinner was hosted at the University Campus on October 16th while on October 14th dinner for the speakers was hosted at Lahore Gymkhana and on October 15th at a local hotel. The conference was a great success from every aspect and it also proved to be not only a great learning experience for everyone but also provided an opportunity for networking and renewing contacts with other professional colleagues. Prof. Shahid Mahmud Malik, Dr. Mahwish Arooj, Prof. Rehan Khan and above all the whole management of University of Lahore must be happy. In fact they have set a very high standard and offer much for the conference organizers to learn from their experience. They have shown that successful academic activity organized at the medical institutions is not only cost effective but also offer academic environment for such activities which needs to be promoted. Finally a little piece of unsolicited advice. There is no need to present the shields to every speaker which is an un-necessary expense as well. Presentation of Shields or Mementoes should be reserved only for the Chief Guest, Guest of Honor while for all others Certificate should be good enough. The Glass shield was too heavy and will break anytime, hence has no long term value. Quality of the Shield which should be presented only to a selected few as stated earlier also needs to be improved.

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